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To help refugee students find success, Brokovich said the district has several programs in place, including reading and math intervention programs, a newcomer center for elementary students at Lee Elementary, clustered English language learners at Craig and Clack middle schools and the addition of two refugee interpreters who speak three of the four most common immigrant languages in the district. They do not have an interpreter for Swahili.
Abilene ISD refugee students can hit a wall with state tests
"We're asking our refugee populations to go so far beyond what's expected," Lambert said Wednesday. "It's not even realistic. There's got to be a bit of a ramp up time for these refugees to learn the testing system. It's almost like learning a new subject itself. There needs to be time given to these kids to Guess Belt For Men
Cathy Ashby, AISD's associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction, told the board about the challenges the district faces with its ever changing, diverse student population. cities that helps uprooted refugees resettle in America.
be acclimated and we're just not giving these kids the time."
The difficulty of meeting the state and national Versace Belt Buckle
Moving from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills assessment test to the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exam made things even harder, AISD board of trustees President Stan Lambert said.
With the TAKS testing, Lambert said immigrant test results weren't counted for five years, but with STAAR there are no exemptions, and immigrant scores are included within their first year of enrolling in a school district.
Since 2004, Abilene ISD's English language learners have changed from being 90 percent Spanish speakers to only 45 percent today. During the 2011 12 school year, AISD had 606 English language learners speaking 30 languages other than English with half of those being refugees, said Jeff Brokovich, AISD's executive director of federal programs.
All AISD subgroups improved their scores on this year's district AYP assessment except English language learners. This subgroup's language arts scores dropped from 64 percent passing last year to 63 percent this year.
Brokovich said the most common languages spoken by its immigrants are Kirundi (spoken in Burundi and three other African countries), French (France), Nepali (Nepal) and Swahili (Kenya and other African countries).
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all or nothing academic assessment tests, such as the federally mandated Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), was discussed during Monday night's Abilene Independent School District's board of trustees meeting.
"Our district is doing a good job closing the gap on our Spanish speaking population, but with half of our English language learners being refugees, that progress is overshadowed," Brokovich said.
He said that the district's number of English language learners have risen every year since 2001.
But the Texas Education Agency starts testing immigrant students with its accountability assessment exams within months of their arrival and many of these students have had no prior schooling.
In Monday's meeting, Lambert said, "(The testing) puts these kids in a situation where they can't win. This is the equivalent of putting a sixth grader on the football field at Abilene or Cooper Gucci Belt Tiger
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