The population of bilingual and English as a second language learners has grown just over 3% over the past three years in Georgetown ISD.

District officials said this is due to changing requirements for students to exit the program in years past, which an upcoming update to exit criteria will remediate.

What's happening?

Janet Jackson, GISD's director of state and federal programs, said at an Oct. 2 workshop that the district's population of students receiving bilingual and ESL services has grown from 14.45% in the 2020-21 school year to 17.51% because the Texas Education Agency had previously raised the standard for students to be reclassified in 2019.

However, in the 2023-24 school year, students who score a high overall rating on the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System will be able to exit the program. Previously, they were required to score higher in all four areas of the assessment: listening, reading, speaking and writing.

In the 2022-23 school year, 173 students who were retained in the program would have met exit criteria under the standards being implemented in the 2023-24 school year, Jackson said.

What they're saying

“The state has made the reclassification, or what you might call exit criteria, extremely high for a student to exit,” Jackson said. “So whereas looking at years past, we may have had more students enter the program and then reach a level of proficiency where they can exit, it has not been the case for the past three years.”