Edgewater School Board Unveils Plans to Support English Language Learners and Boost Parent Involvement

The Edgewater School Board recently convened to discuss an array of topics, with an emphasis on the goals for the upcoming 23-24 school year and new strategies to support English language learners. The board also discussed enhancing parent involvement and unveiled several new initiatives and programs to improve student outcomes.

The district’s goals for the next school year include improving teachers’ data literacy skills to enhance differentiated instruction and optimizing processes to identify and support students through a multi-tiered system of supports. Additionally, the district aims to build teachers’ capacity to foster student social and emotional competencies and promote justice and equity. Ongoing state-mandated training remains another priority.

Updates on enrollment figures were also provided, with notable numbers in pre-K, kindergarten, and seventh grade, indicating a healthy influx of students into the district. The only middle school now houses 168 students, while the high school continues to expand, with 342 students currently enrolled.

The board also focused on the ACCESS assessment, a required test that measures English language proficiency for English language learners. The assessment encompasses social and instructional English, reading, writing, and academic content areas. According to recent data, 100% of eligible students took the ACCESS test in the spring, and 27% exited the program. However, the transient nature of the community poses challenges in tracking student progress consistently.

In response, the district introduced several strategies to support English language learners. These include reducing class sizes and restructuring classes to better meet students’ needs. The district is working with consultant Patty McGee to support reading and writing instruction with a focus on multilingual learners. The district also plans to evaluate and revise the curriculum for English language learners and create individualized plans based on data. Monthly and bi-weekly team meetings will help monitor progress and provide support for students.

The school district also emphasized the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Various assemblies celebrated different cultures and heritage months, and specialists were consulted to integrate DEI and SEL into the curriculum. The school stressed the value of hiring diverse staff to better represent the student body.

Several new programs were introduced, including an international studies program funded by Title III for immigrant students, offering mentors and small group activities for newcomers. The Rise and Shine Breakfast initiative supports students with attendance issues by providing breakfast and activities. A high-intensity tutoring program for grades one through six will begin in October. The district also plans to implement the Wayfinder program to teach about different cultures and assess students’ social and emotional skills.

In an effort to enhance parent involvement, a Title I and Title III parent coordinator was appointed to teach models to engage parents and foster stronger connections with families. The board has been working with a consultant from the NTSB to act as the APM person for teachers, review the manual for the NTSB, and develop approaches for tiered instruction, MTSS processes, and student accommodations. The district is also introducing an Early Learning Assistance Team Lead as part of the title program to support families and the school.

Among other topics, the board discussed upcoming workshops for staff members and reviewed financial and physical management matters.

During the public comments session, the board received input on various items from community members, including the need to improve the audio quality of recorded board meetings and the community’s interest in upgrading presentations and recording equipment.

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