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Abigail Mattson

123 Claire Avenue


Tyrone, GA 30290
(770) 489-1025

November 20, 2017

Dr. Joseph C. Barrow Jr., Ed.D.


210 Stonewall Avenue West
Fayetteville, GA 30214
(770) 460-3535

Dear Dr. Barrow:

My name is Abigail Mattson, and I an education student at Arizona State University Online. I
live in Fayette County, and am interested in pursuing a career in our school district when I
graduate in May 2018. I have long been interested in English Language Learners (ELLs), and in
the academic success of students for whom English is not their first language. Through a project
that I completed for Arizona State University, it has come to my attention that some ELLs in our
school district do not have the opportunity to take effective assessments to measure their
academic progress. As a result, these students are not able to reach their full potential and are
denied the complete academic teaching and support they need to succeed.

According to Data USA, 11.8% of Fayette County, GA citizens are speakers of a non-English
language (datausa.io). Dr. Barrow, this is a significant percentage of our population, and we
need to make sure that all students have the tools they need to succeed in our school district.

The ELL students in our school district do not have a curriculum that teachers can use to help
them learn English. Each teacher must personally screen students during the first two weeks of
school. Teachers place these students in classes based on their academic need and on space
available. Unfortunately, not all students receive the help they need. I interviewed a teacher
from North Fayette Elementary School who had an English intervention class for 40 minutes per
day with ten kindergarteners at a time. Of those ten kindergarteners, eight spoke Spanish, one
spoke Haitian-Creole, one spoke an Indian language, and one had just arrived in the United
States from Pakistan. There was not possible way for this reading intervention teacher to address
the needs of each individual child every day, or even every week.

Dr. Barrow, the English as a Second Language program in our school district needs immediate
attention and support. The department needs more funding, access to appropriate assessment and
screening methods, and increased teacher hours. Our school district has a high number of
students who need to learn English in order to succeed academically. This will increase their
capacity to positively contribute to society as they grow older, and it will also help them
transition to their new surroundings. Increased English instruction can promote positive social
relationships not just for children, but also for adults. The teacher I interviewed told me that she
was able to translate a parent-teacher conference for a child whose parents only spoke Spanish.
The teacher left the conference amazed at how supportive and engaged the childs parents
wanted to be, and more open-minded toward people from different backgrounds and lifestylers.

Dr. Barrow, please consider allocating funds and time to the English as a Second Language
department in Fayette County. It will support many adults and children in our neighborhood
schools.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best,

Abigail Mattson
(720) 589-1045