In recent years the number and costs of non-English-speaking students in our region has spiked upward in ways never before seen in some districts and with no end in sight, say local school officials.
The record-high enrollments of limited-English-proficient (LEP) students also come at a time when financial pressures for the region’s schools are mounting.
“We (have) students from 19 countries speaking 17 different native languages,” Rosemary Weathers Burnham, spokeswoman for Erlanger Elsmere Schools in Northern Kentucky, said. “The (LEP) program’s population changes each year as students move in from around the world.”
These newest arrivals vary widely in their native languages and cultures, but they share a common goal: Learn to speak, read and write in English to speed their assimilation.
The melting pot of students sometimes amazes others already here, including Denny Garcia, a Mason High School senior from Mexico.
“There are so many different cultures and different styles. I’ve met people from Ukraine, China, Japan and some from my own country,” said Denny, who speaks English he learned in the school’s LEP program, which includes students from two dozen nations.
“It helps me to understand better the language they speak in America, and it opens a lot of opportunities for me to go on in the future,” he said.
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