Introduction and Data
Secondary schools in Colorado strive to raise graduation rates, reduce dropout rates, and provide a rigorous curriculum that prepares students to be college and career ready. In order to reach these critical goals and include English Learners, it is often tempting to immediately jump to structural changes. Although schools must change the way they offer courses and schedule English Learners, Salazar (2009) suggests there is a more critical component that must come first: “the relentless belief in the potential of culturally and linguistically diverse youth” to achieve academically.
There are no simple solutions or one-size fits all formulas for fostering success for secondary English Learners. Every school must consider the particular needs of its own community. Even if a given English Learner population appears on the surface to be relatively homogenous, assessment will reveal that those students have all sorts of differing educational backgrounds and unique needs.
Graduations rates vary widely from state to state. To see how Colorado matches up, click here.