Wallace Hired as Director of Equity and ELL

By Rachael Kossy

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Corrie Wallace_0.img_assist_custom-150x222In order to provide equal education to district 219 students of all racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds, the board of education has created a new position titled “the director of equity and ELL,” to be held by Corrie Wallace beginning on July 15, 2013.

The new position is a change in director structure; previously, Ed Murphy was the director of foreign language and ELL, as well as the head of d219 summer school. In the coming year, his responsibilities in the ELL department will be handed over to Wallace. As director of equity and ELL, Wallace will plan initiatives to ensure d219 reaches its goal to give all students a quality education. She will also head the ELL staff and programs.

District 219 community relations director Jim Szczepaniak said the new director structure will not change foreign language or ELL classes specifically, it is meant to benefit students by expanding their choices in summer school courses and by stressing equity in school, he said.

“We want to make our whole school community more aware of the importance of equity — teachers, support staff, students and administrators. And we want to help each other identify and act on ways to make our schools more equitable, which will help all of our students,” Szczepaniak said.

ELL teacher’s assistant Tatyana Gulak is skeptical as to whether or not the new position is necessary.

“I think our children have fair opportunities, but a fair percentage of students don’t take advantage of the opportunities,” Gulak said.

Some ELL students agree that they don’t see a reason to make any changes.

“We have tutors, we have everything. Teachers are good. They explain. They help us,” senior and former ELL student Kathy Polus said.

Senior Ashley We said she is willing to see what changes are made, although she cannot point out anything specifically that needs fixing.

“We can wait and watch what will happen in the future, but for now, I don’t feel it’s necessary,” We said.

Although teachers and students are having trouble seeing the need for the new director structure, Wallace is ready to assess anything standing in the way of student success– in terms of ethnic and racial background, and also through the ELL department.

“Looking at things through a racial lens is very important to do so we can make sure everyone has access. And to see if there is infrastructure that is preventing students from achieving. Another piece [of my position] is overseeing the ELL program and making sure students are getting what they need to be successful in school,”  Wallace said.