Twenty-six teachers in the St. Thomas-St. John District successfully completed the annual Bilingual Education to Speakers of Other Languages professional development training this summer at the Edith Williams Alternative Academy, Lockhart Elementary School and the Office of the Insular Superintendent.
Spearheaded by District Coordinator of English for Speakers of Other Languages Dr. Migdalia Cruz-Arthurton, the four-week training is offered to regular and special education professionals, paraprofessionals and administrators.
The training provides an understanding of local and federal laws on English language acquisition, develops cultural awareness and develops a bridge between the home, the community and the school. It also provides an understanding of the language acquisition and learning process for English language learners and an understanding of characteristics of the language and the learning process for English language learners.
“The participants involved in this training were an enthusiastic group that wanted to learn how to better serve the English learners in their classroom,” Cruz-Arthurton said. “When I completed the training sessions, I felt happy because I had provided them with the skills, knowledge and strategies they needed. When the English learners return in September, their teachers will be better prepared to instruct them in meeting their academic content area needs and supporting, at the same time, their acquisition of the second language — English.”
Volunteer National Guard members were enlisted by the V.I. Education Department to help complete critical summer maintenance projects at four schools in the St. Thomas-St. John District in July.
Approximately 40 National Guard members completed plumbing, electrical and carpentry work at Charlotte Amalie High School, replacing walls that were previously removed to facilitate asbestos abatement. At Yvonne Milliner Bowsky Elementary School, they constructed walls for an employee restroom and completed plumbing work at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School and Ulla F. Muller Elementary School.
The agreement was a win-win for both organizations, ensuring some of the Education Department’s summer maintenance projects are completed for the Sept. 3 opening of the 2019-2020 year, while providing the volunteers with valuable training opportunities.
On St. Croix, the Bureau of Corrections assisted Education with transporting and offloading various building materials at Pearl B. Larsen Elementary School (now Pearl B. Larsen K-8) donated by Home Depot, amounting to a $900 donation, which will be used to complete work at the newly reconfigured K-8 school.