St. Paul schools are closing the gap that separates native-English speakers and children from immigrant families, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Forty percent of St. Paul students come from non-English-speaking families. The schools team regular teachers with English language specialists so children don’t have to be pulled out for separate instruction.
A wiggling mass of third-graders occupies the floor space between two teachers during a lesson on “Hansel and Gretel.” When it’s time to split into groups, Concha FernÃ¡ndez del Rey takes the kids who are still learning English, while third-grade teacher Sharon Eaton works on the other side of the room with students at a higher level of literacy.
These children at Prosperity Heights Elementary in St. Paul, Minn., are using identical work sheets, but they’re getting attention that’s as individual as their gap-toothed smiles.
St. Paul’s students speak languages as diverse as Hmong, Spanish and Somali. Few schools try to teach in students’ native languages; it’s just not practical.