In a report by Education Trust-West, Riverbank Unified School District is noted as one of the school districts that has a high rate of reclassifying English Language Learners at the high school level.
“For several years, the District has focused on enhancing the literacy skills of students,” stated Dr. Daryl Camp, Riverbank Unified School District Superintendent. “We have worked to broaden the teaching of literacy across all subject areas in middle and high school.”
According to the report, California serves 1.4 million English language learners, more than any other state in the country and accounting for almost one-third of English language learners in the entire U.S. Too often, the report continued, these students face insufficient academic support, ill-prepared teachers, and less rigorous coursework, causing them to struggle academically. However, a new analysis finds it does not have to be this way. The Education Trust-West identified a number of districts across California that are breaking this pattern. The results are published in a new report released titled, The Language of Reform: English Learners in California’s Shifting Education Landscape.
“Our teachers and administrators have focused on standardizing instructional routines that assist students with understanding subjects,” said Camp. “At some point the Riverbank Unified School District reviewed the reclassification criteria for high school students.”
The executive summary states, “California is a state rich in linguistic and cultural diversity. Nearly 45 percent of Californians speak a language other than English at home, and in our schools, nearly 1 out of 4 students is learning English. California’s diversity, economic strength, and geography have drawn families to the state for generations and have compelled them to make the Golden State their home. These families and individuals have fueled California’s growth and have positioned the state as an economic powerhouse and world leader.”
In the ‘Data By District’ portion of the report, RUSD is shown in the top 15 in the peer group for a three-year average reclassification rate for Riverbank High School.
“The District then revised the criteria for English Language Arts (ELA) reclassification so that students who passed the ELA portion of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) were reclassified,” added Camp. “In essence, the District determined that passing the CAHSEE illustrates that students were proficient in the English language.”
Camp added that staff members at the high school have made a concerted effort to work with students in understanding the need for the California English Language Development Test (CELDT).