Students who speak little or no English are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. public school population, and this demographic shift is being felt even in Vermont. All but a very few of the state’s school supervisory unions are currently working with "English Language Learners." In some schools — especially where refugees have been relocated – the numbers of non-native speakers are approaching one in five.
Ana Rawson is the ELL coordinator for the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union. Jim McCobb coordinates the English Language Acquisition Program for the Vermont Department of Education. They spoke with VPR’s Jane Lindholm about the challenges and rewards of working with students from other cultures.