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Westchester Educators Train For New Regs For English Language Learners

An instructor reviews the changes in regulations governing education for English Language Learners at a workshop hosted by Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES.
An instructor reviews the changes in regulations governing education for English Language Learners at a workshop hosted by Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Educators from across the region gathered at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES recently for a daylong training session on the new regulations governing education for English Language Learners.

The new rules, aimed at strengthening educational opportunities for students not proficient in English, were adopted by the state Board of Regents in September and take effect in the 2015-2016 academic year. Among other things, the rules require school districts to provide bilingual instruction whenever 20 or more students speaking the same language at the same grade level are enrolled throughout the district.

“This training is very valuable because it allows us to deepen our understanding of the regulations and to better understand the value of the regulations,” said Karen Gatto, chairperson of Pupil Personnel Services in the Croton-Harmon School District. “PNW BOCES does such a great job of providing us with the opportunity to network with colleagues and really understand all the changes governing ELL education.”

The new rules provide criteria for placing students in ELL programs and removing them from ELL programs once they are proficient in English. The regulations also require school districts to communicate with the parents of ELL students in the language best understood by the parents and to ensure 15 percent of all professional development hours for teachers are focused on teaching strategies for ELL students.

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