Four English learners reclassified as fluent at small ceremony

The ELA had flower gifts for the four Davis High students that are now fluent in English.

By Amelia Biscardi, Editor–

The English Learner Advisory celebrated the reclassification of four Davis High students as fluent English speakers out of the approximately 90 English learners at DHS on May 17.

While only two of the four students came to the celebration, there were 14 people at the DHS library on Thursday night. Just last year, 23 students were reclassified.

The main reason for the dip in the number of students receiving their reclassification lies in the transition of a state test change.

The old test, the California English Language Development Test, was available to reclassified students through the first half of the year and the new test, the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California was available through the later half.

The four reclassified students include juniors Ting Zheng, Qirui Yan and Amanda Lin, and senior Marianne Verdugo. All received recognition both from the district and from their site.

Teacher David Achimore presents junior Ting Zheng with her flowers.

After opening the meeting to some quick questions, mostly about the new testing, Zheng and Yan had vice principal Kellie Sequeira read something they had written about their journey of learning another language.

Zheng, who is now fluent in English, Chinese and Cantonese, really loves the teachers, clubs and different activities that have been available to her at DHS.

“It’s very useful [to be fluent in multiple languages], because I like traveling,”  Zheng said.

Zheng explains that watching movies, hanging out, chatting with friends and reading helped her in learning English. She also enjoys listening to music so she can learn vocabulary.

“I like listening to English songs,” she said.

Zheng had some difficulty in English syntax, which were different from the other languages she is fluent in, but she soon mastered it through the help of her homework and assignments.

Yan, whose friends call him Jerry, found help for learning English in some unique ways.

“When you play games, you always learn a lot,”  Yan said.

Yan, who has been working on his fluency for around seven years, can now speak both English and Chinese. A challenge for Yan was the different word choices, slang and speeds people use.

Sequeira, who was heading off the event, is very sympathetic to the challenges and difficulties of the students who come and are not fluent in English.

“English learners do something incredibly difficult,”  Sequeira said.

The little ceremony was being put on only for the second time and Sequeira has high hopes for the future.

“I’d love [to have] 100 people here,”  Sequeira said.

While the district does acknowledge the students as well, Sequeira believes that there is also something important about being recognized by your school site.

Looking forward, Sequeira wants to improve the outreach and create better communication with the community and the resources that are available at DHS.

“I want them [the English learners community] to  know that there are people in our office that speak multiple languages,”  Sequeira said.

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