As we move into the twenty-first century, students enrolled in Cecil County Public Schools are living in a community, state, and nation where people from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds are interacting with one another on a daily basis. When these students graduate with a Maryland High School Diploma, they will be practicing their careers in an interdependent world community of nations. The challenge of the Cecil County Public Schools system today is to provide a quality education for all students, including those for whom English is not a first language, to enable them to realize their personal, social, academic, and career goals. To be successful, all students must be able to communicate effectively with another in both oral and written language.
The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program is designed to meet the educational needs of students from other countries enrolled in Cecil County Public Schools for whom English is not a primary language. In addition to these students, the ESOL Program includes students born in the United States who have their first contact with English when they enter school. The primary goal of the ESOL Program is to help English Learner (EL) students learn English as quickly as possible through specific English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction provided by certified ESOL teachers. The second goal is to assist students so that they may be successful in all aspects of the regular school program. The third goal is to help them adjust to American culture while retaining their own cultural identity and home language.
EL students are entitled to the same opportunities that are available to all students in Cecil County Public Schools. ESOL teachers advocate for the following: equal access to all programs; use of appropriate materials and instructional strategies; availability of safe environments to conduct lessons; appreciation of cultural differences; and utilization of translating services when necessary. In addition, ESOL teachers act as liaisons between the parents and the school system. ELs and their families bring with them a wealth of linguistic and cultural diversity, which enriches all students in their individual classrooms and schools. Through shared experiences, students and staff learn to value each other's cultural heritage and gain an appreciation for differences.