The Newhall School District held a ceremony to recognize reclassified students from all nine of the district’s school sites at the Newhall Family Theatre Wednesday evening.
About 140 students throughout the district have met or exceeded the linguistic and academic criteria that reclassified them from English-learning to fluent English proficient. Students were given a certificate by the assistant principal of their school and Dee Jamison, assistant superintendent of instructional services, for this achievement.
“Several of the students being recognized are not only proficient in English, but they’re on the road to becoming fully bilingual,” said Daria Ramirez, assistant principal for McGrath Elementary School. “It’s our hope that these students continue on this journey that will open the door to endless possibilities as they move on to junior high and high school.”
English proficiency is demonstrated by meeting or exceeding the testing standards in speaking, listening, reading and writing on the English Language Proficiency Assessment. For fourth through sixth graders, standards were met on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress.
The students in the audience collectively cheered when it was announced they would no longer be required to attend English-as-second-language classes anymore.
“We really want you to understand how important this accomplishment is, and how hard you all have worked,” said Ernestina Aguilar, assistant principal at Newhall Elementary School.
Spanish and Korean were the primary home languages spoken by students, said Ramirez, adding that, collectively, about 20 different languages were spoken by students in the district.
After students collected their certificates, those who had short speeches prepared had the opportunity to speak. About a dozen students from various grade levels took the time to thank their parents and teachers, talk about the benefits of being bilingual and gave themselves pats on the back for their achievements.
The ceremony ended with Superintendent Jeff Pelzel thanking parents for supporting their children and congratulating the students on their achievement.
“Our true mission is to make sure when you leave here and go onto junior high and high school, any door can be opened to whatever you want to be,” he said.