ESL classes offered to parents of WPUSD students

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Months of attending school board meetings and pleading with the board to retain English as a Second Language classes for parents of district students paid off Tuesday night. English as a Second Language (ESL) classes will still be offered next year for parents of students in the Western Placer Unified School District, said the district?s Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services Mary Boyle. Two teachers will work six hours a week for 30 weeks and both will receive $6,400.80 a year for salary and benefits, Boyle said. Due to the district?s need to cut $5.75 million from its 2012-2013 budget, the positions of adult education administrator, secretary, clerk and teachers were eliminated, Boyle said. ?The teachers and students in the adult education English as a Second Language program have made impassioned pleas to continue to offer ESL classes to support parents who are learning English, in order to support their children?s education in our schools,? Boyle said. ESL instructor Ramey Dern and her students were at several board meetings this winter and addressed the board on why ESL should be kept in the district, according to previous News Messenger reports. The two ESL teachers will be funded by using Title I and Title III parent-involvement funds, according to Boyle. The district?s Superintendent Scott Leaman said Title I and Title III parent-involvement funds are ?federal supplemental funds? or funds received from the federal government to ?supplement learning.? Additional expenses for the program include $4,000 for curriculum and supplies, Boyle said. Dern gave a brief presentation at Tuesday?s meeting on the importance of offering ESL classes for district parents. Providing ESL classes can provide students with ?survival skills to live in our society? and also teaches some who did not receive an education how to study, according to Dern. She said that means they can help their children study. ?I?m vested in helping the students so they can help their children,? Dern said, who added that the classes will help the parents ?better themselves. It empowers parents to help their children.? School Board president Damian Armitage thanked Boyle and Dern for ?the wonderful program we can offer.? ?I compliment the two of you for putting together the funding model,? board member Paul Carras said. ?Persistence does pay off and the manner in which you approached us got to us and we wanted to help.? In other district news, Twelve Bridges Middle School principal Stacey Brown highlighted two programs offered at the school, the robotics program and the school band, during a presentation about his school. Boyle also updated the school board on the district?s increased attendance rates over the past year. Boyle said a goal was set last year ?for improved attendance of .5 percent for 2011-2012,? which is based on the district?s attendance rates for the previous three years. The district has implemented student study teams, school attendance mediation and an ?improved school attendance review board? to address district-wide attendance, according to Boyle. Boyle said high attendance numbers are ?crucial to student learning,? and also revenue received for average daily attendance. The .5 percent increase goal was set for both the entire district and all 11 school sites. ?Eight of 11 schools are meeting their attendance goals,? Boyle said. ?Overall, families are excellent about attendance but we have a few absentees.? The overall district goal for attendance was 95.59 percent and the current attendance rate is 95.77 percent, Boyle said. The school attendance review board hearings are held at the Bill Santucci Justice Center, which causes them to ?carry more weight,? according to Boyle. ?It ups the ante when we?re at the courthouse,? Boyle said.