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JPS ENL Students Are Honored

JPS student, Iansel Santiago Guevara, surprises his mime partner, Dr. Nestor Bravo Goldsmith, assistant professor and coordinator of the B.A. in Theatre Arts program at SUNY Fredonia.

Before schools closed for the year, Jamestown Public Schools’ English as a New Language teachers partnered with Chautauqua Striders and Jamestown Community College for a special celebration honoring the work students and their parents have undertaken to achieve a rating of “commanding.”

The event was held at Jamestown Community College. Students and families could take part in a photo booth provided by Kirk Frink, a Jamestown High School photography teacher. Students were able to choose fun story and chapter books to take home. Elementary-aged students created homemade placemats for the tables. Additionally, students and their families enjoyed a family-style meal.

“It was my pleasure to help plan an evening to celebrate our students’ accomplishments and to include all of the families of language learners in the district,” said Faith Graham, Jamestown High School English as a New Language teacher. “It is important for people to understand that these students are expected to meet the same learning standards as their English-speaking classmates, and to do so while also making progress in a new language. I learn something from my students every day, and I am inspired by their perseverance and determination.”

Jamestown Public School District serves nearly 200 English language learners in kindergarten through 12th grades. Students identified as ELLs receive extra guidance to help them navigate the “system” and support to help them with their education while learning English. To determine student progress in reading, writing, listening and speaking English, ELLs take an annual state English as a Second Language Assessment Test (NYSESLAT) where students earn a rating of Entering-Emerging-Transitioning-Expanding- Commanding. The rating level determines the amount of supports each child will need in the following school year. It is a happy day for the students and their families when students test at the Commanding Level, meaning that they have demonstrated proficiency in English.

Dr. Nestor Bravo Goldsmith, assistant professor and coordinator of the bachelor’s degree program in theatre arts program at the State University at Fredonia, provided entertainment in the way of interactive mime. Families enjoyed his antics as he silently “told” humorous stories using children and adults from the audience. As a native Spanish speaker who grew up in Colombia, Goldsmith shared his story in Spanish, telling the students about the limitless possibilities they have as bilingual children to learn and study hard so that they can follow their dreams and goals to be whatever they want to become in life.

Family photo of Yareth Rodriguez Morales and his mother and grandmother.

The evening culminated with honoring the 25 students who achieved a Commanding level on the 2019 NYSESLAT exam. Students honored were:

¯ Kindergarten: Victoria Colon Lopez

¯ First Grade: Yareth Rodriguez Morales, Johanylis Davila Ortiz, Sebastian Lebron Cruz and Anaia Melendez Cintron

¯ Third Grade: Johenny Acevedo, Jeanxiel Montalvo Castoire and Analyah Nieves

¯ Sixth Grade: Antonia Cruz-Vazquez and Luis Martinez-Reyes

¯ Seventh Grade: Alanis Rosario Negron and Elisbeth Munos Rodriguez

¯ Eighth Grade: Yarelis Velazquez and Mariangelys DeJesus Sepulveda

Ninth Grade: Genesis Rodriguez, Yahir McFaline-Melendez and Alexandra Munos-Rodriguez

¯ 10th Grade: Jose Rojas-Nieves, Wilson Torres, Marlenys Velazquez and Nemesis Vellon Del Moral

¯ 11th Grade: Gabriella Rosario Negro and Janice Rosario

¯ 12th Grade: John Rosario Negron and Soldely Gonzalez.

Contributors included: the Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Elmo’s Restaurant, Jamestown Community College, Jamestown Rebels, King House Restaurant, Kirk Frink, Dr. Nestor Bravo Goldsmith, Northwest Savings Bank, Olive Garden, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, Sandee’s Bakery, Chautauqua Striders, Striders, 7-Eleven, Jamestown’s ENL teachers and bilingual paraprofessionals.

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