20 languages spoken among Carson students

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Carson City School District is starting to achieve more language diversity among its English learners, with at least 20 languages spoken in the home amongst approximately 900 students in its program, recent data show.
Tanya Scott, assistant director of equity and English language programming, shared with the Carson City School Board during its Sept. 13 meeting the “Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State to State” (ACCESS) data for the 2021-22 school year indicated a slight rebound among the district’s English learners on their proficiency tests.
The test is administered by the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment Consortium, a global group of U.S. states, territories and federal agencies managing a system for K-12 English learners. English language proficiency assessments must be given to all students identified as English learners as required by the Every Child Succeeds Act and the Nevada Administrative Code.
Annual results from the ACCESS test help educators establish if the CCSD is meeting program goals for the students’ four language domains of speaking, listening, reading and writing.
Scott said approximately 30% of students have participated or are taking part in the EL program. As of the beginning of the 2022-23 year, CCSD has tracked between 900 to 1,000 students, with about 1,500 exiting the program in one to four years. The average exit rate in a five-year trend starting from 2017-18 has been 14%. Last year’s rate was 9% for 2020-21, and now the district has seen a 1% growth to 10% for 2021-22.
“We want proficiency and progress toward proficiency,” Scott told the board. “I’ve reframed my thinking. I used to think of it as growth, but we want to grow and make the benchmarks so that (the students) are deemed proficient.”
As of this year, CCSD has demonstrated more language diversity occurring in the local community and among students, including Afrikaans, Arabic, Cambodian, Chinese, Czech, Farsi/Persian/Dari, Hindi, Korean, Malay, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog/Filipino, Thai, Urdu and Vietnamese.
“In my tenure in this district working with the EL department, this is the most diversity in languages I have witnessed reported as being spoken in the home,” Scott told the Appeal.
CCSD’s enrollment count remains fluid at this point, she added, but the count of 20 languages spoken by multilingual learners in the district’s total EL population of 900 students does not include those who have exited or were deemed proficient as they entered CCSD, Scott noted.
She also mentioned the “unsung heroes,” the monitored students who took the Smarter Balanced assessment tests in grades three through eight and exited the EL program after their fourth year. Scott said these students no longer take the ACCESS test and are considered in compliance. Scott said approximately 20% of these students were proficient after scoring a 3 or 4 in ELA and math.
“They’re continuing to do great things,” she said. “And that is the goal, that they would exit the program, then be competitive with their monolingual speaking peers.”
In addition to the report on the ACCESS scores, Scott also presented to the board the first reading for and proposed changes to CCSD Policy 219 and Regulation 219, both of which reflect language and procedures or guidance from the Nevada Department of Education regarding the English language program.
Scott and the board members said typographical updates were necessary to reflect a general move away from the use of “English as a Second Language” in the state and district’s vernacular as more students are becoming multilingual learners in the home or at school. Teachers with an “ELAD” endorsement, or English Language Acquisition Development, for example, are now preferred instead of the TESL, or Teaching English as a Second Language, endorsement.
“We continue to have teachers, support staff and administrators who are ELAD endorsed to a high degree, approximately 300 presently,” Scott told the Appeal. “This includes 15 recent participants who have recently completed their endorsement through Southern Utah University during the 2021-22 school year.
“The ELAD coursework cohort is alive and well for the 2022-23 school year. We are three weeks into a course that focuses on theories of second language acquisition and related best practices for developing English language development. The participants are a ‘mix,’ including many teachers in their early years of teaching, experienced teachers and paraprofessionals.”
The board members thanked the district’s EL educators and support staff for their dedication and focus on developing Carson City’s students’ linguistic needs, adding they always seek parent engagement as needed.
“We really appreciate your leadership,” Trustee Joe Cacioppo told Scott. “We have work to do and growth to be made.”


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