Nearly 300 Birmingham City ESL students will be forced to switch schools

UPDATE (8:30PM) : CBS 42 attended Wednesday evening’s informational meeting at Hayes K-8 School.  Superintendent Dr. Larry Contri was among school officials in attendance to explain the situation to any concerned and confused parents.  He told CBS 42 that every four years, the State Department of Education does state compliance monitoring.  In October, a team of personnel from the department came to Birmingham.

“At the end of it, we had a report from from the State Department and we had a number of citations,” he explained.  “One of the citations being our ELL program.  Therefore, we were asked to write a plan to put ELL services in all 43 of our schools, rather than the 12 that currently operate.”

Contri said that they were given the deadline of January 4th to have the programs in place in every school in the system, so that ESL students could go to the school that they are zoned to attend.

“During this week, we had over 300 teachers trained using a software program called PSYOP–which is researched-based and many of the urban school systems use that in training their teachers to work with ELL students,” Contri explained.  “We feel it’s been very effective.  The teachers have been very receptive.  They are eager to work with these children when they come, and we are going to do everything possible to make their invitation to the new schools as pleasant and as productive as possible.  After all, teaching and learning are our main priorities in Birmingham city.”

Contri noted, the teachers in the 12 schools with existing programs have all been previously ESL certified.  That means 31 schools will have the ELS programs for the first time in the second half of the school year.

“We’re going to have some challenges,” said Contri.  “We know that.  We’re going to meet them head-on, and as I told the parents, the success of the children will be our key focus in the spring semester, and I think they’ll be very pleased with what their children receive by the end of the year.”

Birmingham City School officials are encouraging parents to contact them with any remaining questions or concerns.  They said there will also be additional information up on the system’s website by Friday at the latest–including forms that parents will need to fill out if they have not already done so at one of the informational meetings.  Those forms will be due by December 16th.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A number of children will be forced to switch schools when they return to classes from the holiday break.

The decision has a lot of parents in the Birmingham City School System confused and upset.

The State Department of Education visited schools in October – and according to the system – determined that the way Birmingham City Schools had been offering English as a Second Language, or ESL, education isn’t working.

The Department of Education has mandated Birmingham City Schools to have ESL at all 43 schools, as of now, they’re only offering the classes at 12 schools.

So many students will come back from the break to a new school that hasn’t had the program before.

“It’s outrageous.  And they don’t have enough staff for these students,” said Rubia Santoyo, a parent. “I know a lot of people were concerned yesterday saying that they’re scared that their kid is going to end up failing, you know, their grades drop because of the move.”

System officials tell CBS42 News that representatives from each of the 43 schools are currently undergoing training.


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