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Educators Launch Kentucky Coalition for English Learners

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Owensboro Public Schools
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Educators from Owensboro and Daviess County public schools are spearheading a new statewide organization to expand classroom instruction for English language learners. 

The new group is called the Kentucky Coalition for English Learners. The first conference was held June 10 and 11 at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville and  drew 250 educators. 

One of the organizers of the coalition is Matthew Constant, chief academic officer for Owensboro Public Schools. 

"The majority of people, and this was our target audience, were general education teachers," said Constant. "We have specialized English learner teachers that are trained in college to deliver specialized instruction, but many of our English learner students are in regular classrooms the majority of the day.”

Constant said the large turnout at the conference reflects the interest teachers have in sharing strategies to help English learners in preschool through high school achieve academically.

“Even with the federal government tightening the number of refugees allowed in the country, we are finding that our regions in Owensboro and Warren and some other places in Kentucky are desirable for secondary refugees, meaning they landed someplace else but have heard about Owensboro or have family in Owensboro,” said Constant.

Other school districts initially involved in the coalition include those in Boone, Fayette, Jefferson and Warren counties. 
 
The coalition will hold monthly video conferences and is planning to have a second statewide conference in June 2020.
 
The Kentucky Office of Refugees in Louisville is a partner in the coalition and provided some funding for the conference. 

Rhonda Miller joined WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.
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