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  English as a Second Language (ESL)  
It has become increasingly apparent that our nation is growing more diverse each year. Research indicates that it takes English Learners (ELs) between five to seven or even ten years to catch up to the academic English language proficiency of a native speaker. Students who enroll in Birmingham Public Schools at any grade level with limited or no English language skills find the support they need to succeed. Currently, students speaking over 40 different languages are serviced in our English as a Second Language (ESL) Program.

Please click on the following links for information about the district's ESL Program:
BPS Title III Program Overview (Revised 3/2015)
Annual Review of Title III Program (Revised 3/2015)
Why ESL Services for EL Students? (Revised 11/2014)
Guide for Parents of Incoming English Learners  (Revised 8/2012)

For more information about our ESL program, please email us at bpsesl@birmingham.k12.mi.us.

Parent Resources
Please give our department some feedback by completing our Fall 2014 ESL Parent Survey!

High School ESL Parent Resources
Introduction to High School ESL (September 2014)
What Does it Mean to be an English Learner? (October 2014)
Accessing School and Community Resources (January 2015)

You can also access archived materials from past years.

ESL Programs
Elementary School (Grades K-5)
At the elementary level, we have two magnet centers. Students at the basic or at the low-intermediate level can attend West Maple Elementary ESL Magnet Center or Pierce Elementary ESL Magnet Center depending on where they live. At the centers, students receive daily intensive English instruction, five days per week, and then they spend the rest of the day in mainstream classrooms. Students may choose to return to their neighborhood school when exited from the ESL Magnet Center program. Students with high-intermediate English proficiency or above may receive coordinated support services based on recommendations from progress monitoring.

Please click on the following links for more information about the elementary ESL program:
West Maple Elementary ESL Magnet Center
Pierce Elementary ESL Magnet Center
Elementary ESL Centers Blog


Middle School (Grades 6-8)
At the middle school level, the magnet center is located at Berkshire Middle School. The ESL magnet program offers three levels of instruction plus a tutorial class. Students are enrolled in classes according to their proficiency levels. Students with high-intermediate English proficiency or above may receive coordinated support services based on recommendations from progress monitoring. 

Please click on the following link for more information about the middle school ESL program: 
Middle School ESL Magnet Center

High School (Grades 9-12)
Three levels of ESL classes are available for both Groves High School and Seaholm High School students. These ESL classes are conducted at Seaholm High School and students receive instruction in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students are enrolled according to their English proficiency levels and receive English credit.

Please click on the following link for more information about the high school ESL program: 
High School ESL

ESL Staff Directory
Benjamin Briere
I attended Michigan State University, where I studied theater, literature, and ESL.  From there, I worked in several schools as an English teacher, a director, and a track coach.  Now, I teach in Birmingham, where I am a part of our amazing ESL staff.  This is my second year in Birmingham and I am excited to continue my work with the families and
students of the district.  I am hopeful to explore the talents, the potential, and the limits of myself and my students this year.  

Jean Dohanyos
I am the new ESL paraeducator working with Suezane Canfield at Berkshire Middle School.  Besides an appreciation for diverse cultures, I bring to the classroom a love for kids and a zeal to help them succeed.  I traveled in Europe as a teen, summered in Austria, studied at the University of Warwick and the University of Exeter in England, and have some proficiency in French.  My bachelor’s degree is from Eastern Michigan University in Communication and Theatre Arts, and I hold a juris doctorate from the Detroit College of Law (now the MSU College of Law).  Having served in a variety of capacities in the legal field, I returned to education and have worked as a substitute teacher in Royal Oak and an instructor of rhetoric at a private K-12 academy in Waterford.  I am eager to use my talents and skills to help ESL students find their voice here!

Rebecca Gilbert 
I teach ESL at West Maple Elementary, and am thrilled to be teaching ESL again since I enjoy working with culturally and linguistically diverse students.  This began when I traveled to South Korea after finishing my BA in music at Michigan State University.  I received a Fulbright grant to teach English in a Korean middle school for a year.  After working for three years administering education programming at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, I pursued my Master of Arts and teacher certification at the University of Michigan.  My student teaching was at the Academy of Americas, a bilingual school in Detroit, where my students were English learners.  After graduation, I taught math and language arts at Flagship Charter Academy in Detroit. This previous school year, I taught at both West Maple and Berkshire Middle School. I am excited to continue to be a part of the ESL team at BPS and to explore language with my students.

Suezane Hammoud
This will be my first year teaching with BPS and I am very excited to be joining the ESL Team. I will be teaching at Berkshire Middle School. Teaching has been a passion of mine since grade school and I have spent my life in pursuit of achieving my dream of becoming an educator. I am a life-long learner committed to pursuing the best in educational experiences. My background includes a Bachelor's of Arts in teaching in Language Arts and ESL, a Master of Arts Degree, as well as a Master in Educational Leadership from The University of Michigan. In my personal time, I enjoy taking part in the art and culture community in Metro Detroit as an avid supporter of The DIA, The Henry Ford, Cranbrook Institute of Science, and The Michigan Science Center. I have worked with ESL students for the past five years and look forward to expanding this experience with BPS students and families.

Maria Hutzley
I have been a bilingual instructor for almost ten years in this district. I am a native of Mexico and fluent in Spanish.  I love working with students who come from other countries and speak other languages because I myself am a former ESL student. My hobbies are spending time with my family, working with Hispanic Ministry at my church, reading, and learning new things.

Judy Jeske
I was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and brought up in Cornwall in southeastern Ontario.  I graduated from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario with a major in French and a minor in Spanish. Then, I attended the College of Education at the University of Toronto. Later, in Michigan, I took graduate courses in content area reading at MSU.  I was a French teacher for several years in Hamilton, Ontario prior to moving to Michigan. I have been a Bilingual/ESL instructor in Birmingham Schools since February 1990. I have worked at West Maple Middle School, Walnut Lake, Meadowlake, Pembroke and Derby, and have been working full time at West Maple since 1995. I really enjoy helping our ESL students. It's a very rewarding job!  I have always loved languages. Currently, I can speak French and a little Spanish. I have one son who is 30 years old who lives in Michigan too, not far from me. The rest of my family still lives in Canada. I also have a very cute granddog!

Amanda Papaghanian
I teach ESL at Pierce Elementary School.  It is a joy to teach ESL in such a warm, supportive environment and to watch the children and the program thrive.  I have always been very interested in learning about other languages and cultures, as well as teaching and working with children.  I received my Bachelor's from the University of Michigan, where I studied immigration and Spanish. I also received my Masters in teaching and certification from the University of Michigan.  In addition to being a part of the wonderful BPS ESL department, I love to spend time with family and friends, travel, write, sketch and dance.  I am looking forward to another excellent year at Pierce Elementary School!

Christina Ponzio 
I am an ESL teacher at Groves and Seaholm High School, and previously taught at Berkshire Middle School.  My choice to pursue a career as an ESL educator combines my passion for language and literacy, diverse cultures, and working with youth.  These interests led me to Michigan State University, where I graduated with a Bachelor's of Arts degree in English and Teaching English to Speaker's of Other Languages in May 2007 and a secondary teaching certification in May 2008.  Following graduation, I began teaching at Pontiac Academy for Excellence, where I coordinated the district's ESL Program and taught ESL for students in grades 6-12 for four years. When I am not at school, I devote my time to my family and friends, exploring a new book, delving into a new writing endeavor, going for long runs, or embarking on a culinary adventure.  

Kalyn Wulatin
I teach ESL at West Maple Elementary School. My passion for other languages and cultures led me to Seville, Spain, where I lived for seven years, and married my husband, Salvador. We have a daughter, Claudia, who is in her last year of high school.   I have a BA in English and Spanish from Northwestern University, a Master of Arts in Teaching from National-Louis University, and am currently working on an MAT in reading at Oakland University. I taught bilingual education in the Chicago area for nine years, and this will be my ninth year at BPS. When I am not at work, you can find me reading mysteries, watching movies or doing yoga with Salvador and Claudia, running, or playing with our Irish terrier. I am very excited to work with your children again this year to help them be successful in school. Welcome!

Liza Zamora
I graduated from Wayne State University with a BS in Elementary Education and a Math Endorsement.  I taught 1st Grade for four years in Detroit.  Then I had a beautiful daughter, Jacquelyn, whom I stayed home with to take care of until she went to school full-time.  Since then, I’ve been working as a Paraeducator in the Birmingham District with students of all grade levels.  This will be my 6th year in the district.  I am very excited to work with Amanda and all of the ESL students at Pierce.  I am semi-fluent in Tagalog and Spanish.  I like to play the piano and love to spend time with my family and friends.

Professional Resources
Other educators can access our resources, including training materials on our district wiki.
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