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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Justice Department Reaches Settlement with the Carson City, Nevada, School District to Ensure Equal Opportunities for ELL Students

WASHINGTON – A settlement agreement with the Carson City School District in Nevada has been reached to ensure that all English Language Learner (ELL) students receive sufficient services as required by federal law, the Justice Department announced today.

With the district’s cooperation, the department conducted an extensive examination of the district’s ELL program, and conducted a site visit of each of the district’s schools to determine whether ELL students were receiving adequate services as required by the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.

Almost 20 percent of the district’s students have been identified as ELL students, and the Justice Department’s compliance review revealed that many of these students were not receiving any ELL services and others were receiving insufficient services. The four-year settlement agreement will ensure that they receive appropriate ELL services by qualified instructors. Under the agreement, all ELL students will receive English as a Second Language and sheltered content instruction by teachers who are adequately trained to provide this instruction, and those teachers will be assigned to classes to ensure that all ELL students receive sufficient services. The district will dedicate funding, resources and time through the end of the 2011-12 school year toward professional development to ensure that a sufficient number of teachers are trained to adequately serve its ELL population.

The district also has agreed to adopt policies to actively monitor the academic performance of current and former ELL students. With respect to special education ELL students, the district will modify its policies to ensure that they are properly assessed and served to address their unique needs. In addition, the district will conduct a comprehensive review of its ELL materials to ensure their adequacy, and it will provide translation and interpreter services to the parents of ELL students.

"Students who are not proficient in English are entitled to language acquisition services that ensure their equal and meaningful participation in educational programs," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "We applaud the Carson City School District’s decision to enter into this agreement. The Department of Justice will continue to work with the district to ensure that all of its English Language Learners are provided the services they need to overcome language barriers and fully participate in the district’s educational programs."

The enforcement of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt .

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