esl students writing book

Nearly thirty students who are enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) writing classes at New Highland Elementary School are publishing an anthology of poems adapted from Kentucky educator George Ella Lyon’s “Where I Am From” project that promotes a positive understanding of diversity.

These 28 ESL students have been working on the writing and illustrating process the last couple of months.  The published book will be available at both the Elizabethtown and Radcliff branches of the Hardin County Public Library and the New Highland Elementary media center at the end of May.

The students and/or their families immigrated to the United States from eight different countries.  The writing in the book highlights the art, music, food, dress and cultural experiences from those countries. 

“I believe that our unique cultural diversity enhances each students’ school experience,” New Highland Elementary Principal Chalis Packer said.  “There is a richness that comes from students and staff working side by side with others who are different from one another.  Our differences are our strengths.  I am honored to be on this educational journey with these great scholars.”

“The library is eager to receive this work and we will have a copy at both of our library locations,” Hardin County Public Library Director Renee Hutcheson said.  “The poetry of George Ella Lyon is held in high regard and we can’t wait to see how the students have depicted their families’ stories.”

CLICK HERE for more information on the writings of George Ella Lyon.

“We wanted our ESL students to experience the real world writing, editing and publishing process,” Hardin County Schools ESL Team Lead Dawn Kennedy said.  “We also wanted to encourage written expression that highlights the beauty of their cultural diversity.  I am thankful I have an opportunity to teach these students.  They inspire me.  Some of them have overcome unimaginable obstacles.”   

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are more than five million ESL students in US public schools and more than 22,000 live in Kentucky.   There are approximately 300 ESL students in Hardin County Schools. 

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