Education of English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities

The whole globe is focused on ensuring a universal education that will impact learners with important skills and knowledge while at the same time ensuring their talents and abilities are tapped. This endeavor requires that educators and instructors understand their students well, their abilities, talents, shortcomings and try to help them be in line with the wider population of students. In any educational environment, there could be students who should be taught the language of the instruction, students with special education needs such as disorders in behavior, mental conditions, or disabilities. English Language Learners commonly abbreviated as ELLs are students who besides learning the normal curricula are also undertaking lessons on the language that will be used for instructions (English) as well as a vast variety of literary skills. Students with disabilities refer either students who are physically disabled or with other learning disabilities (“Lesley University,” n.d.). This paper implores how an educational consultant of ELLs and Students with Disabilities in New Brookhaven School can effect change in the school environment in line with the law.

ELLs are usually learners whose parents have just migrated to the United States and they are enrolled in public schools where English is the only language of communication. It should be noted that these learners understand their native language and they will have a difficulty in English. Similarly, a student identified as an ELL could also be classified as a Student with Disability or any other student could be categorized as a Student with Disability including but not limited to physical disability or learning disability. It will be noted that these two types of students, ELLs, and Students with Disability should be given due attention so as to be at par with their fellow learners (Park et al., n.d.-a). In some instances, however, teachers could inappropriately place learners in special education could be because they have not been trained in matters on ELLs or due to insufficient fundamental information on English language acquisition.

The New Brookhaven School is an elementary public school located in Georgia. I have been appointed as an educational consultant on matters on ELLs and Students with disabilities. The compendium of the school is as follows; many teachers I have been assigned have been teaching for a period between 5 and 10 years, each teacher is set in their own way, and it attracts neighborhood typical learners whose scores in tests range from average to above average. It has a number of students with disabilities and these students more often than not are exempted from standardized tests and a few class activities. Recently, the immigrant host program which brought in a new community in the area saw five students enrolling in the school (LDAOeng, 2014). These students have been categorized as English Language Learners since they understand just their native language and have to be taught English literacy skills.

There is a language barrier between the parents/guardians of the ELL students and the schools thus they are not able to interact with teachers. This has brought the need to have an interpreter to achieve effective communication. Among the ELL students, two have been noted to exhibit certain behavioral outbursts when they are in class. Many of the students with disabilities in the school are undertaking Behavioral Intervention Plans which renders them behind in terms of academics (“Disciplining Students with Disabilities,” n.d.). Given the different education programs that students with disabilities are offered unlike their peers, their parents have been registering grumbles of impartial education for their kids different from their counterparts.

There is an insufficient funding for technology in the school. With my appointment as an educational consultant of English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities in this school, the above situations present a challenge which requires a sedulous pursuit to create a conducive educational environment for learners, teachers, and parents of the students and especially for the ELL students and Students with disabilities (Griffith, n.d.). The above challenge ought to be addressed with strict regards to the existing laws of the lands and new policies must be put in place that places the school on universal education provision and also that ensures equality amongst the students in the school regardless of the student’s status.

Noteworthy is the fact that due to the parents’ inability to communicate well in English with the school administration, they may not be able to open up on areas that are necessary so that their children can be given attention in (Archerd, 2014). At the same time, they may not complain to the school authorities since they may not be aware of their options, or could be they may not be courageous enough to challenge the school or still fear that the school may retaliate by discriminating against their children. With this in mind, it is important that the school devices ways of ensuring that the parents of ELLs or Students with Disabilities feel welcome anytime to engage the school in matters regarding their children.

In order to establish and integrate programs for ELLs and Students with Disabilities, as a consultant, I would advocate for a number of aspects to be undertaken by the school. Teachers should be able to respond to learners from diverse cultures and linguistics. Instructions given to students should be in consideration to diverse cultures and linguistics and should be apt (Archerd, 2014). The school learning environment should be supportive of each and every student, teachers should be acquainted with English language acquisition information, and students in general education classes should be supported. Furthermore, I would duly advise the school to conduct an in-depth research that includes benchmarking other institutions to obtain the best intervention programs.

Similarly, in line with the National Center of Learning Disabilities’ provision, I would adjure the school to enact the use of visuals in classrooms to supplement oral teachings so as to augment concepts and vocabularies. The learning strategy should be a cooperative one and has peer teaching so that students could even learn from themselves even in absence of teachers (Burr, Haas, & Ferriere, n.d.). The school should also offer opportunities where students interact using English both in formal and non-formal environments within the school at any time. Teachers will also be advised that when teaching students, they should use a language that challenges and evokes interest in all students by using rich and evocative vocabularies to drive literary concepts.

In instances where students are floundering, if their native language is familiar with some of the teachers, then it would also be of great help if the students were taught in their native language. To achieve this, however, there is a need to bring on board teachers and other stakeholders in the school so as to identify ELLs and Students with disabilities and assign them teachers who could be experienced or are qualified in teaching English as a second language (LDAOeng, 2014). Of prudence will also be seeking advice from special education providers and also contacting the School-Based Professional Learning Communities to understand more.

One of the law case findings that concern itself with the ELLs is the Equal Opportunities Act that was legislated in 1974 commonly abbreviated as EEOA. This law mandated school districts to do against language barriers that hinder ELLs from taking part impartially with others in educational endeavors (“Educational Opportunities Cases,” 2015). Therefore, much action and attention should be taken into consideration since the law probes on any complain surrounding language barrier. One such example of a school that was taken to court after failing to adhere to the English Language Acquisition program is the Denver Public Schools a case contended in the Colorado US District Court. The schools were subjected to frequent scrutiny by the court under which directives to implement some programs, the court-monitored parent communication with the school, monitored the students’ progress and teachers’ training on this act.

The legislation which governs the treatment of students with disabilities is the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act obligating all schools to offer apt and fair education to learners who have any disability. Given the order to watch over it is the Department of Education that is mandated to enforce this act. One such case finding is the Covington Independent Public Schools which was being probed on its practices of failure of adherence to the above law on disability. The school had to take into consideration a number of interventions called the Positive Behavior Supports that were to govern its culture and practices not only within classroom environment but also generally within the school environment including identifying communication with families of the students among other undertakings (“Covington Independent Public Schools,” 2017). It was to set up a committee to closely monitor the students in compliance with the provisions of the law.

In any endeavor for inclusivity of ELLs and Students with Disability, it would be imperative for a whole new funding in the education sector to support technology and specialized programs necessary for learning and interaction. This would require not just New Brookhaven Schools but also the entire district to come together and chart the way forward in the funding of schools (Griffith, n.d.). While it is indeed true that a small amount of resources is reportedly used for procurement of technological equipment in many schools, the same may not be directed at programs that are open to both fit and students with a disability.

School resources should, therefore, be readjusted to suit the needs of all students, including accommodating training of teachers to deal with ELLs and Students with Disabilities. The same should be done without putting much pressure on the school resources and thus parents, teachers, and any other relevant stakeholders should constantly meet and brainstorm on the probable way in which budgetary allocation could cover procurement of technological equipment and special programs for Students with Disability. Furthermore, it would necessary that public school funding is contended in a court of law to compel state and federal governments to chip in funding public schools depending on the number of students with disabilities, their requirements, and also the requisite facilities to support such students. The legislative act which impacts school resources and funding of public schools is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act abbreviated as IDEA (Vohs, n.d.). The law defines how a student who is disabled are offered education, and elucidate the systematic procedure of how states are to fund the K-12 programs for students with disabilities.

Incidences of behavioral infractions will be addressed subject to the school’s code of conduct. While the Individual with Disabilities Education Act does protect the rights of the children, it does not, however, prohibit punishment of ELLs and Students with Disability. Therefore, any misdemeanor from any student will be equally treated as the rest. Giving less redress to unruly behaviors of the students can be considered in fact as not giving appropriate education to the student. Positive behavioral interventions need to be applied to students who exhibit behavioral infractions. Each ELL and Student with Disability should be identified and their behavior known, then those with infractions could be assigned a specific staff member who would be required to understand the student well, and give them necessary support (“Disciplining Students with Disabilities,” n.d.). In instances where the behavior has become continuous despite the interventions, it would require suspension or expulsion of the student from the school in compliance to all the set laws.

I would recommend that a stringent code of behavioral conduct is developed where freedom and rights of ELLs and Students with Disability are clearly defined and their relationship with teachers is demystified. Each teacher is assigned a certain student whom they will develop a relationship under which the teacher will be regularly meeting with the parents of the student to discuss the discipline of the student and the necessary interventions (“Disciplining Students with Disabilities,” n.d.). It is within these discourses that the strengths and needs the children are identified and hence students may be given a chance to meet the requirements of the code of conduct.

On the other hand, a certain threshold should be met by teachers to be able to maintain an effective interaction with the parents and students so as to enhance safety within and around the school. Teacher safety should also be taken into consideration especially for students who exhibit behavioral infractions which could be violent. It is imperative that committees are set that closely monitor the behavior of the students and determine the requisite interventions to ensure that school environments provide freedom for students at the same time ensure safety for teachers and other students (Ortiz, Bray, Bilias-Lolis, & Kehle, 2017). I would also recommend some funds be set aside so that guidance and counseling personnel be appointed specifically for safety management.

A perspicacious plan to meet the needs of ELLs, Students with Disability, and their parents are training teachers in line with the needs of these students. It will need that teachers involved with these students must undergo training to acquaint them with the requisite skills. The school should also employ an interpreter so that the parents of these students may be able to communicate and develop a strong relationship with the teachers so that cultural background of students is understood. Special programs including special amenities and technological equipment for disabled children should be allocated funds. Special groups within the classroom areas should be established which will enable ELLs and Students with Disability to gain self-confidence, learn language from their colleagues, and also appreciate the culture of other students and hence blend with them. Parents could also be grouped together so that they can be able to freely share how to best help their children collectively.

A viable strategy to solicit funds for procurement of technology equipment and training of teachers on technological needs including use and combination of images, graphics, videos, e-learning tools, and audios for use in ELLs arouses interest and further motivates students and make them aplomb (PETERSON, n.d.). For students with disability, apt tools like ear implants for the deaf, modern braille for the blind, among other appropriate interventions for their disability. To meet this, I would write various proposals to parents to consider additional funding for their children’s needs. It will also need proposals to the state and federal governments to increase funding so as to comply with the provisions of the law. Furthermore, educationists and relevant NGOs are amongst the probable support groups who could be willing to chip in to fund the project.

            The potential challenges to this plan are lack of support from parents of those students who would view this as a project which should only involve parents whose children are categorized within the ELLs and Disability. Some of these parents would view students from different ethnic backgrounds as a threat to their children basing on the profiling of their backgrounds (Park et al., n.d.). The other potential challenge is that some of the interventions may require time to bear results and may make the school and other stakeholders be impatient. Finally, another potential challenge is some of the students with behavioral infractions may develop serious behaviors and engage in drugs and crimes.

To counter these, proper explanation to the parents should be made so that they understand that any student immaterial of the background may be classified as ELL or Student with Disability. On the issue of time, programs should be mixed such that some bear results over a short time while others bear in a long period of time. Finally, those students exhibiting serious unchanging behaviors must be subjected to stringent rules and punishments so as to avoid long-term behavioral infractions. Therefore, I believe that the study and recommendations that I will have done in New Brookhaven School will make a very good impact on the ELLs and Students with Disability, a feat worthy of emulation.