GARDEN CITY, Kansas – For many students in southwest Kansas, English is their second language, and now, the teaching standards for them are changing.
For nearly 50 percent of students in the Garden City School District, English is their second language.
Even with a growing number of ESL kids across the state, there has been a disconnect between ESL students’ education and non-ESL classes.
Before this year, public schools operated on a system that had new standards of learning for every grade.
“They were just ambiguous, and they were not user friendly,” said Sidni Musick, an ESL teacher at Garden City High School.
But this fall marked the start of the new English language proficiency standard, which guides students through school on ten consistent guidelines that align with the common core values that the rest of the school is following.
“We like the way they correlate, the way things are integrated,” said Lisa Cady, ESOL resource teacher in USD 457. “I think, in the long run, everything is going to mesh together better.”
By introducing students to a more universal standard, the teachers say they’re more prepared for other classroom settings, as well as for the future.
“When they go to a non-ESL class the teacher raises the bar, but they’re already like, ‘oh this is something I know, and now I can do this’. Whether they choose a college or a career focus i think they’ll be more ready, they’ll be more comfortable,” said Musick.
And just two months into the new program, they’ve already seen positive feedback from the students.
This spring some of the students will take a new English language proficiency exam to test the new system.