Arizona Education Leaders Begin Work To Revamp English Language Classes

By Mariana Dale
Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 8:12am

Arizona teachers have had to separate English Language Learners into four-hour immersion classes away from their peers for more than a decade.

A law passed this year reduces the time students must spend in English-language development to about two hours a day.

“The hope is that we really are transitioning away from four hours of isolation and into a more inclusive setting,” said Kate Wrigh, deputy associate superintendent, at Monday’s State Board of Education meeting. See her presentation on the new law here.

Now Arizona education leaders must figure out how to help schools revamp English instruction.

Monday the State Board of Education voted to give schools a choice in how they’ll teach English in the 2019-2020 school year.

They can keep the immersion model they have now or adopt the reduced English-language development hours. For students in kindergarten through fifth grade it’s 120 minutes a day, for those in sixth through 12th grade it’s 100 minutes per day.

The Board of Education will work with Arizona Department of Education staff and an advisory group to identify research-based models for teaching English. The board will also create a framework to guide schools that want to create their own models for teaching English. 

The timeline calls for the Arizona Board of Education to vote on new models for teaching English and a framework for schools in December 2019. 

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