New Program at CCSD High Schools to Support EL Students in Transition to New Language

May 21, 2024

Beginning with the start of the 2024-25 school year, the Clarke County School District will provide intensive English language instruction for newcomer English Learners at its two traditional high schools through the new Center for Readiness in English and Career Education. 

Abbreviated as CRECE and pronounced as the Spanish word “CREH-SAY,” which translates to “it grows,” the center’s overarching mission is to provide transitional support and other opportunities for students, families, and community members new to Athens from outside of the United States to grow and flourish within CCSD and the local community. 

“This program is representative of one of our anchor priorities — Thriving Students — as outlined in our 2024-2029 Strategic Plan,” said Superintendent Dr. Robbie Hooker. “It also reinforces several of our district’s key beliefs – among them that we are responsible for collaboratively supporting student growth and development; that we are responsible for understanding the needs of our students and their families; and that students learn best in school cultures where they feel a sense of belonging, safety, and support.”

“As students transition from other countries to the United States, they face a multitude of challenges as they encounter new language demands, cultural and social practices, and living arrangements,” added Dr. David Forker, CCSD’s Coordinator of English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) Programs. “During these transitional periods, students need high-quality education focused on the acceleration of language acquisition, academic skills, and cultural adjustment while their families and communities need increased levels of engagement and support to establish solid foundations within their schools and communities.”

CRECE will offer half-day morning and afternoon core and elective courses for high school-aged newcomer English Learners (ELs) from both Cedar Shoals and Clarke Central high schools for a maximum of two semesters, with the goal of supporting these students linguistically, academically, culturally, and emotionally. 

“This approach will support students who are new to the U.S. with success at their home schools and help position them as empowered, responsible, and productive members of their communities,” said Dr. Forker. “CRECE is founded in asset-based thinking which honors the diverse languages, experiences, and cultures students bring into the classroom as integral parts of the school community and student success.”

The district has committed funding for two new teaching positions and one paraprofessional for the CRECE program at each high school for the 2024-25 academic year.