New York School District Trying to Meet Demand for ESL Classes

Communities and school districts all over New York are being inundated with non-English speaking students who crossed over the US-Mexico border into the United States and are living with their families already in the country. As a result, there has been an increased demand for ESL teachers throughout the region and it is becoming more and more difficult to find enough of them to accommodate the numbers.

Through the first seven months of this year there have been more than 4,000 children who have crossed the border into the US from Mexico and Central America and are now living in the country while they await their immigration hearing.

The Riverhead Central School District in New York has been hit particularly hard with large numbers of migrant children and so far there are have been only two additional ESL educator positions created to meet the growing demand.

The district’s school had more than 90 ESL students enroll over the summer which created a need for two additional teachers. When the school year began in 2013 there were just over 700 ESL students in the entire district with 66 more enrolling throughout the course of the academic year.

As a comparison, the year before that, the entire district had fewer than 400 ESL students with 11 teachers leading ESL classes. There are currently 875 students enrolled in the program and district officials are hoping to have at least 15 teachers to accommodate them but it has thus far been a challenging endeavor to meet staffing needs.

According to district officials, the schools ideally want ESL teachers who are willing and able to perform clerical and support tasks as well as teaching the ESL classes, which they believe will make it easier for students and their families to establish and maintain communication with administrators.


The Grand Canyon University offers a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Program and a B.A. in Secondary Education.

The Master of Arts in Teaching – TESOL online program from the USC Rossier School of Education prepares you to teach students of all ages in the U.S. and internationally, gives you the option to pursue a teaching credential, and can be completed in 12 months.

Liberty University Offers Undergrad Cert and B.Ed. in English as a Second Language.

Capella University offers an online Master’s program in English Language Learning and Teaching designed to help educators advance their career in supporting diverse student populations. While it does not satisfy licensure requirements, the program can help you build the skills to use instructional strategies, emerging trends, and best practices to effectively teach English Language Learners and help students adapt to new cultural environments.