Learning English: Diverse Students in American Classrooms

Nearly 3 in 4 American classrooms include at least one English Learner (EL). Immigrants or refugees from other countries, children of immigrants who only spoke their native language at home. Whatever the circumstance that brought these children into the classroom, they are attempting to learn a new language while also mastering academic content required for state standardized testing, and they are trying to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the workplace in the future. But statistics show an alarming achievement gap and graduation gap between ELs and their native English-speaking counterparts.

This documentary features the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, an example of one urban school district approaching this growing challenge using innovative research-based teaching methods. It profiles educators, administrators, researchers, and even the students themselves, to explore teaching methods to address this crucial need in a changing community.

Subject Matter Experts Featured:

  • Jose Gonzalez, Dir. CMSD Multilingual Multicultural Education Office
  • Diane August, Ph. D., Managing Researcher at the American Institute for Research
  • Marguerite Lukes, Ph.D. - Director of national initiatives at the Internationals Network for Public Schools
  • Lynn Smolen, Ph.D. - Director of the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Program, based at Akron University. She has worked with the CMSD since 1981 and is integral in the training and certification process for teachers serving EL students

Additional Interviews With:

  • Amanda Rodriguez, Principal at Clark PK-8 School
  • Michele Sanchez, Principal at Buhrer Dual Language Academy
  • Marisol Burgos, Principal at Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy
  • Samuel Roman, Multilingual Manager (from the Multilingual Multicultural Education Office)

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