U.S. Dept. of Education inspects MCPS ESOL Program

Oct. 11, 2005, midnight | By Christopher Consolino | 18 years, 7 months ago

Visit concerns proper allocation of federal ESOL funding

Two officials from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), along with two members of the Maryland State Department of Education (MDOE), visited Blair and Eastern Middle School today to interview teachers and ensure that MCPS properly distributes funding for ESOL education, according to MCPS ESOL Director Karen Woodson.

During the school day, the officials held interviews with ESOL staff members to discuss funding for ESOL education throughout MCPS. "They're monitoring how well we use government funds under Title Three," Woodson said.

According to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), Title Three provides for school programs for "limited English proficient and immigrant students."

School administrations were told about the inspection a week in advance. "Schools were given some warning," said Lois Wions, MCPS Supervisor of ESOL instruction. "Last week, possible [interview] questions were e-mailed to the schools."

The representatives also did not observe any ESOL classes; rather, they simply met with teachers and discussed the effectiveness of the ESOL curriculum and distribution of funding within MCPS. "They wanted to hear teachers articulate the use of those dollars," Wions said.

After the interviews were completed at both Eastern and Blair, MCPS appeared to be in good standing with the state and federal boards. "We did receive favorable feedback from the feds about what we're doing," Woodson noted.

Although the visit by U.S. DOE officials to MCPS schools was a first, according to Wions, the county expects more visits from both the state and federal departments of education in the future.

Still, both Woodson and Wions believe that MCPS is not in the clear and said that slumps in ESOL test scores have negative repercussions at the county level. According to Wions, after two years of failing to meet the Annual Measurable Achievement Objective (AMAO) - similar to the Annual Measurable Objective for MSA testing - for two straight years, county-wide sanctions take effect, which includes an audit of the MCPS ESOL office.

The state sets two targets each year for county ESOL test scores. The targets measure general achievement (overall passing rate) and individual student improvement from testing to testing, according to Wions.

The new MCPS ESOL tests to be administered in April are designed to meet the new state standards as well as better reflect the objectives of the ESOL curriculum. After these news tests are administered in 2006, MCPS will be able to better monitor student improvement and the effectiveness of MCPS ESOL curriculum, said Wions.

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Christopher Consolino. Christopher Consolino is a senior in Communication Arts Program. If Chris had free time, he would spend it practicing piano and taking pictures with his 15 year-old Minolta. He would also like to stress how much better wet process photography is than digital. Most of … More »

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