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Superintendent Blocker to Address International Audience
on Educating Diverse
The Organization of Latin American States has invited Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Ronald
Blocker to speak about the successful methods used by Orange County to teach
diverse populations at the organization's "Monographic Week of Education"
in Madrid, Spain, November 21-25.
The conference focuses on the achievements of four countries Great
Britain, Sweden, Finland and Germany then draws on international experts
in specific fields of educational policy. Blocker, the only presenter from the
United States, will speak on Diversity Policies on Friday, November 25.
Orange County School Board Chairman Tim Shea said, "Orange County Public
Schools is receiving international recognition for its dramatic gains in student
achievement among Hispanic students. Ron Blocker's invitation to attend
and address the Madrid conference on the subject is indicative of the recognition
Orange County deserves. "
Evelyn Rivera, president of the Orange County Parent Leadership Council remarked,
"I understand that when the conference organizers were looking for a superintendent
in the United States to participate in the Monographic Week of Education, they
were amazed at the commitment Ron Blocker made and the success he realized with
his emphasis on parental involvement in multilingual education."
Superintendent Blocker is quick to credit the teachers for the rapid improvements
among Orange County students. "Our successes have been realized in the
course of teaching all children while placing special emphasis on teaching to
language diverse learners," he said.
Blocker also acknowledged that he is very proud to be the only U.S. speaker
asked to attend, and stated, "that he is most excited about the opportunity
to hear from a wide range of international experts on subjects that are very
relevant to the challenges we face right here in Orange County."
Blocker's invitation to speak in Madrid was due, in part, to the superior
results of Orange County's LEP instruction. The most recent FCAT Reading
scores were better than Broward, Dade, Palm Beach and Hillsborough counties
and the state average, among students with two or three years of English language
instruction. Forty-three percent of OCPS third graders scored at grade level
compared to the 34% state average. Forty-two percent of fourth graders in Orange
County were at Level 3 or better while the state average was 35%.
In FCAT Writing tests, Orange County's fourth-, eighth- and tenth-grade
LEPs improved their scores between 15% and 25% over the previous year. Furthermore,
participation among Hispanic students in high school Advanced Placement classes
increased 53% over the prior year.
Orange County Public Schools uses four research-based methods to teach Language
Enriched Pupils (LEPs). The methods are consistent with declarations from the
prestigious United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO) to establish long-term academic achievement gap-filling programs.
One method is bilingual instruction in which the student population includes
both native speakers of English and speakers of another language. In a second
bilingual education method the student population is just LEP who speak the
The third method is for students who speak different languages where a bilingual
method is not possible. These students participate in "sheltered"
instruction where science, math and social studies are taught in English in
the classroom but the students have identical native language textbooks to use
at home. The fourth model is English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) with
the required language arts class.
Orange County students come from 169 countries and speak 133 different languages
WHO: Organization of Latin American States (OEI), Madrid, Spain
WHAT: Twentieth Monographic Week of Education
WHEN: November 21-25, 2005
WHERE: Madrid, Spain
WHY: "Successful Education Policies: Analysis based on PISA reports"
[Five-day conference; Sessions I-IV are abbreviated below]
- Nov. 21 - Successful Educational Policies (Improvements in the quality and
equity of education; challenges and political responses)
- Nov. 22 - Definition of Objectives (The British Model)
- Nov. 23 - Autonomy and Responsibilities of the process (The Swedish Experience)
- Nov. 24 - Teacher's Policies (The training of teachers in Finland)
- Nov 25 - Diversity Policies (Immigrants in the educational system; an international
- Professor Petra Stanat, Professor at the Friedrich-Alexander de Erlangen
- Analysis and Experience
- Ronald Blocker, OCPS Superintendent, Orlando, Florida, USA
Miguel Limon, Executive Secretary of Public Education, Mexico
- Topic: Educating Diverse Learners
- Maria Antonia Ozcariz, General Director of Territorial Cooperation
and High Inspection, Ministry of Education and Science, Spain