International Students Gain English And Academic Skills Through Summer Program

August 04, 2005

Charleston, W.Va. - Learning English as a second language can prove challenging for both the student and the teacher, but with the assistance of the summer professional development program offered by the West Virginia Department of Education, it was made a little easier and much more fun. Last month, nearly 100 students from across the Kanawha Valley began a month-long summer educational program. Representing nearly 20 different language and cultural backgrounds, these students attended the Ninth Annual Summer English as Second Language program designed to improve their English language and academic skills. Students ranged in ages from four to 64.  

Throughout the program K-12 students were given lessons in reading/writing, social studies and mathematics. The classes were tailored to the student’s age group. Adults were also taught reading and writing, but they also learned life skills and issues with families and communities. The program culminated in a festival of diverse foods and cultural celebrations on Friday, July 29th.  

“The summer ESL program helps members of the international community to feel more at home in West Virginia,” said Steve Paine, State Superintendent of Schools. “Through this program, students and teachers alike are learning.”  

Partnering with Marshall University, the four-week program is also designed to provide professional development for teachers who are interested in working with students from diverse language and cultural backgrounds. Launched in 1997, the program provides “hands-on” training for teachers, while at the same time, offering students with limited English proficiency an opportunity to improve their communication skills.  

For more information about the program, contact Amelia Courts, Executive Director for the Office of International Schools & ESL, at (304) 558-2691.  


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