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Remote learning help available for English language learners

Posted at 12:22 AM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-04 00:22:46-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Remote learning is an adjustment for all parents and students but it's a bigger challenge for families who speak English as a second language.

At Indianapolis Public Schools, 22 percent of students are English language learners, meaning English is not their first language. That's roughly 6,600 students.

IPS has plans to meet the needs of all their students.

"I feel for the families who have only speaking Spanish household parents," Karla Perez said.

Perez knows how hard it can be on some kids to try to continue speaking their first language at home while speaking English in school.

"At home, I always got in trouble for speaking English," Perez said. "We were only supposed to speak Spanish."

Now that she's a mom, Perez said she understands how her parents felt even though she's more prepared to help her kids than they were.

"I myself have a hard time helping my kids with their homework only for the fact that I speak English," Perez said. "I graduated from college but they have changed things so much."

That's why she hopes someone with Indianapolis Public Schools is working on a way to help out families who speak English as a second language.

"For our English language learners, there are still requirements that we have in terms of communication with them, assessment and support services that we're still obligated to make sure we're meeting," IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson said.

Johnson is assuring parents they're doing their best to make sure all students have the best opportunity to learn taking into account those who speak English as a second language.

"Lessons learned in the spring that we can now move forward and apply to the fall," Johnson said.

As kids get ready to start school in two weeks, Perez has a message of encouragement for her community.

"To my fellow Latinos in the community, I don't want you to feel alone," Perez said. "Look on Facebook and if you need, reach out to me. There are many programs out there to help you and your family."

Johnson said IPS is in the process of developing programs to fill the different needs of students, like English language learners. She said the district is open to community member suggestions and offers of help.