To boost English learners' performance, some Minnesota schools are trying new approaches designed to help them more quickly grasp the language. Among them is Kennedy Elementary in Willmar, Minn., which has a growing number of students from Somalia.
The challenge of learning English can have many dimensions for the thousands of Minnesota students identified as English language learners. For some, it is a matter of survival in a new country. For all, it takes resolve, resilience and time.
Nearly 65,000 English learner students are enrolled in Minnesota schools, representing more than 200 languages. That number has grown rapidly in the past two decades, soaring by 50,000, a 300 percent increase in English learners.