Online language learning assistance helps district bridge communication, cultural barriers
For the past six months, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) has been reaping the rewards of a comprehensive online language learning partnership designed to bridge linguistic differences, improve academic success and create cultural understanding among the district’s students, employees and community partners.
The partnership with Rosetta Stone Inc. is a component of Ohio’s Straight A Fund, a competitive grant that funds innovative and cost-effective projects that make an impact and are sustainable over five years. The grant affords access to Rosetta Stone’s English Language Learning (ELL) andWorld Language programs to the district’s 33,000 students and their parents and more than 4,200 CPS employees.
“A direct result of Cincinnati’s growing immigrant population is the proliferation of English language learners (ELL) ─ now comprising more than five percent of our school population ─ and an acute need to address the communications gap in order for our students to succeed,” said Mireika “Marie” Kobayashi, ESL/Foreign Language Manager of CPS. “For a large number of our students, English is not the primary language spoken at home, so we view this partnership as playing a significant role in our mission towards advancing the CPS community.”
In addition to incorporating Rosetta Stone into its English as a Second Language (ESL) curriculum, CPS is making the program available to all ESL parents, who have the choice of attending one-on-one-training sessions with a Technologist-in-Residence at designated venues, while those who are more computer-savvy can access the software directly at a CPS family-friendly website.
According to Jack Aylsworth, Technology Coordinator for Ohio’s Straight A Fund, 445 parents have either accessed the program or have attended these sessions thus far, which are held weekly with the assistance from interpreters.
Access to 29 additional languages will be available at all schools throughout the district. Since the program’s implementation in September 2014, 800 CPS educators and staff have accessed Rosetta Stone’s language solutions for professional or personal use.
Both ESL and foreign language teachers can use the software to supplement their lesson plans or for their own professional development. Ongoing training for CPS staff & ESL/FL teachers is provided after school on alternative Tech Tuesdays and Wired Wednesdays.
“We are thrilled to be able to assist CPS in this district-wide implementation and to see the potential of how language acquisition can affect the lives of tens of thousands – be it a first grader learning Arabic or a Spanish-speaking parent being exposed to English for the very first time,” said Judy Verses, President of Rosetta Stone’s Enterprise & Education Division.
Material from a press release was used in this report.