The Justice Department announced today that it has entered into a settlement agreement with the Ganado Unified School District in Ganado, Ariz., to ensure that its English Language Learner (ELL) students have equal opportunities to participate in its educational programs, as mandated by federal law. The agreement stems from the department’s compliance review of the district’s ELL program under the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974. The district, which is located on the Navajo Indian Reservation, cooperated throughout the review and is committed to improving its services for its Navajo ELL students and parents.
The settlement agreement requires the district to implement wide-ranging measures, beginning with the proper identification of ELL students when they enroll in the system and language-accessible communication with their parents about ELL program offerings and other essential information. The agreement further requires the district to: improve language acquisition instruction to ELL students; conduct significant training for staff and teachers of ELL students; provide adequate materials to support their acquisition of English and academic content; monitor students who opt out of ELL services and, after they exit such services, ensure they are participating equally; and evaluate the effectiveness of the ELL program.
“We applaud the Ganado Unified School District for undertaking this significant step toward ensuring the success of every student in the district,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the district as it implements this comprehensive plan to serve effectively its Navajo students who are not yet proficient in English.”
The enforcement of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act is a top priority of the Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on the division website.