ELL Students: Turning Weakness Into Strength

One of the many challenges facing the Clark County School District is helping English Language Learners (ELL) - about 53,000 students who themselves and/or their parents do not speak English as a first language.  Clark County has the nation's third-highest population of ELL students as a percentage of total enrollment.

After the appointment of Ms. Lucy Keaton as first assistant superintendent of CCSD’s English Language Learner program just over a month ago, and as the issue came up again at the CCSD Parent and Community Forum, we must ask ourselves what would happen if we are able to turn this weakness into a real and competitive advantage – it could go beyond lower dropout rates!

Hoping that most of these students would want to preserve their parents' native language, they will not only have a higher chance to graduate from high school, but they would also be fluent in both languages. The advantage does not stop at being bilingual with no accent, apparently there are other cognitive benefits that would have positive effects on children's development.

"Researchers have shown that the bilingual brain can have better attention and task-switching capacities than the monolingual brain, thanks to its developed ability to inhibit one language while using another." Read More

"Speaking two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter." Read More

"Because of its growing number of non-English-speaking students, the School District has created a new administrative position to oversee all of the English Language Learner programs."  Read More