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Key facts about Philadelphia’s English languange learners

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

  • Of the 12,000 English language learners in Philadelphia, two-thirds are Spanish-speaking, and more than half are native-born – here or in Puerto Rico.
  • There are more than 50 languages spoken by city students; other large language groups besides Spanish include Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Russian, Arabic, French and Albanian.
  • Seventy of the District’s schools have 50 or more ELLs, representing more than 80 percent of the total. These schools are concentrated in the traditional Puerto Rican barrio and increasingly in neighborhoods in Northeast Philadelphia.
  • There are schools with large numbers of ELLs in other neighborhoods as well, including Frankford, South and Southwest Philadelphia.
  • The District has ESOL programs in 142 schools, just over half of its schools.

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