JACKSON, Miss. – After their retirement three years ago, Jimmy and Joan Barrentine started volunteering in the English Language Learner program at Northside Elementary School in Clinton.

Video: The Barrentines help English Language Learners excel

The school’s international students come from a diverse range of countries including India, Yemen, China, Korea, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Japan and Mexico. Many of these students start school not knowing one word of English.

The Literacy-Based Promotion Act requires English Language Learners who have received two years of instruction to pass the 3rd Grade Reading Assessment in order to be promoted to 4th grade.

Northside Elementary serves more than 700 2nd and 3rd grade students. This spring, 98% of Northside’s 3rd graders passed the 3rd Grade Reading Assessment the first time.

Thanks to the Barrentines, Northside’s English Language Learners performed even better – with 100% achieving a passing score.