ESOL numbers rise as the 2019-2020 school year begins

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Tessy Lawal and Kamall Jones

The population of the ESOL students (English Speakers of Other Languages) at Owings Mills High School has increased tremendously since the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

At the start of the school year, the Owings Mills community was surprised at the rapid increase of ESOL enrollment, even SGA advisor and Science Department Chair, Thomas Blumenauer commented on how amazing the increase of diversity is at the school. Currently, there are 434 ESOL students enrolled; that’s roughly about 1/3 of the school’s total population. ESOL Coordinator Marga Ugarte-Caffyn claims that she’s “been here for 21 years, and this has been the highest percentage [of ESOL students] I’ve seen, and the principal, Ms. Campbell is doing all she can for resources.” According to charts, 126 of these students are from El Salvador, the remainder of the students are from Honduras, Guatemala, Nigeria and other countries.

Why does the school’s population keep growing? Owings Mills High is a center school for the Northwestern area of Baltimore County. This means students who are normally districted to attend Milford Mill Academy, Franklin High School, New Town High School, Randallstown High School, and Pikesville High School come to Owings Mills for their ESOL programs and services.

As the enrollment number continues to rise, problems such as over crowded buses and OMHS reaching its maximum capacity could arise.