Demographics cannot give us a complete picture.
The ELLs are predominantly Mexican American, but their experiences are diverse.
There simply is no blanket definition for them - but we can explore the goals they share...
and the resources they have to achieve those goals.
The ELLs of Lamar Elementary are Pre-Kindergarten to sixth grade students.
The ELLs in bilingual education and English Language Learning programs make up 14.9% of the school population.
The majority of the students in school are Hispanic - 221 students, or 30.6% of the students.
15.6% of the school population are limited English proficiency students.
Source - The Texas Tribune
A student has many forms of transportation. They can simply walk to school, take a school bus, take a VIA bus, or rent a bicycle.
School begins at 8:00 in the morning, so they don't have a lot of time to get ready. School ends at 3:15 PM, but there are after school programs that allow students to stay until 6:00 PM. Students get 2-3 recesses a day.
Of course, the kids aren't always on campus. Often times, they're out and about on field trips to nearby attractions - the school takes care of transportation for them, too.
Many ELLs live very close to school , either in apartment homes or in their own houses. At home, many students help out with washing clothes and cooking.
As I walked through the neighborhood, I noticed many of the kids played outside with friends - usually a friendly game of soccer, all in Spanish, of course.
Community is tight-knit - if a parent or student wants to talk to a teacher, it's easy for the teacher to simply walk or drive to their home.
The parents of ELLs are probably the most involved parents I have ever witnessed.
The parents at Lamar eat lunch with their children. They can bring treats for the class when their kid has a birthday. They can and do volunteer to help in classes as teacher assistants or as teachers themselves.
In return, the school offers web-based services so that parents can stay in contact with the school and form an online PTA.
They also offer workshops and classes designed to help parents improve their kid's dual language education from home.
Parents also work with their kids to renovate the community. They help their kids paint murals, tend the school garden, and keep the school alive.