English Learner Education
Since 2011, our district's student demographics have significantly changed. Ten years ago, only 10.7% of our students reported their first language wasn't English, and only 3% of students were identified as English Language Learners. As of the 2021-2022 school year, our student body consists of 31% of students whose first language isn't English. 7.6% of students have also been identified as English Language Learners.
To meet the needs of our ever-changing student body, the Ashland Public Schools English Learner Education program provides services to PK-12 students to help them learn English and achieve competency in English language and literacy skills, enabling them to have equal access to education in a classroom where only English is spoken.
The English Language Education department is designed to create an interactive setting where students learn strategies to help them, master English, as quickly as possible, develop appropriate academic and social skills and progress in content areas without loss of achievement due to English proficiency level. Instruction integrates skills and concepts of the mainstream curriculum in the belief that language learning best occurs when the content is meaningful and useful to students. In an interactive setting, teachers can respond to a variety of learning styles, cultural backgrounds and language levels.
Students enter with a variety of experiences with learning English. While some students have been taught little or no English, others have been taught English as a foreign language. Some students have attended bilingual schools, or have parents or other family members who have instructed or supported them in learning English. The students bring a vast array of linguistic and cultural diversity to the system.
English language instruction is tailored to the individual linguistic, cultural and educational needs of the student. In addition to regular instruction in the mainstream classroom, all English Language Learners receive instruction from specialized teachers and instructional aides. Ashland Public Schools currently offers program instruction at all five schools.
Our schools will make every effort to communicate with you, in your preferred language, about your child's education by providing translated documents or a language interpreter for meetings and conversations. We believe you should have access to these services even if you speak some English and even if your child can speak or read in English.
Our schools should communicate with you in your language about important information and opportunities for your child, including information about:
- Registration and enrollment in school
- Grades, academic standards and graduation
- School rules and student discipline
- Attendance, absences and withdrawal
- Parent permission for activities or programs
- School closures
- Opportunities to access programs or services, including advanced placement and English language learner programs
- Special education and services for students with disabilities
Meetings and Conversations
When you talk with teachers or school employees during parent-teacher conferences, special education meetings or any other conversations about your child's education, they should offer an interpreter if you need one.
Our schools will only use competent interpreters fluent in English and your language. Our district will ensure interpreters understand education-specific terms or concepts used during meetings. We will not use students or children as interpreters.
The interpreter should be neutral and should communicate everything said during the conversation. They should not omit or add to what anyone says. Our schools should ensure interpreters understand their role and the need to keep the information confidential. The interpreter, either a district staff member or an outside contractor, might be in person or on the phone.
Schools, departments and divisions should translate important written information into the highest incidence or common languages. If you receive information that is not in your language, please let the school know if you would like it translated into writing or explained orally to you in your language.