Today we had a couple of representatives from our district's English Language Learner (ELL) office come speak to us for professional development. I teach at a very high income, high performing school that isn't used to having "newcomers", or those with low English abilities, as students, but changes in how our district handles ELL's means we're getting more.
I learned two things of interest. The first is the list of languages spoken at our school. Have you heard of all of them? I hadn't even heard of one of them: Spanish, Indonesian, Korean, Arabic, Rumanian, Russian, Filipino, Turkish, Nepali, Ukrainian, Punjabi, Armenian, Gujarati, Tongan, and Farsi.
There's a language called "Filipino"? I thought the language was Tagalog. And I'd never before heard of Gujarati.
The second interesting point was that the families of some ELL's in our district are under federal protection. When they are identified as such they are automatically enrolled, they do not even have to provide proof of residency in our district borders.
Here's something else that should be patently obvious. The lower the level of the course, the more ELL students will be in that class. The speakers didn't say that, but they did pass out to each teacher a list of that teacher's ELL's. The disparity in the lengths of the lists was striking.