Weekly Facts 2003-2004

March 24, 2004 Weekly Facts

March 24, 2004

| Joint Information | Elementary Information | Secondary Information |
| ELL Calendar |

Events on the ELL Calendar for this Week

The events which are listed below are detailed in the ELL calendar. All other ELL events that have been scheduled are also listed in the ELL Calendar in the same location.

Mar 24, 2004

Minnesota Paraprofessional Conference

Mar 24, 2004 4:30 PM

Traditional Hmong Ways and Hmong Marriage Ritual

Apr 5, 2004 4:00 PM

ELL Writer's Workshop Level 1 for ELL Teachers (K-2)

Apr 7, 2004 3:00 PM

ELL Secondary Study Groups

Apr 7, 2004 4:30 PM

Traditional Hmong Ways and Hmong Marriage Ritual


Schools prepare for wave of Hmong immigrants

Curt Brown, Star Tribune

St. Paul schools plan to offer some TLC - Transitional Learning Centers - for as many as 1,000 new students who might enroll next fall as the new wave of Hmong immigrants arrives from Thailand.

The centers will be located in yet-to-be-determined schools and will serve as a first stop for the newcomers. Their English and learning skills will be assessed at the transition centers before they are placed in existing language programs at district schools.

Despite limited space and budgets, St. Paul school officials told more than 500 people at a Hmong resettlement briefing Tuesday that they are prepared for and excited about the influx of new students. Tuesday's meeting at the Lao Family Community of Minnesota featured education, health and social service experts who journeyed to the Wat Tham Krabok camp earlier this month to assess the Hmong refugees.

"We know from our visits and interviews the children are extremely bright, and we think they will learn English very quickly as they come to the United States," said Mo Chang, one of three St. Paul school district officials who visited the camp.

Immigration officials say the number of Hmong leaving the camp for Minnesota should range from 1,500 to 3,000, starting in late June. Some of arrivals might not come until 2005, according to Ramsey County planner Jim Anderson, but most of the resettlement should be completed by the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30.

More than half of the 15,000 camp residents are school-age children 14 and younger, which means more than half of those emigrating to Minnesota likely will be kids. So schools will be at the crux of what St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly predicted Tuesday will be a smooth transition that "can be a model of resettlement for the United States."

Kelly, who led the delegation to the camp, said the trip was an "extremely powerful, moving, eye-opening experience. And I think what struck us all was the children."

Chang, a special projects director for the St. Paul schools, found good news and bad news during her educational assessment at the camp. Hmong youngsters are prohibited from attending Thai schools beyond ninth grade. And half the kids at the camp were not attending school because they couldn't afford the fees or space was filled. But Hmong teachers and parents were educating kids in their homes in many cases.

Valeria Silva, the director of English language learning at the St. Paul schools, also made the trip to the camp. She said Tuesday that many of the details about the district's Transitional Learning Centers are being worked out, including specific locations and how long students will stay in the program before they enter more mainstream classrooms.

"We want them and their families to feel welcome while we assess the students and develop individual learning plans in a proactive way," Silva said.

She said the centers will be located in schools that have sufficient space. And while school budgets are tight, Silva said state aid is based on population, so the upsurge in new students "can generate new dollars for these new centers."

ELL Eligibility for Placement in EXCEL Program

Several questions have come up recently regarding ELL students' eligibility for the EXCEL program. The EXCEL worksheet states that ELL level 1 and 2 students are not eligible for the EXCEL program. The intention of this criterion is to match a student's specific needs with the programs available. The EXCEL program is meant to be an intervention for students who are struggling in academic areas; it is not designed for students whose primary issue is English language acquisition. Therefore, students who have recently participated in Language Academy or who were eligible for Language Academy but refused these services, are not likely to be good candidates for the EXCEL program. The AIP team should use their professional opinion based on the student's particular needs to determine whether EXCEL would be appropriate.

PARA Pro Test for EAs

EAs who have not met the No Child Left Behind legislation should call Nadine DeMalignon from the HR department at 767-8236 to schedule a date and time to take the PARA Pro Test. Study materials for the test are also available by calling Nadine. By passing this test, it will mean you have met the requirements and may choose not to attend additional college coursework. If you are not sure if you should take this test, please send an email to mai.vang@spps.org and she'll let you know.

ELL EA Recognition - Submission Deadline April 23, 04

ELL EA Recognition

Revised:  3/17/04

 The ELL Department honors bilingual educational assistants who have:

s.                     Achieved excellence in his/her position

s.                     Contributed to the well-being of ELL students

s.                     Displayed leadership to advance parent involvement/education


Candidates are to be nominated under the following categories:

s.                     Delivers competent instructional support

s.                     Makes substantial contributions to the school community

s.                     Develops strong connections with parents and school



s.                     EA position is funded by ELL funding

s.                     EA must work directly with ELL students and ELL families

s.                     EA must be bilingual


Nomination guideline:

s.                     1-2 page, type written letter from nominator explaining why the nominee deserves special recognition

s.                     Include a separate one-page letter of support from an administrator or designee or other supervisors

s.                     OPTIONAL:  Include a 1-2 page personal essay from the nominee.  Include portfolios or pictures if they are available.

s.                     The last page of the nomination packet should contain the following information regarding the nominee and nominator:

s.         Full name

s.         School

s.         Telephone number


Nomination submission deadline:           April 23, 2004

Submissions will be reviewed, scored, and tallied.  The three highest ranking nominations will be selected for a special award during the EA recognition ceremony in June 2004.

EAs to Attend 2004 MN ESL, Bilingual & Migrant Education Conference on April 30, 2004

The ELL Department will pay 100 registrations for bilingual EAs to attend the conference on April 30, 2004. Any ELL EAs wishing to attend the conference must first get permission from their building principal then send the registration form to the ELL department via fax (293-5411) by Friday, March 26, 2004. Registration forms were faxed to schools on March 1. Additional forms are available by calling (767-8393) or emailing mai.vang@spps.org.

Link to TEAE Results Graphs - Congratulations on ELL Student Achievement!

Information on the TEAE test results can now be found on the ELL Website under DataCenter


Spring Pre-LAS testing window is just around the corner

This year we will be requiring all kindergarten students that have an HLQ other than English and a fall Pre-LAS level of 1-4 to be tested again this spring. The testing window for the spring is from April 5-April 30. Scores are due by April 30. Please use the score sheet (see attachment at bottom of page) to record scores. Send the score sheets via inter-district mail to Al Levin at 360 Colborne--ELL Department.


Fall Window

September 2 - October 10, 2003

Due: October 10, 2003


Students entering between October 10 - February 13
should be tested immediately and again in the spring.


Students entering between February 13 - April 5 should be tested immediately.
This will be their spring score.


Spring Window

April 5 - April 30, 2004

Due: April 30, 2004



Books Needed:

Please contact Michael Bowlus if you have any novels for ELL that your school no longer uses. In particular, we are looking for a class set (30 copies) of the abridged versions of Jungle Book or the Christmas Carol, from Longman Press, which are now out of print. Thanks for your help!

Honors and Distinction Proposal

ELL staff, student and parent input is needed on the Honors and Distinction Proposal and whether it will benefit ELL students.

The Honors and Distinction Proposal has been developed by Saint Paul's seven high school principals and school district staff to achieve two goals: (1) encouraging more students to take a highly challenging and focused program and (2) encouraging and empowering teachers to raise the rigor of all high school courses.

All courses would be weighted equally in calculating a student's Grade Point Average (GPA). In the current system, students receive weighted points for taking advanced classes. For example, in an advanced class with weighted grading, an A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, N/F=0. However, in all other classes, an A = 4, B=3, C=2, D=1, N/F = 0. Under the current system, only students taking advanced classes can obtain the highest class ranking. Under the new proposal, all classes would be weighted equally on a four-point system and no official ranking would be given, except for the top two students. Additionally, special honors and distinctions could be awarded and listed on a student's transcript.

If approved by the Saint Paul Board of Education, the proposal would be implemented starting with the Class of 2008, which enters high school in the fall of 2004. Prior to the school board's consideration of the proposal, district staff and high school principals are gathering extensive input and conducting further research.

The district needs to hear from ELL staff, parents and students on this proposal.

Please take a moment to look at the full proposal and to offer your feedback. Discuss this proposal with ELL students and parents and encourage them to provide input via the web-based survey, through a study group, or at an evening input session. Contact info is available at the web site.





Saint Paul Public Schools, District 625 | 360 Colborne Street, Saint Paul, MN, 55102|651-767-8100|communications@spps.org