What’s making news in Minneapolis, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to suzanne.ziegler@startribune.com.

Valedictorian's success all too rare among ELL students

Posted by: under People and neighborhoods, Politics and government Updated: September 26, 2011 - 4:43 PM

Abdiaziz Farah, a native of Somalia, came to the United States in 2006 unable to speak or read English. Teachers struggled to understand him and some classmates laughed at his accent, but he persevered.

Four years later, Farah graduated as valedictorian of the Washburn High School Class of 2010. He's a student at the University of Minnesota studying biology with plans to attend medical school and become a pediatrician.

Success stories such as Farah's happen, but the Minneapolis Public Schools still struggle to educate students learning English as a second, or even third, language. School board members will review a report on those struggles during their meeting Tuesday.

The results are sobering and stark for English language learners, who represent more than a quarter of the district's enrollment: More than 40 percent don't complete high school. For Latinos who don't speak English as their first language, 67 percent leave school without a diploma.

Board members Hussein Samatar, also a native of Somalia, and Alberto Monserrate, who grew up in Puerto Rico, have pledged to devote more attention to and seek out more resources for English language learners.

Here's a look at a draft of the report prepared for the school board:

 

Multilingual MPS

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