Richmond Public Schools ‘under-counted’ roughly 800 English Learner students

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Public School under-counted roughly 800 students needing ESL services.

Over the past several years the number of RPS students who need ESL services has increased significantly.

“A student who is an English Learner is a student who has not developed English language proficiency”, RPS documents said.

English as a Second Language (ESL) is the program of support and services by the school’s division that caters to students who are English Learners.

RELATED: Hundreds of RPS students may graduate late due to errors found during transcript review

An internal audit process in RPS brought to light that they have been under-counting EL students needing ESL services.

Sources say that students did not receive ESL services even though they needed it. The students would not be assigned to ESL services if they were not listed as ESL. Meaning students who were under-counted were students who didn’t get recognized by teachers and administration to needing those services.

As a result, ‘anticipated state funding for ESL services for 2019-20’ were lower than they should have been.

RPS said they are currently in the process of correcting the under-counting issue and will be requesting the state to update the funding.

They say the funds will allow RPS to add 12 new ESL positions. The positions would be going to:

  • Boushall (3 new, 5 total)
  • Broad Rock (2 new, 6 total)
  • Francis (1 new, 3 total)
  • Greene (4 new, 10 total)
  • Reid (1 new, 5 total)
  • Wythe (1 new, 4 total)

According to RPS documents they are doing the following to improve ESL services:

  • Created an ESL manual with processes and procedures
  • Updated the Program of Studies to ensure EL students have appropriate courses available
  • Increased number of staff at the Welcome Center
  • Partnered with VCU in order to provide a dual TESOL/Reading specialist certification to 15 RPS teachers
  • Covered cost of the ESOL Praxis for RPS teachers
  • Increased professional development opportunities for teachers and other staff who serve EL students

8News will be following tonight’s school board meeting. Stay with 8News for updates.

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