Support For Non-English Speakers A Priority In Metro Schools Budget

Apr 10, 2017

Metro Schools plans to spend heavily on non-English speakers in the coming year. Immigrant students were a focus of superintendent Shawn Joseph's first "state of schools" address.

Metro Schools is growing more and more diverse every day, he says. New Americans often need additional attention, and superintendent Joseph has budgeted to spend another $5.7 million helping them in the coming year.

"Every child from every corner of the world deserves equitable chances to succeed in life," Joseph said to a round of applause on Monday.            

Joseph has proposed adding 30 new teachers who specialize in English learners and 20 translators to help interpret for parents. The district also plans to expand after-school tutoring and summer opportunities.

Metro Schools has a total of 15,000 students considered English learners — more than any other district in the state, by far.

On Monday, Joseph also outlined a three-year plan to address academic deficiencies in middle grades. The curriculum at every middle school will be overhauled to focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math — known as STEAM. The district wants to put a literacy coach in every school as part of $3.4 million in new spending to improve reading scores.

The district also plans to give all employees three percent raises, though the Metro Council still has to sign off on the budget.