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English Language Learners
English Language Learner Curriculum Specialist
Resources - See also ELL Curriculum
It is Union's mission to provide English Language Learners (ELLs) and Immigrant students a high quality program, designed to assist students in learning English and to meet challenging state academic content and student academic standards. This Title III program is aimed at PreK-12th Grade students.
All English language learners will participate in a quality instructional program that supports academic and social development. Emphasis will be placed on providing students with the greatest possible access to core curriculum and afford students access to appropriate English language instruction that will ensure progress from limited English proficiency to fluent English proficiency.
English Language Learners (ELLs)
- Between the ages of 3 and 21
- Enrolled/preparing to enroll in elementary or secondary school
- Not born in U.S. or whose native language is not English
- From environment where language other than English significantly impacted English language proficiency
- Has difficulty speaking, reading, writing or understanding English sufficiently so that it denies the individual the:
1. ability to meet the proficient level of achievement on state content assessments
2. ability to successfully achieve in classrooms taught in English with no language support
3. opportunity to participate fully in society
Title III of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act provides federal funds to implement supplemental instructional programs for ELLs. These funds are used to provide high quality language instruction programs for our district Limited English Proficient (LEP) students in elementary and secondary grades.
Federal funds are also used to provide support staff to assist teachers with instruction and professional development for teachers to effectively instruct and assess English Language Learners.
Title III Requires Annual Assessment of English Language Proficiency
Title III requires an annual assessment of the English language proficiency of all LEP students in grades K-12 in the domains of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Limited English proficient students must be assessed on an annual basis to determine individual growth in each domain. When a student reaches a level of Fluent English Proficient (FEP) the student no longer receives supplemental ELL services, but is monitored for two academic years to ensure continued academic progress.
Language Instruction Programs for English Language Learners
Union Public Schools offers English Language Learners a variety of language instruction educational programs. The programs are based on scientific research and designed to assist students in learning English and meet age appropriate academic achievement standards for grade promotion and graduation. The models selected to meet the instructional needs of ELL students at Union include Structured English Immersion for elementary schools and Sheltered English Instruction for secondary schools.
Structured English Immersion
The regular classroom teacher provides instructional strategies and differentiation to meet the language and literacy needs of the student. Instructional specialists/ELL leads and/or instructional paraprofessionals provide linguistic and academic support to LEP students in the general education classroom by using an inclusion model. Students may leave the mainstream classroom or receive English language development instruction during intervention periods for up to an hour per day. Such pullout sessions provide intensive language acquisition instruction and are delivered in a setting with a low student/teacher ratio by an instructional specialist, ELL lead, or classroom teacher.
Sheltered English Instruction (newcomer or sheltered with core teachers.)
Instruction provided in English is adapted to the English proficiency level of the students in a sheltered environment (only ELL students) for the initial stages of English language development. The curriculum-based content is presented in a modified form to increase the learning rate of the English language including grammar along with social and academic vocabulary. Students attend an Academic Language Acquisition (ALA) class. The ALA class provides intensive language acquisition instruction delivered in a classroom setting with a low student/teacher ratio.
Delineation of Educational Services Provided for ELL Students
At the elementary level, students are placed in the regular classroom with the support provided as described above. Each school has an instructional specialist/ELL lead who monitors the placement and progress of the ELL students in the building. That person, in conjunction with the classroom teachers, administrators, instructional coaches (where applicable) and other instructional specialists, coordinates the instructional process so that the appropriate literacy and language support is provided to the students. A balanced literacy approach that differentiates instruction for all students is applied in the case of ELL students as well.
Support is provided through small group instruction, one-on-one conferring, peer tutoring and individual computer-aided instruction. Additionally, ELL students are provided with appropriate testing accommodations to ensure equal opportunities for success. Furthermore, vocabulary support in math, science and social studies is provided to ELL students in the form of visual representation as needed. The goal of the immersion process is to assimilate the student into the instructional environment such that the student progresses in both language acquisition and mastery of core curriculum. All students are considered for intervention in core curriculum. ELL students are considered for intervention in language development and core curriculum.
At the secondary level, students are placed in the sheltered instructional setting according to their demonstrated language proficiency level. Consideration for placement is the score on the W-APT or ACCESS test along with classroom assessments of progress in the four language domains.
Students scoring approximately 1.0 to 2.3 are placed in a newcomer classroom. The newcomer class is a self contained classroom in which students spend four or five hours of the day receiving intensive language instruction from an ESL certified teacher. Core content and vocabulary are used as a part of the language development instruction.
Sheltered Core Classes with ALA Class
Students scoring approximately 2.4-3.4 are placed in a sheltered core class setting. The class contains only LEP students of that language proficiency range so that the instruction can be adapted to the learning needs of the students in order to accelerate their language development and provide understandable delivery of core content. Though the instructional delivery is adapted to meet the needs of ELL students, the curriculum of the sheltered core class is the same as regular classes (for native English speakers). In addition to the four sheltered core classes, students receive a period of English language development instruction, delivered by an ESL certified teacher. This class is called Academic Language Acquisition (ALA). The ALA class is designed to provide language learning support in the four domains with the inclusion of core content and vocabulary. For students at this proficiency level (2.4-3.4), the ALA class consists of students within the same range of proficiency, so that the instruction can be designed to maximize learning growth toward mainstream coursework.
Mainstream Classes with ALA Class
Students scoring from 3.5 to 4.9 are placed in mainstream core classes with a period of English language development (ALA class). The ALA class, taught by an ESL certified teacher, is designed to provide language learning support in the four domains with the inclusion of core content and vocabulary. Students remain in an ALA class until they have demonstrated fluency on the ACCESS test. There are a few exceptions made for students that are receiving additional literacy support by another course due to special circumstances like an IEP.
Monitoring FEP1 and FEP2
Students who have demonstrated fluency on the ACCESS test are monitored as they attend mainstream classes. In cases where students are not succeeding, they may be placed in an ALA class or another class to provide additional support.
Parent Communication and Outreach
Communication from both elementary and secondary schools is provided in the student’s home language whenever possible to ensure that families have appropriate notice regarding school activities such as parent teacher conferences, extracurricular activities and other special events. Additionally, progress reports, report cards and other vital school information are communicated in the child’s home language when available.
Parent outreach efforts include the utilization of technology to deliver timely, accessible information to parents in order to keep them informed and involved in the education of their child. The District advisory committee includes parents and students. Translation services are provided to parents of ELL students in order for families to fully understand the goals of the overall educational program and to help facilitate parent-teacher interaction. Furthermore, at certain community schools, social, medical and mental services are provided at no cost to district families in an attempt to remove barriers to academic success. Finally, free adult ESL and GED classes are offered to all district families to provide them an opportunity to develop English fluency.