Success in boosting the graduation rate for English language learners over the past few years is attracting some notice by a state program in Massachusetts. However, as the grant provided by state funded MassGrad expires, a high school in Worcester will need to find other sources of funding to continue the success.
At North High School, the graduation rates for English language learners has increased over the past few years, as well as the population of ELL students. Superintendent Melinda Boone says that the program will continue.
“Absolutely, we intend to continue it,” Ms. Boone said. “We’re already replicating (the coalition’s) work across the district.”
The coalition was formed three years ago, and included the School Department and two community groups, the African Community Education (ACE) and the Latino Education Institute. Several more members have joined since, including Plumley Village, the Southeast Asian Coalition, and YOU Inc.
Frank Murphy, Worcester schools liason and volunteer coordinator for ACE believes that meeting together monthly has helped reach the association goal of pooling members’ expertise and improving student graduation rates and proficiency. “Learning together has been a really important part of our coalition,” he said. ELL students are at risk for dropping out, he says, because with limited experience they “have to navigate a lot, and very often have to learn it themselves”.