Second Language Takes First Priority

For more than 30 years AHS has dedicated an entire department to the advancement and integration of students who emigrate from foreign countries to the United States.
The English as a Second Language (ESL) Program not only teaches students English, it helps assimilate them to life in a new environment.
This program is headed by French teacher Marina Desta who has been a part of this course for 26 years.
Budget cuts to education have had adverse effects, including increased class size. Desta is confident that the program will continue to be a great resource, especially since a sizeable amount of students at AHS come from overseas and abroad.
Fortunately, budgetary issues have not significantly afflicted any portion of ESL.
“Despite the budget cuts the district has tried to be very supportive of ESL,” said Desta.
Although smaller class size is ideal, to allow for more one-on-one interaction, this is helped by the fact that there are three other ESL teachers: Karen Jacobson, Jeff Woo and Esther Kalbfleish. They all teach multiple periods of ESL in addition to other classes.
This program is structured similar to a foreign language class except it also incorporates a kind of ‘life in America’ aspect.
Typically, the first two years is spent on the basics of the alphabet, colors, numbers and vocabulary, which is taught through various methods.
“ESL is good. All the teachers are very nice. There’s a lot of new vocabulary and [Desta] will tell us what it means and show us a picture,” said sophomore April Ban.
During the last two years students begin to focus more on readings, grammar and complex speech.

Victoria Gavia, Copy Editor