CMS continues commitment to English learners with summer learning program

More than 500 students participated in the program this summer
Learning English isn’t an overnight process. This is why Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is continuing is support for its English Learners (EL) students during t
Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 6:27 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Learning English isn’t an overnight process. This is why Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is continuing is support for its English Learners (EL) students during the summer.

More than 25,000 students in the district are English language learners who represent 184 countries and roughly 200 different languages and dialects.

Some of the top languages spoken in the district are Spanish, Vietnamese, Burmese, Russian, and Arabic.

Related: CMS English Learners program supports language development, high rigor of course content

CMS has two summer learning programs dedicated to helping ELs build their foundations in English while preparing for prerequisites in core subjects.

The elementary newcomer program is for rising 3-5 graders. They are taking courses in art, technology, movement, and other topics including English Language Arts, Spelling, and Math.

The secondary newcomer program is for rising 6-12 graders. This particular program incorporates content development to prevent summer learning loss.

Li Stewart is one of the district’s EL curriculum coordinating teachers. She says this program is a great way to provide hands-on support in smaller groups.

“We always want to make sure that our English Learners can continue their language progression and so we always want to offer some sort of EL summer program so they can continue to achieve their English, and get the goals that they need,” Stewart said.

In addition, the students are being challenged with new material that they will learn in the fall.

“We make sure that students can get kind of a prerequisite of what they would see in the next school year,” Stewart said.

Rising third grader Simona Rodriguez is sharpening her multiplication tables.

“Estoy aprendiendo multiplicaciones,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez’s first language is Spanish and says she’s made great progress learning English; however, her parents only speak Spanish.

Over the last four weeks, she’s continued growing her English vocabulary by taking math classes as part of CMS’ English Learners Summer program. Something she doesn’t receive as much help with at home due to language barriers.

“Because my parents don’t know that much English and how to say times this,” Rodriguez said.

Federico Calcedo Aldana is a rising third grader participating in the summer program. He says he’s also made progress in learning English over the last year.

“It has been [easier] because in my other school in second grade I didn’t know too much English, so there were people there [in my class] speaking English and Spanish who in my class, so they put them [there] to help me, and that’s how I learned to speak English,” Calcedo Aldana said.

He loves math and says the new material is more his speed but says he needs more help with spelling.

“Starfish and watermelon. I wasn’t able to spell [them],” he said.

Within the four weeks, he got more confident and spelled watermelon aloud when WBTV interviewed him in the classroom.

“W-a-t-e-r-m-e-l-o-n,” Calcedo Aldana said.

The program is also an opportunity for students of different cultures and backgrounds to share their home languages with their peers and learn new words and phrases.

“There’s lots of diversity, students are getting to share their cultures and their customs with each other while being able to learn English together,” Stewart said.

The elementary newcomer program ends on July 21 and the secondary newcomer program ends on July 29.

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