English Language Learners in Portland Suburbs

The Portland Press Herald yesterday published an article about the influx of immigrants to Portland’s suburbs.

Photo Credit: Portland Press Herald

Photo Credit: Portland Press Herald

The suburb of Westbrook, in particular, has been changing due to the growing population of immigrants. Among the changes to the town of 18,000 are a new ethnic market, new ESL classes, and school menu items designed to accomodate Muslim students. In 2005, Westbrook’s English-language-learners program had 27 students; this year there are 265.

“Portland has long been a place where immigrants have resettled, but in recent years a rising numbers of new Americans have made their homes in its suburbs.” -Leslie Bridgers, Portland Press

ELL enrollment in Portland's suburbs. Courtesy of the Portland Press Herald

ELL enrollment in Portland’s suburbs. Courtesy of the Portland Press Herald

The trend of immigrants moving to Maine’s suburbs manifests itself in the increase in English language learning students in these areas. The majority of immigrants learning English have the goal of landing a job. Much like the New American Center I’ve been reporting from in Lynn, Mass., students disappear once they’ve landed a job.

Read Bridger’s article in the Portland Press Herald here, or follow her on Twitter at @lesliebridgers.

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