Allie Martin

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Video: Lee County Schools To Use New Language Teaching Tool

LEE COUNTY, MISS. (WCBI) – For one day, this computer lab at Plantersville Middle School became a classroom for teachers.

These Lee County educators are getting a crash course in a program called English In A Flash, a language development software program for English Language learners, or students whose primary language is not English.

The goal is to help students learn the foundations for the English language as quickly as possible.. The program teaches vocabulary while also teaching the sound system and grammatical structure.

“We have some students who speak fluent English and don’t have any problems at all but we also have some students who maybe one parent in the home struggles with English and another parent doesn’t speak English at all,” said Debbie Pickens, director of student services for the Lee County School District.

There are 64 students classified as English Language Learners in Lee County Schools. While a majority speak Spanish, there are other language groups represented, such as, Chinese, Japanese and Punjabi. One teacher familiar with English In A Flash says its individualized approach meets students right where they are.

“They progress at what they can do and it will go back and review, if you didn’t get this, so that’s the beauty of it, it’s not a cookie cutter type thing,” said Mooreville First Grade Teacher Sherry Vance.

English In A Flash works with all age levels, from grade schoolers to high school students. Teachers believe the program can foster academic success and reduce the dropout rate.

“If they get the foundation through fifth grade, it will get them maybe over that hump through middle school and high school where they will want to graduate, the confidence , they just need confidence a lot of times,” Vance said.

English In A Flash will be used in all 13 Lee County Schools.