SPRINGDALE (KFSM) -- Students whose native language is not English hit a major milestone on Wednesday (March 29).
More than 30 students at Lakeside Junior High graduated from the English as a second language or ESL program.
Ninth grader Aracely Najera Hernandez is a native Spanish speaker and started the program in third grade. She credits her success to her teachers.
“At first it was really tough, I had to keep on going and going until this year I finally succeeded,” she said.
ESL Instructional Facilitator Jana Reid said the students achieved this by scoring proficient on two tests as well as having a C or better in all their core classes. They also had to be recommended by two teachers.
“To be proficient on state tests is a feat, to also to be proficient at the same time on a language test is a really good accomplishment that these kids do. These students for the most part take advanced placement classes,” Reid said.
Kobe Ortega is in the eighth grade is also a native Spanish speaker. He said his parents are very proud of him especially because they do not speak English.
“It was kind of hard. I remember the first years of kindergarten, I was kind of forgetting my native language to remember English. Like right now I still don’t know some words in Spanish now.”
Reid said the number of students graduating from the program at Lakeside has doubled from last year. She thinks this partly could be due to changing the ESL test this year. She said she is really proud of all the kids hard work.
“Our teachers work very very hard to not just, our math teachers are not just math teachers here, they are also language teachers and that goes for careers, that goes for social studies…everybody teaches language, it’s all hands on deck because we have a need here,” Reid said.
Last year Springdale School District had 390 students graduate from the ESL program and this year they have had 943 graduate.