SAN GABRIEL, CA – Driven by a four-year effort to refine and develop the English Language Development (ELD) program, Gabrielino High School has boosted English learner graduation rates by removing barriers to classes that fulfill college requirements.

Through the targeted program, the ELD team was able to substantially reduce the percentage of non-graduate English learner students.

“We have core-content teachers represented and strong District support, which makes this a collaborative effort so that we can do what is in the best interest of our English learners,” said Diana Bustamante, Gabrielino High counselor and ELD team member.

The team consists of Bustamante, Gabrielino Assistant Principal Ruth Esseln, the District’s ELD teacher on special assignment, and eight other designated teachers.

The ELD team created a course model that addresses the obstacles English learners face in acquiring college requirement courses, known as A-G requirements. The team adjusted the ELD program to give students earlier access to college preparatory English courses.

Classes in biology, world history and Spanish were recently added to fulfill college requirement credit while also advancing English learning. New additions for summer school will include English language and U.S history courses that meet A-G requirements.

Gabrielino’s ELD team also implemented a new support class for students who are transitioning to integrated classes. For the 2017-18 school year, Gabrielino has enrolled 1,812 students, of whom 376 are English learners.

“The individuals on the team are extremely committed educators and experts in the field of ELD,” Esseln said. “We all work together to create a successful, supportive learning environment for our students.”

The team will continue monitoring results under the new program model to work toward its long-term goal of helping English learners graduate at the same rate as other Gabrielino students.

“Our District is committed to providing students with every possible opportunity to succeed, and through innovative, data-driven programs we can ensure academic excellence,” Superintendent Dr. John Pappalardo said. “Gabrielino High’s educators and staff are working hard to guarantee our English learner students receive a high-quality education that will prepare them for the rigors of college and career.”