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Banks and Forest Grove hit, miss language learner targets

Annual report shows more pupils making strides reading, writing, speaking English

A record number of non-native English speakers in Oregon schools reached proficiency in their second language last year, according to a state department of education report released Tuesday.

But English language learners in Banks and Forest Grove fell short of some of the department's Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives for 2010-11, the report noted.

Banks ELL students met a pair of AMAO goals: more than twice the required number of pupils reached proficiency and exited the program, and nearly three times the required percentage identified as ELL for five years or more exited the program. The district did not meet a target asking 53 percent of its ELL students to move up by one level of proficiency last year, missing it by three percentage points, said student services director Shelley Mitchell.

Banks also missed a target requiring students to make 'adequate yearly progress' in English proficiency. 'Except for the fact that we didn't meet overall AYP ... we are exceptionally pleased about the progress students have made in advancing skills in English proficiency,' Mitchell noted. Banks' overall enrollment is 1,120.

Leonard Terrible, an English language development teacher on special assignment for the Forest Grove district, said 1,312 ELL students met the state's target for moving up a level in proficiency. They also met the 24 percent threshold for those identified as ELL for five years or more to demonstrate proficiency and exit the program.

Forest Grove did not meet thresholds for all ELL students to exit the program or for AYP. Still, 'gains have been made with the ELL population,' Terrible said.

The report 'was consistent with overall projections for the district,' noted Terrible, who added that the district submitted an English language development school improvement plan to the ODE in June.

Terrible replaced former ELD coordinator Mariam Baradar after her position was cut from the budget last spring.

Forest Grove's overall enrollment is about 5,800.