Peoria School District 150 is looking in other parts of the state to fill 30 vacancies for English Language Learner and bilingual teachers
District 150 used to regularly travel to Spain to recruit bilingual teachers through a state program. In an effort to reduce costs, the district is looking first in Illinois.
Becky Lindholm is the ELL Director for District 150. Lindholm says she doesn’t think they need to look further than Chicago.
“They are closing schools and I’m sure we have people who are certified in bilingual education, we just need to find them,” Lindholm said.
Lindholm says if recent recruitment trips to Chicago and Springfield turn up empty-handed, the District may conduct interviews with Spanish applicants via Skype.
The search also includes filling Lindholm’s position -- she retired in 2014 but was rehired by the new school superintendent last summer. The ELL Director job isn’t posted yet.
About 700 ELL and bilingual students are enrolled in Peoria Public Schools, compared to around 50 in 2002.
And a growing number of those students are refugees from Central America and the Middle East, Lindholm said.
“We’ve had some middle school students arrive in the last few years, and even this year, who’ve never been to school and they could be twelve years old,” Lindholm said.
Lindholm says 21 different primary languages are represented in District 150’s ELL classrooms.