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Funding recently approved by the Hamilton County Board of Education will provide resources for students learning English as a second language.

The more than $16,000 approved unanimously on Sept. 17 is from the U.S. Department of Education's Title III, Part A program — aimed to improve the education of English language learners by helping them meet state academic standards.

According to a summary breakdown from the school district, the majority of the money — more than $13,000 — will go toward instructional supplies.

The supplies, district officials said, are software programs like ELLevation, Rosetta Stone Classroom, and Flocabulary. The remainder of the funding will go toward teacher salaries and benefits.

Boston-based ELLevation is a distance learning tool that serves 450,000 English Language Learners across 260 school districts in 30 states. Flocabulary, founded in Brooklyn, is known for its online educational hip hop songs and videos. Virginia-based Rosetta Stone gives students access to tutors online to help them with their language courses.

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Summary breakdown of the Title III funding

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Locally, there are 3,700 ESL students enrolled districtwide this school year, a slight decrease from last year's enrollment of 3,771 students. These students are spread out among 32 ESL sites — 17 elementary schools, 9 middle schools and 6 high schools.

The district is slated to have 108 certified ESL specialists this school year.

Tim Hensley, the district's communications director, said the figure includes ESL specialists at district charter schools. There are two ESL teacher vacancies, a full-time position at Ooltewah High School and a part-time position at Orchard Knob Elementary.

Contact Monique Brand at mbrand@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

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Courtesy of Hamilton County Schools / East Side Elementary fifth-grader Diego Simon Geronimo learns with his Chromebook.
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