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Old 07-24-2012, 09:55 PM
 
Location: NOVA
176 posts, read 213,652 times
Reputation: 294

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Hi, we are moving from the Mid West in early August. We signed a lease in a home in Fairfax county.

We need to enroll our kids to school, so after checking the school boundary website, I called the school indicated for the address. My son enters 7th grade, so it was a middle school.

The lady, who was in charge of enrolling students at the school, asked, "Does he able to speak any language other than English?" The answer was "yes, he can speak OOOO (an Asian language--I don't want to reveal it here, but I will only say this is spoken by a sizable percentage of population in Fairfax county) just a little bit, but not fluently." Then she said "hmm...., then we can't register him in our school. You need to go to the central student registration......after evaluating the records, they may refer back to us, but you need to go there first."

That struck me a little bit, because just because he can speak OOOO just a little bit, we have to go through some sort of special procedure to get school placement??? That doesn't sound right.

He is totally American and English is his primary language. He was born in the US and has received education in the areas where non-English speakers are rare. His English is normal (probably better than "normal" because he is always top academically speaking). Period. Don't ask me anything else.

We have moved a few times, previously when we tried to enroll him for schools, similar questions were asked like "What languages do you guys speak at home?" but I knew that it was to see if they needed to provide assistance if the student's English skills are marginal. Previously when we answered "yes he speaks OOO a little bit" the response has always been "Good for him, he is bilingual. Please make an effort to keep his OOO skills. We encourage parents to speak OOO at home."

Now, it seems that the same answer here puts him on some sort of special watch?

I didn't argue any more, but I was fairly offended.

Please, anyone tell me that there's something I misunderstood.

I am considering writing a letter to the school principal and the district superintendent.
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:53 PM
 
2,732 posts, read 1,221,398 times
Reputation: 1189
Fairfax County Public Schools: Special Services: Student Registration
Maybe they misunderstood and thought that English was not the main language spoken at home. If that were the case you would go through registration as indicated on that page. Maybe call again.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:44 AM
 
1,230 posts, read 4,226,330 times
Reputation: 488
I just went through this experience in registering my child. There is a form asking for languages spoken at home. My first language is Spanish, but I'm fluent in English. I had to cross out that I spoke Spanish if I didn't want to go Central Student Registration because they are required to refer anyone who speaks more than one language at home. My kids were born and raised in the mainland and my husband only speaks English so English is the primary language in our household. If you look at the FCPS registration forms, you'll notice the form I'm referring to. If you want to enroll him in the school and he doesn't have a language barrier, don't list any other language spoken by anyone in your household.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:51 AM
 
1,175 posts, read 1,112,458 times
Reputation: 882
I know what she is asking but I feel it was not asked as it should be. The question really isn't does he speak any other language, but is there another language spoken in the home. If the answer to that is yes, even if it is a grandfather or a nanny who has raised the child, then the child has been exposed to another language and they are supposed to go through the Central Registration process. The key will be what you fill out on the home language survey, http://www.fcps.edu/it/forms/se82.pdf. If that forms has any language listed than English then you go through Central Registration.

I know it doesn't make sense for a situation like yours where the child was born here and barely speaks another language, but it is done across the board so a potential language issue is not missed. If you feel you will be listing another language on the form, then just go ahead and go to Central. They will do a quick review of language and complete all your other forms and send them on to the school, or give them to you to take. The school office staffs are thin in the summer so the secretary is doing what she has been told to do for all. The problem comes when a family walks in and does not say there is another language, then the child gets registered at the base school and it comes out there is an ELL issue that now has to be backtracked and noted so services, if needed, are available. Hope that all makes sense.
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Fairfax County
1,527 posts, read 2,027,182 times
Reputation: 482
Quote:
Originally Posted by choff5 View Post
I know what she is asking but I feel it was not asked as it should be. The question really isn't does he speak any other language, but is there another language spoken in the home. If the answer to that is yes, even if it is a grandfather or a nanny who has raised the child, then the child has been exposed to another language and they are supposed to go through the Central Registration process. The key will be what you fill out on the home language survey, http://www.fcps.edu/it/forms/se82.pdf. If that forms has any language listed than English then you go through Central Registration.

I know it doesn't make sense for a situation like yours where the child was born here and barely speaks another language, but it is done across the board so a potential language issue is not missed. If you feel you will be listing another language on the form, then just go ahead and go to Central. They will do a quick review of language and complete all your other forms and send them on to the school, or give them to you to take. The school office staffs are thin in the summer so the secretary is doing what she has been told to do for all. The problem comes when a family walks in and does not say there is another language, then the child gets registered at the base school and it comes out there is an ELL issue that now has to be backtracked and noted so services, if needed, are available. Hope that all makes sense.

Great post! (It will not let me rep you. )
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:27 AM
 
4,536 posts, read 5,206,979 times
Reputation: 2092
Quote:
Originally Posted by choff5 View Post
I know what she is asking but I feel it was not asked as it should be. The question really isn't does he speak any other language, but is there another language spoken in the home. If the answer to that is yes, even if it is a grandfather or a nanny who has raised the child, then the child has been exposed to another language and they are supposed to go through the Central Registration process. The key will be what you fill out on the home language survey, http://www.fcps.edu/it/forms/se82.pdf. If that forms has any language listed than English then you go through Central Registration.

I know it doesn't make sense for a situation like yours where the child was born here and barely speaks another language, but it is done across the board so a potential language issue is not missed. If you feel you will be listing another language on the form, then just go ahead and go to Central. They will do a quick review of language and complete all your other forms and send them on to the school, or give them to you to take. The school office staffs are thin in the summer so the secretary is doing what she has been told to do for all. The problem comes when a family walks in and does not say there is another language, then the child gets registered at the base school and it comes out there is an ELL issue that now has to be backtracked and noted so services, if needed, are available. Hope that all makes sense.
Agree. There are many primary and secondary languages spoken by FCPS students. Few systems make as much of an effort as FCPS to communicate with parents in so many different languages. Whether the summer staff is communicating the intent clearly, or always executing the policy sensibly, the goal is to ensure the right resources are available to new students.

I wouldn't treat writing a letter to the principal or the District Superintendent as a priority right now. I'd just get my kid registered at the local school, and then assess whether you want to follow up with a letter that suggests that parents ought to be allowed to opt out of this screening process when a child's primary language is clearly English.
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Virginia
5,316 posts, read 6,861,832 times
Reputation: 1886
If you put anything other than English on the Home Language Survey, the district has to complete a Dual Language assessment. That's probably what they are getting to. I think it goes back to NCLB requirements. I teach at a language immersion school and have had numerous parents put down that the immersion language is spoken at home (even when the child barely knows it and often the parents don't know it well either) because they think it will help to get the child placed in the immersion program. Sometimes then they are a bit miffed when, every year, their child has to be reassessed by the ESOL teacher.
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:59 PM
 
1,175 posts, read 1,112,458 times
Reputation: 882
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
If you put anything other than English on the Home Language Survey, the district has to complete a Dual Language assessment. That's probably what they are getting to. I think it goes back to NCLB requirements. I teach at a language immersion school and have had numerous parents put down that the immersion language is spoken at home (even when the child barely knows it and often the parents don't know it well either) because they think it will help to get the child placed in the immersion program. Sometimes then they are a bit miffed when, every year, their child has to be reassessed by the ESOL teacher.
Not quite right. A Dual Language Assessment is a specific assessment used prior to a child being considered for special education assessment. Its primary purpose is to determine which language a child should be tested in. It is also a pain to get the referral in as you now have to show cause and what has already been tried. There is a language assessment that is done following the notice of a second language on the Home Language survey and I believe it is called the WAP-T or something like that. I am not an ESL teacher, nor work in their office so may be wrong on the specific assessment name, but do know it is not the same as when we request a Dual Language Assessment. That is probably as clear as mud and more information than ever needed!
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Virginia
5,316 posts, read 6,861,832 times
Reputation: 1886
Quote:
Originally Posted by choff5 View Post
Not quite right. A Dual Language Assessment is a specific assessment used prior to a child being considered for special education assessment. Its primary purpose is to determine which language a child should be tested in. It is also a pain to get the referral in as you now have to show cause and what has already been tried. There is a language assessment that is done following the notice of a second language on the Home Language survey and I believe it is called the WAP-T or something like that. I am not an ESL teacher, nor work in their office so may be wrong on the specific assessment name, but do know it is not the same as when we request a Dual Language Assessment. That is probably as clear as mud and more information than ever needed!
That could be. I was thinking Dual language. Every spring though I have students are are only assessed by ESOL because, when they enrolled they marked another language spoken in the home. Maybe it's the WIDA?
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Old 07-25-2012, 03:03 PM
 
2,594 posts, read 2,434,012 times
Reputation: 3812
Quote:
Originally Posted by sequon View Post
Hi, we are moving from the Mid West in early August. We signed a lease in a home in Fairfax county.

We need to enroll our kids to school, so after checking the school boundary website, I called the school indicated for the address. My son enters 7th grade, so it was a middle school.

The lady, who was in charge of enrolling students at the school, asked, "Does he able to speak any language other than English?" The answer was "yes, he can speak OOOO (an Asian language--I don't want to reveal it here, but I will only say this is spoken by a sizable percentage of population in Fairfax county) just a little bit, but not fluently." Then she said "hmm...., then we can't register him in our school. You need to go to the central student registration......after evaluating the records, they may refer back to us, but you need to go there first."

That struck me a little bit, because just because he can speak OOOO just a little bit, we have to go through some sort of special procedure to get school placement??? That doesn't sound right.

He is totally American and English is his primary language. He was born in the US and has received education in the areas where non-English speakers are rare. His English is normal (probably better than "normal" because he is always top academically speaking). Period. Don't ask me anything else.

We have moved a few times, previously when we tried to enroll him for schools, similar questions were asked like "What languages do you guys speak at home?" but I knew that it was to see if they needed to provide assistance if the student's English skills are marginal. Previously when we answered "yes he speaks OOO a little bit" the response has always been "Good for him, he is bilingual. Please make an effort to keep his OOO skills. We encourage parents to speak OOO at home."

Now, it seems that the same answer here puts him on some sort of special watch?

I didn't argue any more, but I was fairly offended.

Please, anyone tell me that there's something I misunderstood.

I am considering writing a letter to the school principal and the district superintendent.
It's a bureaucratic thing, don't take it personally. If there is any language other than English at home (regardless of whether it is spoken by you or your child or someone else in the home), the kids automatically get screened at central registration, where they test their language skills. Your child would most likely be immediately classified as not requiring extra help and be given a code for the computer that shows he was tested and not found lacking in English. It cannot in any way hurt your child, since no matter what classification he is given you can always refuse services (not that any services are likely to be offered - it's just their way of making sure no one slips through the cracks).

You do have a choice - you can simply go to the school and fill out the forms and don't put any language on the form other than English, even if it isn't really true. There is no penalty for "falsifying" that particular information and plenty of parents do it because they don't want to be bothered with central registration or anything else. However, it really won't hurt your child at all to just register at central registration, and is probably easier to just get it out of the way. It's nothing to worry about - as I said, there is no label that will harm your child and even if he does qualify for services (yes, unlikely, I know), you can always refuse them.

It's unfortunate that most personnel are so ill-informed about the nature and purpose of this registration process that they often leave parents feeling frustrated and insulted. The intention is make sure no one is missed who really needs help - and I can tell you that many other school districts do miss those kids, and the kids suffer for it. The intention is not to track or classify kids who are tops academically but happen to know a tiny bit of another language (my kid will be one of those, and I can tell you now that I'll probably just not mention the language on his registration form, but even if I did and they made us do the central registration thing I wouldn't really care except that it would mean having to drive to central registration).

(Oh, and I know all this because I worked in Ffx county)
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