STAMFORD, Conn. -- The Stamford Public Schools has agreed to improve its program for English Language Learners to avoid a federal lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
“By entering into this agreement, the Stamford public school system has reaffirmed its mission to provide all of our children with the equal opportunity to become productive citizens, regardless of their proficiency in English," U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly for Connecticut said in a statement. "This settlement agreement creates a roadmap for all Connecticut schools that provides a comprehensive plan to effectively serve all students who are not yet proficient in English.
"We thank Stamford for working with the Justice Department to achieve this positive and hopeful result."
The district has more more than 2,000 English Language Learner (ELL) students enrolled in its 20 schools, the statement from the Justice Department said. The agreement stems from the United States’ compliance review of the district’s ELL program under the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.
The agreement announced Friday requires the district to implement wide-ranging measures to ensure that ELL students have equal opportunities to succeed academically in its educational programs, beginning with the proper identification and placement of ELL students when they enroll in the system.
In addition, the agreement also requires the district to:
- Provide language acquisition services to all ELL students until they reach the state’s English proficiency criteria.
- Ensure that teachers of ELL students are qualified to provide these services.
- Obtain adequate materials for ELL students.
- Monitor students after they exit ELL services to ensure they are participating meaningfully and equally in general education classes.
- Make appropriate language services available for ELL students with disabilities.
“The Stamford Public Schools undertook a significant step toward ensuring the success of every student from the beginning of his or her school career in the district,” Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Jocelyn Samuels said in a statement. “Faithful implementation of this settlement agreement will ensure that ELL students, like all district students, have access to qualified teachers, instruction designed to impart the necessary English language skills, and dedicated resources to meet ELL students’ particular learning needs."