English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) K-12
The English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) program in Berkeley County provides instructional and support services to ensure the academic success of multilingual learners in the classroom. Multilingual learners are those students who enter the classroom from linguistically diverse homes where languages other than English are spoken. Multilingual learners are often still developing proficiency in English as their second, third or even fourth language. Multilingual learners might be native born second or third generation American citizens, recent immigrants, exchange students, US citizens from American territories, or US military dependents raised and educated abroad during their early years. Multilingual learners make up approximately 12% of the student population of Berkeley County, representing over 40 languages and almost 70 countries.
ESOL teachers use specialized approaches to accelerate the social and academic language development of students learning English. South Carolina is a member of the WIDA standards consortium, and instructional approaches within ESOL classrooms are guided by the WIDA English Language Development Standards and closely integrated with South Carolina College and Career Content Standards. The ESOL program provides academic and language supports to students in a variety of ways, including co-teaching, sheltered instruction, push-in teaching models, and small group tutoring.
Multilingual Learners are degree track students and participate in all district programs, including Gifted and Talented, Advanced Placement classes, the arts, and Career and Technical Education. Multilingual students who meet certain criteria may additionally be qualified for the South Carolina Seal of Bi-literacy.
Berkeley County collaborates with a number of community partners to provide enrichment opportunities and to recognize the linguistic and cultural diversity of our school system, including the Charleston River Dogs, the Charleston Battery Soccer Club, and the Port of South Charleston Authority. In 2019 the Berkeley County ESOL Program was the recipient of the Charleston River Dogs’ inaugural Perros Santos Award, recognizing contributions to the Hispanic community in the Lowcountry.
Degrees and Certifications:
Mr. Robert Gouthro
Robert Gouthro brings a wide range of skills and experiences to the position. Prior to coming to BCSD, Mr. Gouthro worked for ten years as a classroom teacher. He began his career at the high school level teaching social studies “sheltered content instruction,” to high school aged multilingual learners in Maryland. In the same position he also engaged in content-based co-teaching classes in ELA and World History, as well as ESOL Writing and Intermediate ESOL. He moved to Florida where he completed his certification in Gifted and Talented and taught Gifted and Talented History and English Language Arts in grades 6, 7, and 8.
In 2012, Mr. Gouthro moved to South Carolina where he taught Gifted and Talented History and grade level English Language Arts and Writing in grades 6 and 7 before returning to ESOL to teach elementary aged multilingual learners in grades K through 5 utilizing a variety of service models, including co-teaching. He has earned his South Carolina Read to Succeed Literacy Teacher and Literacy Coach endorsements.
In addition to his time in public education, Mr. Gouthro has also served as an instructor at the English Language Institute at the University of Delaware, teaching advanced academic English classes to university level English Learners; has worked as a materials writer for an English Language educational publishing company in Taiwan; has taught summer language courses in China and South Korea, and has worked as an adjunct professor for St. Leo University, teaching ESOL education theory and practice courses to pre-service teachers.
Mr. Gouthro has a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Delaware, awarded in 2007. He earned honors in his studies and was named to the College of Health Education, and Human Performance’s Panel of Outstanding Graduate Students. Prior to that, he graduated magna cum luade from Gettysburg College with a degree in history and was named to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. In 2010, he earned a second master’s degree in history from Norwich University.