March 23, 2017

Activities to highlight benefits of second language learners
March 23, 2017—Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) will host its first Celebrate Languages Week beginning March 27, highlighting the benefits of students who speak 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.”

Throughout the week, schools will host events to highlight and celebrate the various languages spoken by students, including having students make morning announcements in their native language, welcoming students each morning with a world-language greeting, and promoting bilingual books in school libraries. World-language classrooms will also participate in poster contests.

In addition, some sites will hold schoolwide events to mark the celebration:

  • ESL Newcomer Academy, 4018 West Market Street—Global Homecoming, Thursday, March 23, events during the day and open house from 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Goldsmith Elementary School, 3520 Goldsmith Lane—International Festival, Tuesday, March 28, 6 p.m.
  • Seneca High School, 3510 Goldsmith Lane—Cultural Extravaganza, Thursday, March 30, during the school day
  • Semple Elementary School, 724 Denmark Street—International Festival, Thursday, March 30, 6 p.m.

The district’s English Language Learner 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.

Read more highlights on the district’s World Language Programs.