By Neal Hitch
7:27 PM PDT, August 9, 2012
The Imperial County Office of Education (ICOE) works closely with the Valley's independent school districts to ensure that the educational needs of the children in the county are a community priority. Part of this mission is to meet the educational needs of the large number of students in the county who are learning English as a second language.
For Keila Rodriguez, coordinating the resources to see that English learners are successfully integrated into the schools of the Imperial Valley is more than a job — it is her passion and her mission. “In the global playing field, the Imperial Valley is going to get English learners in all kinds of languages,” she says. “It is the responsibility of the ICOE to provide support to districts, schools, administrators and teachers and to collaboratively work together to service all students coming into our schools.”
Rodriguez emphasizes, “Our main vision, as an advocate for English learners, is to motivate teachers with the positive aspects of what is happening at the county and state level.”
For kids to be successful, they need to see the relevance in what they are asked to do in school. Rodriguez accomplishes this through stories — often her own stories.
“I am an English learner myself,” she confesses. “I came to the United States from Mexicali as a 15-year-old. It was tough.” Rodriguez lived in an area in San Diego where the school would not enroll her because she did not speak any English. “I went to another high school where they put me in the trailers in the back of the school,” Rodriguez says. “My goal was to get out of the trailers. It just didn’t feel like high school.”
Read more about Keila Rodriguez n the July/August 2012 edition of Valley Women Magazine in print or our online E-Edition.
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