Gov. John Carney unveiled Delaware’s English Learner Strategic Plan at North Georgetown Elementary School on Dec. 20.
To coordinate this work, the governor asked a group of community leaders to help Delaware improve its delivery of services to English learners with the creation of the Governor’s Advisory Council for English Learners, one of the key recommendations of the plan. Carney announced Javier Torrijos and Guy Danjoint as council co-chairs after visiting English learner classrooms at North Georgetown Elementary School in the Indian River School District.
“The changing demographics of Delaware require us to think differently about how we provide learning opportunities for our students, particularly to our English learners, to ensure they acquire the language skills they need to be ready for success in college, career, and life,” said Carney. “Delaware’s English Learner Strategic Plan helps lay the groundwork for us to improve our delivery of services to these children. This council will help keep us accountable to the strategies and goals outlined in the plan.”
Since 1997, the number of English learners in Delaware increased by 433 percent. This school year, Delaware public K-12 schools serve nearly 12,000 English learners. The Indian River School District has the highest percentage of English learners in the state at 15.5 percent. North Georgetown Elementary itself serves more than 500 English learners in grades one through five — 60.8 percent of its student body.
The strategic plan was created “by the community for the community,” Carney said, referring to the year-long work of a steering committee and guiding coalition that helped draft the plan. The plan represents the beliefs and goals of a number of organizations and stakeholders — all with the singular vision of increasing the likelihood of success for each of Delaware’s English learners.
The plan’s goals include:
— Engaging every English learner in high-quality instruction and assessment designed to meet individual needs.
— Fostering effective educators of English learners.
— Mobilizing the community and engaging the public to support English learners.
— Continuing to refine English learner education through data analysis.
Torrijos and Danjoint were a part of the original steering committee for the state’s English Learner Strategic Plan and continued to contribute to its development on the guiding coalition. In the coming months, they will work with community groups, state agencies and the administration to round out the council.