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Springfield school district teaching more English learners

Picture of students at Clark Preschool in Springfield siting around a lunch table, some with meal trays in front of them. A Paw Patrol lunch box is in the middle of the table.
Springfield School District
Springfield School District
More than 900 non English speaking students are learning English in the Springfield School District.

The Springfield City School District has seen a significant increase in the number of students whose first language isn't English.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, the Springfield school district had almost 300 English language learner students.
This school year, that number jumped to more than 900. The district has more than 7,400 total students.

As many as 18 languages are spoken across the district —Spanish, Haitian Creole, French and Portuguese are the most common, administrators said.

Kaylin Hunsaker is the district’s coordinator of state and federal programs. She says while these students are becoming stronger English-speakers, there’s a growing horizontal effect in which more students are learning other languages.

“Students who have only had exposure to English are becoming quite well versed at Google Translate to communicate with the kid sitting next to them,” Hunsaker said. “We’re seeing buildings adapt to operating in a multilingual capacity. Even at Clark Preschool, we’re seeing large portions of our population can ‘trans language’ and can move between English and Creole and Spanish.”

The diverse cultural exposure has life-long benefits, said Pamela Shay, director for the district’s state and federal programs.

“We have that opportunity to expose students to more cultures, to more languages and to how different people think from different parts of the world,” Shay said. “Now we have that opportunity to really be able to build upon that, to better prepare our students as they go out into the world.”

The U.S. Department of Education estimates by 2025, one out of every four students in public education will have a home language other than English.

Kathryn Mobley is an award-winning broadcast journalist, crafting stories for more than 30 years. She’s reported and produced for TV, NPR affiliate and for the web. Mobley also contributes to several area community groups. She sings tenor with World House Choir (Yellow Springs), she’s a board member of the Beavercreek Community Theatre and volunteers with two community television operations, DATV (Dayton) and MVCC (Centerville).

Email: kmobley@wyso.org
Cell phone: (937) 952-9924
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