Demand for Bilingual Education Rises in Lawrence Township Schools – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana weather

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The number of students studying English in Indiana is growing and schools are feeling the impact.

This week, News 8’s Camila Fernandez takes a deep dive into bilingual education and how some schools in Indianapolis are meeting the cultural and language needs of their students.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As the number of students learning English increases, teachers are taking new actions to give these students the education they deserve.

Across Indiana, there are nearly 78,000 students, called English Learners, who receive both English and Spanish classes. The number of English learners in Indiana schools has increased by nearly 27,000 in six years.

One school district that is seeing an increase in English learners is the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township in northeast Marion County.

There are approximately 16,250 students in Lawrence Township schools, and most of them are Black or Hispanic. About 20% of the students in the district study English.

At a school in Lawrence Township, a Latina teacher who was once a student there has returned years later and is making a positive impression.

Bilingual education teacher Nancy Oseguera has a passion for many things, but she has a special love for her second grade students at Mary Castle Elementary School.

Oseguera teaches them to read and write in English and Spanish.

“I love it because I actually feel a strong connection with my students because I’ve been on this program myself,” Oseguera said.

Years ago, Oseguera was a first grade student studying English at Mary Castle. Back then, she says, there was no bilingual education up to middle school.

“I just wish when I came here I could have heard a little bit of Spanish here,” Oseguera said. “For example, when it’s English time, I know it’s all English, but like those who don’t speak English, I just try to say things more slowly.”

Carl Blythe, Principal of Mary Castle Elementary School, says the school would like to offer more classes in a bilingual environment but more resources are needed.

“There’s still work to be done,” Blythe said. “We would like to have interventionists who support learning. We would like to be able to expand our staff and professional development with bilingual or even native speaker interventions.”

The desire for bilingual learning is also growing at nearby Forest Glen Elementary School, where more than half the students are Hispanic. Bilingual education at Forest Glen focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Year after year the demand for bilingual education is growing, says Jerome Omar Lahlou, Head of School at Forest Glen.

“We have all these community members and parents who want their children to be part of the Forest Glen school community, and then the district listened to that request and opened another school that blended in with this one,” Lahlou said.

Mary Castle and Forest Glen are just two schools that offer bilingual education programs in Indianapolis, but regardless of location, these schools have one thing in common: a celebration of their students’ diverse cultures.

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