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Family Night: ESOL event celebrates diversity, weclomes parents

Family Night: ESOL event celebrates diversity, weclomes parents

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Orangeburg Consolidated School District Five's English for Speakers of Other Languages Program welcomed parents, students, staff and faculty to a celebration of district diversity on Sept. 24.

ESOL is a core instructional program that assists students who have been identified as English language learners from Pre-K through 12th grades.

Family Night included performances, food, songs and music. The event provided an opportunity for ESOL teachers to discuss their goals with students, parents and staff.

“It is my hope that the ESOL Academy will help our school learn additional strategies for teachers to effectively engage academy participants in the teaching and learning process,” said Hayward Jean, Mellichamp Elementary School principal.

“My goal is to help our English language learners to become academically and linguistically proficient,” Deena Fogle, Mellichamp Elementary ESOL teacher, said.

“I have experienced many encouraging situations where former students have shown at least a year or more of progress in one school year. I am very proud of all of my students' hard work and achievements,” she added.

Not only have the teachers noticed ESOL student achievements. ESOL parents also commended the program for the results it has had on their children's language development. Students of parents unfamiliar with the English language receive the help with their studies they can’t receive at home.

Jacinta Juarez, mother of Sheridan fourth-grader Yurid Dominguez, is a native of Vera Cruz, Mexico. The language barrier has made it difficult for her to assist her daughter with her schoolwork, she said.

"Learning English as a second language is very good for the future of my children and family," she said. "Being familiar with the language allows us to better operate in the community."

ESOL Family Night allowed parents like Juarez to engage, mingle and form bonds with other families from around the world.

Jacqueline Jamison, District Five executive director of academics, said in addition to helping with ESOL students' studies, the program helps families feel welcome.

“Not only do we want them to be academically successful, we also hope this program allows them to feel a part of our district and to fellowship with the other ESOL students,” Jamison said. “It lets them know that they're not alone.”

The ESOL program was implemented in OCSD 5 in 1998 with only 13 children. The district now has more than 180 ESOL students.

Yvonne D. Mitchell serves as Title III/ESOL program coordinator and teacher. Currently, four certified teachers and three teacher assistants serve students coming from diverse cultural backgrounds and English proficiency levels. The ESOL teachers are Deena Fogle, who teaches at Mellichamp, Whittaker and Brookdale elementary schools; Jennifer Ceisel, who teaches at Sheridan Elementary, and Latanza Garvin, who teaches at Bethune-Bowman, Marshall Elementary and Robert E. Howard Middle. Jacqueline Jamison serves as director of academics for the program, and Parrie Hook is the chief instructional services officer.

District officials noted that ESOL addresses listening, speaking, reading, writing, content vocabulary, cultural awareness, study skills and content-area academic support through orderly, articulated objectives adhering to state standards.

Contact the writer: jordone.branch@yahoo.com.

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