By Maureen Robertson
In a new tradition at Ramona Elementary School, recently designated Fluent English students took center stage for a ceremony in the school library Friday morning.
The students came to Ramona Elementary as English language learners and are now proficient in English.
“This is a really big accomplishment,” said teacher Debbie Long, the school’s co-bilingual coordinator with teacher Aida Martinez.
The school considers a variety of factors before redesignating students from English language learners to fluent English. Among them are scores on state tests, school assessments and progress in the classroom, said Long.
“We’re all people who have learned a second language,” Principal Daniel Paquette told the students and the members of their families at the ceremony, noting that he, Long and Martinez are bilingual and know how difficult it is to learn a second language.
Martinez, speaking in Spanish, reviewed the students’ achievements and how they went from being English language learners to being fluent in English.
“Reaching the milestone or being designated as a fully English proficient student is quite an accomplishment and takes dedication and hard work,” said Long.
As parents and siblings watched, Long presented each student with a certificate congratulating them for their achievement.
Seven of the 11 third- through sixth-graders earning certificates participated in the before-school ceremony. A brief social time with doughnuts and orange juice followed the event.