Creating support programs for English learners to meet high school graduation requirements in mathematics

The purpose of this case study research is to show that when a high school in southern California offers support programs designed to meet the academic needs of English learners, completing their mathematics high school graduation requirements becomes a tangible possibility. Structured support programs were designed to meet the needs of a small population of English learners (within the school's larger EL population) who were not being serviced. Their learning gaps, weak educational background and lack of foundational skills in mathematics were a hindrance to success in higher mathematics. The case study followed a qualitative approach, which included an openended survey, and academic data analysis. The participants had the opportunity to voice their opinions and feelings on having support programs versus not having them, and what role these programs played in their growth in mathematics. Results indicate that offering support programs in the area of mathematics, tailored to teach them the necessary tools to be successful in higher mathematics, play an important role in helping English learners successfully meet their math graduation requirements. Results also indicate that by creating support systems, ELs who come from disadvantaged backgrounds will stay in school and be on track for graduation. By identifying what skills or knowledge students lack and targeting them, English learners will change their views of school and mathematics. KEYWORDS: high school, English learners, mathematics support programs, academic success