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Local schools see surge in Hispanic students - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Local schools see surge in Hispanic students

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For years, the Hispanic population in the state of Texas and Arkansas has experienced an up tick.

But a growing trend shows a migration of Hispanics to Louisiana.

New Orleans has seen the largest growth.

Then, Baton Rouge. Shreveport ranks third in Hispanic population in Louisiana.As many migrate to the area, schools are working overtime, to embrace the surge in the multi-cultural population.

KTBS 3 takes a closer look at what is being doing to help English language learners. Caddo schools has seen an increasing growth of about 293% of ELL students over the last nine years. Statistics show Meadowview Elementary as one of largest population of Hispanic students in Bossier schools.

"We have a large population of Hispanic families and many of them, the students speak better English than the parents do. So we've tried to do some outreach programs for the parents. We actually started an English class for the parent in the cafeteria a couple of years ago," said Dr. Shelly Barrett, Principal Meadowview.

Student Mauricio Castenada enjoyed helping his little brother learn English.

"I wanted my brother to come to school to get an education and so I taught him English and that's why he started coming to preschool. Every time he comes home and say that it's fun having friends," said Castenada.

If you think it's hard for your students to excel in the classroom, how about students who learn English as a second language or ELL students?

Imagine these students taking standardized tests.

"I can't wait till the I - LEAPbecause like I got the all B's on the practice one and I know I'm going to get A's on the real one," Castenada.

Caddo officials explained how the government takes the language barrier into account.

"ELL students can have accommodations on the state test, anywhere from a word to word dictionary; to small group testing to test read aloud, but the federal government has also given us a way that if a student has been here for less than a year; the test can be coded so that it doesn't count. If they've been here for longer than a year than the test can be coded and they can be waved from one of the high stakes testing from fourth to eighth," said Cathy Gallant, Caddo curriculum development director.

A few years ago a study found that 30% of Louisiana's Hispanic students dropped out. So local schools are hard at work trying to teach all students.

"Our job is to educate children and make them successful; where ever they are at is where we meet them and then we bring them forward," said Gallant.

The Louisiana Department of Education has accommodations in place such as having a translator read test questions to the students in their native language.

So what will the growth projections be like in the next 10 or even 15 years?

According to experts, ELL students make up 40% of all U.S. Students by the year 2030.

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