Return to Normal View

DOE Homepage Students Educators Community Family Administrators and Staff

Florida Department of Education

DOE Home > Success Stories

Success Stories


  Success Stories  

Text Index Google Custom Search

More Success Stories >>

Superintendent Blocker to Address International Audience
on Educating Diverse Populations

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 same language.

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 or dialects.


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]

  1. Nov. 21 - Successful Educational Policies (Improvements in the quality and equity of education; challenges and political responses)
  2. Nov. 22 - Definition of Objectives (The British Model)
  3. Nov. 23 - Autonomy and Responsibilities of the process (The Swedish Experience)
  4. Nov. 24 - Teacher's Policies (The training of teachers in Finland)
  5. Nov 25 - Diversity Policies (Immigrants in the educational system; an international comparison)


    • Professor Petra Stanat, Professor at the Friedrich-Alexander de Erlangen University-Nuremberg, Germany
    • Analysis and Experience
    • Ronald Blocker, OCPS Superintendent, Orlando, Florida, USA
      • Topic: Educating Diverse Learners

      Miguel Limon, Executive Secretary of Public Education, Mexico
    • Maria Antonia Ozcariz, General Director of Territorial Cooperation and High Inspection, Ministry of Education and Science, Spain