Enrollment grows in Knox County Schools English learners’ program; help needed

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – More and more students in Knox County Schools are enrolling in classes to learn the English language.

Last school year, more than 3,000 students speaking 80 languages enrolled in the English Language Learners program. That figure has more than doubled in three years and will continue to grow as Tennessee is a refugee state and Knox County is a resettlement area. Knox County Schools’ total student population is 59,000.

For example, Central High School has a high number of ELL students. One hundred and two of Central’s 1,110 students last year were in the program. Eighteen refugee students are enrolling by the end of September with more expected in October. Most of them are from the Congo and speak Congolese or Swahili. Refugees from Iraq are also arriving.

United Way of Greater Knoxville says the languages with the highest demands are Spanish, Arabic, Kirundi, Swahili, Congolese and Chinese. Anyone who can help is asked to call the school in your neighborhood or check out the school system’s website.

More online: English Language Learners program

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