Jamestown High School Celebrates English As A New Language Success

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JAMESTOWN – Bilingual students at Jamestown High School recently celebrated success in the school’s English as a New Language program (ENL) during a dinner at the high school.

Twelve students were honored who tested out of the ENL program last spring: Ezequiel Alejandro Lopez, Xaymarie Carrasquillo, Herivette DeJesus-Colon, Jadiel Johnson, Arlene Lopez-Matias , Jamaris Pimentel Cintron, Zugeily Ramos Alvira, Juan Rodriguez-Cortes, Jovian Rosa, Mileyshka Torres, Keira Velez-Cortes and Hongwei Zhang.

“These students made a commitment to excellence,” said ENL teacher, Debbie Oakes. “It’s especially difficult to become fully proficient at a second language when you’re surrounded by friends and family who speak your native language. This accomplishment takes dedication. We’re extremely proud of each one of these students, and we wanted a special celebration to honor their efforts, as well as to demonstrate our gratitude to their families for supporting them. To be able to add ‘bilingual’ as an asset on a future job application is invaluable, and we’re hopeful that more and more of our students will realize the genuine worth of this opportunity.”

Officials said exiting the ENL Program takes commitment and hard work.

When students enter the school system indicating that another language is spoken in the home, they are tested in both English and in their home language to identify their skill levels in speaking, reading, writing and listening.

If they test below the commanding level in English, they are enrolled in the ENL program and receive additional English language supports.

All current ENL students take the NYS English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) each spring until they reach the level of commanding on the exam.

Officials said the system is in place to ensure all English Language Learners receive the support they need.

Even after testing proficient, these students will receive varying ENL supports for an additional two years to ensure a smooth transition.

JPS World Languages Coordinator, Connie Foster, recently welcomed the students and their families with a dinner served by Jamestown Business College students.

Parents and families were honored for their support. Chrissy Conklin from JBC and Edwin Ramirez from JCC both shared information on the programs available at their respective colleges to help these students make plans for college and careers.

JHS ENL teacher Debbie Oakes presented a PowerPoint to explain to families what ENL is, how students enter and exit the program, and why these students’ accomplishments are such a big deal.

As part of the celebration, each student received a certificate, gift bag, rose and a membership certificate from the YMCA of Jamestown.

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