More than 40 languages are spoken in the homes of Pickerington-area students, according to Sandy Michael who coordinates the PLSD’s English as a second language program.
Michael and ESL educators across the country face the challenge of helping their students pass proficiency exams even though they do not speak English.
The federal government requires that these children pass the same standards as their classmates under the No Child Left Behind mandate.
Many of the students’ parents also cannot speak English.
In the next few weeks, the parents of all ESL students in the district will receive an invitation to join a course on how to help their children with homework. The class will also provide the parents the opportunity to improve their own English, Michael said.
The course will be offered at Tussing Elementary twice a week in the late afternoon. Tussing has the largest population of ESL students in the district although "other buildings are rapidly approaching the same number," Michaels said.
For parents who need additional assistance or who could not join the first semester course, a second session will begin later in the school year.
On Aug. 11, the school board hired two people to run the class. Cori Stevens will receive $25 per hour for facilitating the program and Coty Krivda will receive $40 per hour for translating and interpreting services.
Funding will be provided from a Title III grant.
"Title III monies are federal funds that we receive each year and are to be used primarily for ESL students and also for ESL family support," PLSD curriculum director Dr. Edwina Campbell said.