More Area Teachers Required To Get ESL Certified - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

More Area Teachers Required To Get ESL Certified

Christy Bertolino, CISD Christy Bertolino, CISD

By Megan Moore
NewsChannel 10

AMARILLO, TEXAS - More area teachers are now being required to be certified to teach English as a second language.

The number of students who do not speak English has spiked in the last few years in our area, and local districts are preparing for an even bigger rush in coming years.

In the Amarillo school district, there are 2,200 ESL students.

The district is encouraging teachers in core subjects like math, science and social studies to be certified.

Palo Duro cluster director Kevin Phillips says, "many of them want to be ESL certified so they are prepared for the students and meet the needs they have. The motivation to do it is helping them pay for it."

The district has placed ESL teachers at every campus.

Phillips says, "we average about 14 ESL teachers per campus. That's an average. Some campuses have more who are esl certified, others have as few as two."

In the Canyon district, new elementary teachers must either already be certified or get it within a year of being hired.  The same goes for fifth through 12th grade teachers in language arts.  Even veteran teachers need it.

Spokesperson Christy Bertolino says, "we are gradually fading in our former teachers as well. We've been doing this for the past three years. We have a large staff, so we're trying to do it as efficiently as possible."

There are only about 80 students out of the more than 8,500 in the district in ESL.

But the district believes more are on the way.

Bertolino says, "our teachers have to be able to adapt to all situations and this is our way of making sure to do that."

Both districts have been phasing ESL in for the last few years.

The Hereford district has no ESL requirement right now and in Dumas, language arts teachers must be certified.

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