Saugus board recognizes English learners

6th grader Jorge Sandoval receives a medal during Tuesday night's board meeting for having met the district criteria for reclassification and have redesignated as Reclassified Fluent English Proficient, May 22, 2019. Caleb Lunetta / The Signal.

Saugus Union School District trustees and faculty acknowledged 16 students Tuesday who had been redesignated as being proficient in English by the end of the 2018-19 school year.

The students who received the recognition during the board meeting had proven to both the state and their teachers at school that they had met the state’s proficient level of achievement on California assessments, showed an ability to successfully achieve in classrooms where the language of instruction is English and can participate fully in society.

“I won this award for finally being able to talk and listen a little bit more fluently than I did at the beginning of the year,” said Brandon Aros, a 6th grader at Rio Vista Elementary School. “I didn’t really speak English very well until I learned from English Language Development (ELD) classes and continued to progress more and more.”

“I’d like to congratulate the students for their reclassifications, but more importantly, all the teachers who worked with them,” said SUSD Superintendent Colleen Hawkins. “Not just the sixth grade teachers, but all the teachers who worked with them, helped them, move past that.”

Hawkins said it was probably the “No. 1 best thing” the teachers could give the kids as they move on to higher education.

“The access they will have in secondary school to other coursework and other pathways that still being an English-learner would limit them from,” Hawkins said.

During the board meeting students were given certificates from the board, medals indicating their achievement and a recognition from State Sen. Scott Wilk’s office.

“Kids are really important for the future, and whenever the senator has a chance to recognize someone for whatever, whether it be because they’re proficient in English, or good behavior or academics, that’s a great win for us and the community,” said Kris Hough, WIlk’s district representative, who distributed the certifications signed by Wilk. “And if (these students are) going to stay in the United States and they’re going to study, they’re going to need to know English to go to college and to high school.”

“I was watching one of the parents who was sitting up here as his son received the award, and he had tears that his son had been reclassified as an English proficient student,” said Assistant Superintendent Isa De Armas. “It’s another reminder how important our classes are for English learners.”

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