JCPS Celebrates the Many Languages Spoken by Students

Schools host events to highlight and celebrate languages

Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) recently hosted its first “Celebrate Languages Week,” highlighting the benefits of students speaking different languages learning alongside each other.

With more than 130 languages spoken by students in JCPS, an average school day can sound like a symphony of speech. That blend of voices is music to the ears of Eli Beardsley, the district’s English as a Second Language (ESL) coordinator.

“Second language learners are another example of how our rich diversity strengthens the learning environment at JCPS,” Beardsley said. “Not only do they help students for whom English is their primary language to learn a new language, but they foster an understanding and acceptance of other cultures that will prepare our students to be successful citizens in a global economy.”

During the week of March 27, schools hosted events to highlight and celebrate the various languages spoken by students, including having students making morning announcements in their native language, welcoming students each morning with a world-language greeting and promoting bilingual books in school libraries. 

The District’s English Language Learner (ELL) population – students born in other countries or raised by parents who speak another language – has boomed, growing by 30 percent over the past five years to more than 8,100 in 2017. The number is projected to top more than 10,000 by the 2018-19 school year.