What is ELL? The English Language Learner (ELL) program supports students who come from a home where one or more languages are spoken and who are not meeting grade level criteria in core academic areas. The ELL teacher helps students to become proficient in the areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing integrating balanced literacy strategies.
How are ELL students identified? Students are identified for screening at the time of school registration in the fall and throughout the school year using the W-APT / WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test. It is an English language proficiency "screener" test given to incoming students who may be designated as English language learners. The W-APT measures a child’s English proficiency in the areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Parents are notified in writing if their child is eligible for ELL services. This test allows the ELL teacher to provide studnets with ELL service based on their age / grade and test levels.
The WIDA test ( World Class Instructional Design and Assessment) is given once a year. Students are exited from the ELL program when they score proficient and when they are at or above grade level in the core academic areas.
What kind of services does the ELL teacher provide? Depending on their proficiency level, beginning, intermediate and advanced students receive ELL services in their classroom or in small groups in the ELL classroom. The ELL program also includes bilingual tutors who work with the ELL teacher to assist students with classroom work and translation. *The ELL teacher collaborates with the classroom teachers to provide any necessary accommodations and to monitor student progress. *The ELL teacher reinforces classroom academic language skills at the appropriate instructional level. Using balanced literacy strategies, specific areas are targeted in which individual ELL students need help. *The ELL teacher liaisons with ELL parents, students, classroom teachers and bilingual tutors to facilitate communication about student progress.
What language should I use once my child enters the ESL program? We encourage all families to use their native language with their child at home. By speaking your native language, you are actually helping your child acquire English faster. Speaking your native language helps your child to develop a more complex and extensive vocabulary that the child can incorporate when learning English ay school.
*Kinder Students: ELL students in Kindergarten work with Ms. Taylor or an EL Instructional Assistant either in the room or in the ELL classroom once a week. In collaboration with the kinder teachers, the ELL teacher helps reinforce the kinder-curriculum with work such as building vocabulary, expressing ideas, letters/sounds, word solving and writing skills.
*1st – 5th Grade Beginning and Low Intermediate Students: These students work with Ms. Taylor in the ELL room and in their classrooms 3 - 4 times a week. They are building speaking, listening, reading and writing skills through balanced literacy methods aligned with their grade level curriculum.
*1st – 5th Grade High Intermediate and Advanced Students: These students focus on developing vocabulary, reading comprehension and writing skills including identifying main ideas and supporting details, organization of events and, of course, grammar and spelling. They work with Ms. Taylor 1-2 times a week during their classroom reading and writing workshop times. TESTING *The WIDA English Language Proficiency Test- When potential ELL students enter Thurston, they are assessed with the WIDA screening test to help determine which students are eligible for ELL services.ELL students are also identified by grade level reading and writing scores. The full WIDA test is given to all ELL students in March, with results sent home to families in the summer. *The M-STEP test (Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress) is administered in the spring to all 3rd - 5th grade students who have been in the country for at least 1 school year. The M-STEP test is designed to measure student growth on content learned in the current school year. English language arts (reading and writing) and mathematics will be assessed in grades 3–8, science in grades 5 and 8, and social studies in grades 4 and 7. *ELL students who have been in the USA schools for less than 1 year are not required to take the English Language Arts sections of the test. *The NWEA test is a interim district test in reading and math that is given three times a year to all K-5 elementary students. It helps teachers to assess student understanding and to guide instruction.
Tips for helping students at home: *Read with students from books at their level and ask questions about the book. For example: Who are the main characters? Where does the book take place? What are the main ideas or problems? What did you learn? Can you connect this to your life in some way? Have kids point out words that they know and try to read the ones they don’t know using letter sounds. * ELL students might not be able to do all of the classroom homework. It is okay to tell the teacher that some things are too hard or take too long. Do the homework that your student is able to do in a reasonable amount of time (15-30 minutes). * Encourage students to play with English-speaking friends or join a club where they can use English for fun activities.