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Huron Works To Improve ESL Education

December 23, 2012, 5:31 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Huron Works To Improve ESL Education

A study established to help educators teach English learning students in schools should soon have published results.

The South Dakota Department of Education is in its third school year of a partnership with the Huron School District and the University of South Dakota. The three are studying ways to most effectively teach English learning students so other districts can implement those strategies as well.

"We know that it'll never be perfect, and we'll have to adapt to the students' needs as we get them," Huron ESL Director Cindy Niederbaumer said.

Some parents of English learners in Huron say the district has an ESL program that would be a good example for others to follow.

"For three years I live in Huron," Luis Arndandes said. "It's a good program."

"She can read and she can speak," Le Sei said. "She has a good teacher."

The district has monthly parent meetings, classes co-taught by ESL and conventional teachers and it's teaching several other teachers how to best instruct EL students.

Those are only a few of the things the school is doing.

"We just want to make sure we're giving every child in South Dakota the best education possible," Niederbaumer said.

Huron visited other districts with ESL programs when setting up its own. Administrators hope the lessons they learned will benefit others now coming to them.

That said, administrators say they had to tweak methods to make them work locally and know each individual district will have to do the same.

When the USD study started in 2010, the district had somewhere around 350 EL students. It now has 670, which makes up a third of the student body.

USD plans to release findings of its study this spring.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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