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Multicultural Education, v19 n3 p35-40 Spr 2011

Although public school districts in Southern California are experiencing declining enrollment overall, accompanying this decline is a continuing increase in the percentage of students classified as English language learners (EL). In one Southern California school district with an enrollment of approximately 5,500, EL represented almost 31% of students. This district employed one teacher on special assignment (TOSA) as the District English Language Development (ELD) Coach. As is common for ELD specialists, this person mentored teachers in utilizing instructional strategies for EL and provided professional development; however, an additional responsibility was added to the already full list: attending all Student Study Team (SST) meetings held for EL throughout the entire school district. Numerous experiences at SST meetings for EL led to a reexamination of the teacher's role in the pre-referral process until it became a central focus for professional development and new teacher training, especially for cases involving EL. The need for teachers to understand and be more prepared for their role in the prereferral process became evident, especially for beginning teachers without the advantage of years of classroom experience. In this article, the author presents a brief compilation of some of the observations made during this time, including the proposition that a study of the classroom teacher's role in the pre-referral and referral process, especially in relation to EL, should be included in teacher preparation programs in collaboration with special education professionals. Finally, recommendations for further research in this area that arose are discussed. (Contains 1 figure.)

Descriptors: Educational Strategies, Second Language Learning, Cooperation, School Districts, Beginning Teachers, Professional Development, Referral, English (Second Language), English Language Learners, Special Education, Mentors, Teacher Role, Prereferral Intervention, Teacher Education Programs, Classification, Disproportionate Representation, Individualized Education Programs

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Autor: Stein, Jennifer Canillas


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