Prince George’s Co. Schools to Host Virtual Foreign Language Classes

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The Prince George’s County public school system will aim to develop virtual classrooms specifically designed to teach immigrant students in their native language.

The public school system in Prince George’s County, Maryland, will aim to develop virtual classrooms specifically designed to teach immigrant students in their native language.

In accordance with recommendations approved by the county school board on Thursday, public schools in Prince George’s County will attempt to implement virtual classrooms by 2025 that focus on core required classes, including math and science.

They will be taught at all levels “in at least the five main mother tongues” spoken by English language learners.

By 2030, “every student should have the opportunity to learn virtually in their mother tongue for core compulsory courses,” according to the recommendations.

“It’s for the students,” said board member Belinda Queen. “It’s what we do every day – we serve for the betterment of our students.”

A task force created by the school board last year developed the plan, with the goal of closing the achievement gap for immigrant students.

“I feel like this is the first time something like this has been done holistically for our immigrant students,” said board member Raaheela Ahmed.

The recommendations call for 20% of teachers to be certified to instruct English language learners by 2023.

Each school will need to develop plans for these students, giving teachers and staff members who work with them information including their native language and the number of years they have been in the United States.

“This could help schools and instructors create a student profile to give the student the support they need,” the task force said.

The school system aims to make “ethnic and cultural studies” a graduation requirement by 2025 as well, according to the recommendations.

“What this shows is that this process works and can work continuously for students who may not always see themselves at the forefront of people’s thoughts and minds,” Ahmed said.

The recommendations call on the school system to revitalize the H1-B visa program for immigrant teachers by 2026 and hire 1,000 employees by 2030. The H-1B visa program allows businesses and other employers to employ temporary foreign workers.

“PGCPS should prioritize the recruitment of these teachers from countries with the highest representation in Prince George’s County schools,” the task force said.

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