[lg policy] Missouri: School board to hear English Language Learners update

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 10 14:56:16 UTC 2013

 School board to vote on gun policy, hear English Language Learners update
Sunday, June 9, 2013 | 8:00 p.m. CDT
 BY Shaina Cavazos<http://www.columbiamissourian.com/accounts/profiles/srcww8/>

COLUMBIA — The Columbia School Board is expected to vote Monday on whether
to allow two school officials to carry guns on school grounds. It will also
hear an update on the English Language Learners program.

The proposed gun policy would be changed to let the district’s director and
assistant director of security — currently John White and Ken Gregory —
carry concealed
according to a previous Missourian article.

Each official would be recommended to have at least 10 years of full-time
law enforcement experience, as well as at least 24 hours of firearms
training each year from the Columbia Police Department, at least 6 hours of
cultural and social sensitivity training every two years and the
appropriate licenses and requirements set by the state and federal
governments. Permission to carry a weapon “is not inherent in the position
of either director or assistant director” and will be decided on a
case-by-case basis, a copy of the amended policy stated.

The policy currently lets only school resource officers, employed by the
Columbia Police Department, carry concealed weapons. Funding for the
changed policy would come from the district’s operating budget.

*English Language Learners update*

Since the 2005-06 school year, Columbia schools have seen the number of
English Language Learners, or students who learn English as a second
language, almost double. The number increased from 554 students to 978 in
2012-13, according to a presentation from the district’s website.

Although ELL students have made progress in targets set forth by the No
Child Left Behind Act, across all the district’s standardized assessments,
there is an achievement gap between ELL students and students who are

There is also concern over graduation rates. Columbia schools saw an 87.1
percent graduation rate in 2010-11 overall, but it was 47.1 percent for ELL
students. The rate is below that for the state, which is 61.2 percent.

In an effort to combat the achievement gap, the district outlines some

   - “Clustering” ELL students at elementary and middle schools so that
   teachers can better combine resources and collaborate.
   - Emphasize strategies for teachers working with ELL students in core
   content areas — math, English, social studies and science — through their
   professional development opportunities.
   - Establish “newcomer centers” at Jefferson Middle School and Douglass
   High School as a way to focus on teaching basic English proficiency and
   learning to adjust to American schools.
   - Continued focus on building relationships with families and
   encouraging parents to stay involved.

*Other items up for vote*

The board is expected to vote on four other items:

   - Whether to approve the submission of a grant application to the
   Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that, if accepted by the
   department, would give Title I funds to the district to help implement the
   Douglass Priority School Plan at Douglass High School. The plan outlines
   ways to improve graduation rates and student performance.
   - Whether to approve a proposal for the search, review and selection
   process of new providers for the district’s employee retirement plans. The
   current providers’ contracts expire in September 2013. The process would be
   funded out of the 2013-14 Board of Education operating budget.
   - Whether to approve 2012-13 budget amendments. The amendments are for
   accounting purposes and reflect no net change in the budget.
   - The election of the board’s 2013-14 secretary and treasurer.

The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Neil C. Aslin District
Administration Building, 1818 W. Worley St.


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