1 in 10 Local Students Do Not Often Speak English

Teacher Kari Snow
Teacher Kari Snow
AISD ELL Coordinator Eddy Turner
AISD ELL Coordinator Eddy Turner

The population of english language learners is growing at a rapid rate according to the Amarillo Independent School District.

550 new english language learning or ELL students enrolled in AISD this Fall and administrators expect that population to be matched or exceeded next year.

To meet these needs more ELL teachers are being hired and the district is training teachers to use new learning strategies in their classrooms.

32 different languages are spoken in AISD and teachers say they are noticing a change in the student population.

Teacher Kari Snow says, "It's defiantly a high priority, a lot of our campuses now you have to certified as esl teachers or ell teachers. It's a big deal because our community is very diverse."

More than 300 teachers are trained to use language skills called "methodology," that commonly rely on pictures or other students to help communicate.

AISD ELL Coordinator Eddy Turner says, "It is a slower process. That doesn't mean to dummy down anything in terms of the curriculum, it just means it's easier understood."

Snow has been using the new techniques this year and tells me she is already seeing student progress.

"We'll use them in the classroom to help interpret, a lot of times to help translate. A lot of times when I can't get the point across in English, I'll use my other students to translate for me in spanish or whatever language that student is speaking in, that helps my students alot ."

The district is planning to open an enrollment clinic for ELL students and their families by the end of the school year.