BUENA PARK, CA—The Buena Park School District will use part of a $ 180,000-a-year federal grant to hire a project coordinator and a bilingual resource teacher, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Sandra Barry said.
The Title VII grant, to be used to enhance the district’s English as a Second Language program, will be renewable annually for three years, starting in 1989-90, Barry said. Title VII, the federal Bilingual Education Act, is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
The district, which has about 475 students who speak limited English, welcomes the grant, Barry said. The district has about 3,900 students.
“We really are excited,” Barry said. “It’s everybody’s goal to get these youngsters proficient in English as soon as possible to give them the skills they need to succeed in school.”
In addition to a project coordinator and bilingual resource teacher, the district will hire Romanian- and Korean-speaking aides.
After English, Spanish is the most commonly spoken language in the district; Romanian and Korean are third and fourth. Other languages spoken in the district include Vietnamese, Pakistani, Hungarian, Polish, Tagalog, Punjabi, Tongan and Laotian.
Right now the district has nine bilingual classes for Spanish-speaking students, with five at the Gordon H. Beatty School, two at the James A. Whitaker school and one each at the Carl E. Gilbert and Mabel L. Pendelton schools.
Each school also has a “pullout” program; non-English-proficient students spend part of their time out of the regular classroom, working on their English. Depending on their level of skill, students spend between 30 minutes and several hours a day in these sessions
In addition to hiring new staff, the money will be used to buy new learning materials to bolster the district’s “sheltered English” programs. Sheltered English is an expressive mode of teaching — with slowed speech, repetition and gesturing — used to teach English without using the student’s primary language.
In February, Buena Park teachers took workshops to learn sheltered English.
Another goal is improving communication with non-English-speaking parents, Barry said. Orientations will be held in the parents’ primary language and, when possible, fliers will be sent home in the primary language.
With the influx of money, another possibility arises, Barry said: English instruction for parents.