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Math as a Second Language

Socorro ISD, Socorro, Texas
Socorro ISD
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Math comprehension, literacy and integrating technology have been tough for non-English speaking students at Socorro ISD.

To meet the pressing need for equitable technology access, the district created the ELL Academy in the 2015-16 year, with the following goals:

1) Increase mathematics content vocabulary.

2) Decrease the conceptual and skill-based gaps in math and increase the level of reading and writing in math.

3) Integrate technology through blended learning.

The academy offers a series of sessions focused on math literacy—an approach to teaching math through reading, writing and vocabulary activities. The teachers differentiate language instruction with blended learning that focuses on group activities designed to improve English proficiency.

Treating math as a second language provides teachers with a pedagogical framework that’s applicable across the reading spectrum. Students are now more comfortable using academic vocabulary in communicating with other students.

Based on a comparison of district math assessments from 2013-14 to 2015-16, ELL students’ scores rose over 21 percent.

To start your own program:

  • Collect data and target campuses with the most need.
  • Separate sessions between elementary and secondary.
  • Visit campuses after sessions to provide support.