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ESL, SPED departments have new leaders

July 01, 2011
New English as a Second Language and Special Education directors will lead big changes at both departments.
Ewa Chomka-Campbell is the new director of the English as a Second Language Department (which includes language immersion), while Robert Ford will lead the Special Education Department.

Both started their new positions July 1.

Chomka-Campbell (first name pronounced "eh-va") is a longtime school and university administrator. She began her career as an ESL teacher in the United Kingdom in 1989. Most recently, she helped run two high schools in Lakewood, Colo., as an assistant principal, managing programs for at-risk students and improving the graduation rate.

Ford, the SPED director, taught in special education at Harriet Tubman Middle School (now the Harriet Tubman Leadership Academy for Young Women) from 2001 to 2004. He supervised special education at David Douglas High School until 2006, and has since been associate principal at Frontier Middle School in the Evergreen School District in Washington state.

Reforms underway in both departments

Chomka-Campbell will oversee a redesign, already in progress, of the ESL Department. The goal is to better help students learn English.

As part of the redesign, PPS is:
  • Increasing the number of bilingual and bicultural community agents in school to improve communication with families.
  • Opening a center at which ESL families can register for school, sign up for services and access social resources.
  • Aligning teaching with state standards and providing teachers more time to work together.
The Special Education Department is adding staff in schools — even as the department responds to $3.6 million in state and federal funding losses.

“We want to move toward a model that allows more kids – and their peers in general education – to learn successfully together,” says Chief Academic Officer Carla Randall, who will oversee Ford.

Most school-based Learning Resource Centers will gain staff.

In addition, the Special Education Department (formerly part of the Integrated Student Support Department, which has been reorganized) is adding school psychologists and speech language pathologists to self-contained classrooms. PPS has added self-contained classrooms as the number of students with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other diagnoses has increased.

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