Free Summer Language Program Helps Duval County Students From Abroad

Jul 28, 2016

Duval County middle and high school students who are learning English showed off their language mastery with summer projects Thursday morning at Terry Parker High School.

The free program is meant to keep exposing kids to language arts during their months away from school.

In the Terry Parker High School cafeteria, three sixth-grade boys were showing off a display board. Ahmed Elshaik is from Egypt and his first language is Arabic. He’s still working on English.

“My country is not good,” Elshaik said. ”The police didn’t do anything. That’s why I came here. To learn English and speak with the others and get some more friends.”

He points to a sketch on the board he made with his groupmates from India and Columbia.

“Here, that’s the Ellis Island, he said. “We wrote the map and we drew it.”

Their poster compares their own stories to those of early American immigrants. They’ve hand drawn their own passports.

Other students performed plays or poetry. One student took his love for computer engineering and developed an interactive board that represents the things he likes.

English for Speakers of Other Languages Specialist Kristi Brantley said students could be creative when picking a project, but there had to be a goal in mind.

“Whether it’s ‘I want to know different inventors,' or (it's) about music or  it's about myself ... and my story and my immigration story coming here,” she said

There are about 5,000 Duval students who take special classes for non-native English speakers, 800 attended the summer program.