Elementary English Language Learning
English Language Learning services in the Elementary School are available for students in the first through fifth grades.
The goals of the Elementary English Language Learning program are to:
- move students toward greater engagement and independence in their general classroom environments as they acquire English language learning skills.
- cultivate a learning environment that complements a student’s cultural heritage and experience in a way that supports emotional needs and builds on academic success across the curriculum, over time.
Our guiding principles:
- English language learners are presented with academic content that challenges them to meet the standards and benchmarks, consistent with those for all students.
- English language learners receive instruction that builds on their prior knowledge and cognitive abilities, and is responsive to their language proficiency and cultural backgrounds.
- English language learners develop social and academic skills when they are in a safe environment that encourages and challenges them to take risks in learning.
- English language learners achieve learning objectives more efficiently when their learning styles are recognized and nurtured.
- English language learners are evaluated with appropriate and valid assessments that take into account the curriculum standards and benchmarks.
- The academic success of English language learners is a responsibility shared by educators, families and communities.
Program Qualification and Process of Class Placement/Admissions
English language proficiency is not one of the criteria for admission to TAISM Elementary School. Like all students, admissions are determined by student’s prior experience and performance in previous educational environments. The principal makes the final determination for admission and placement. When TAISM receives an Admissions Application for a student and it indicates the primary language of the student is other than English, the administrator reviews existing student records to determine academic readiness. Once admission is approved for a student whose primary language is other than English, a student-needs ELL assessment is prescribed.
The ELL Assessment allows the school staff to get to know the student in an academic setting and assists the school in determining the level of English Language Learning service as well as appropriate classroom placement. Generally, the ELL assessment consists of an interview and a brief review of a student’s literacy skills, inclusive of speaking and listening. As necessary and possible to assess, students will be encouraged to respond using their primary language.
ELL Services Available for Elementary Students at TAISM
ELL services are provided in the regular classrooms, as well as in the ELL classroom. In addition to the ELL teacher, four well-trained staff members collaborate to respond to students’ academic and social needs either in their homeroom or in the ELL classroom. Each student’s level of need for services will vary depending on language ability and/or level of participation.
The most common service model for emergent English Language Learners (ELL) is a combination of support both in and out of the general education classroom. ELL students of all designations (emergent, intermediate or fluent) may attend the ELL class in lieu of a World Language (Arabic, French or Spanish) three times every six-day cycle. Once a student’s English language proficiency is fluent to the point of being able to be successful on their own in the classroom, services are reduced or discontinued and the student would begin taking another foreign language.
Pull-in support (assistance in the general education classroom) is provided to guide comprehension and cultivate student participation across the curriculum, academically and socially, for students, as organized by the homeroom and ELL teacher. In this setting, trained assistants can work with small groups or individually with a particular child.
Pull-out support (service in the ELL classroom) is also coordinated with the homeroom teacher. As a result, there is a strong correlation between what is taught in the ELL class and the subject matter being presented in the homeroom. The content curriculum in ELL embeds the standards and benchmarks (AERO and Common-Core Curriculum) using selected texts, as well as themes from the student’s homeroom.
The Child Study Team (CST)
The Child Study Team (CST) is made up of professionals who meet to identify ways to support students and staff in the learning process. Classroom teachers are encouraged to bring academic, social or behavioral concerns to the team. The Child Study Team meets weekly as needed to collaborate with classroom teachers to develop teaching strategies or other interventions to support the child. They may make a recommendation for additional support in or out of the general classroom. At times, the team refers the child’s parents to an outside resource, in order to gain more information about the child’s specific needs. After a support program has been initiated for a student, the team regularly reviews the student’s progress and continues to be involved in collaborative decision-making.
Individual Learning Goals and Outcomes
A new student’s learning goals are based on the initial ELL Assessment administered after a student is admitted to the school. These goals change over time based on the progress of the student. As students begin to demonstrate their language acquisition across social and academic settings, goals and instructional strategies are updated in the student’s plan. Observations are shared between the homeroom teacher, ELL specialist, and other staff as appropriate in order to plan for next steps and anticipated learning goals. These goals are shared and refined in collaboration with the student’s parents. Learning goals are created based on the student’s current level of learning and the targeted growth within the curriculum standards and benchmarks.
Reporting Student Progress
Progress is reported in the standard report received by all children three times a year. ELL teachers provide both grades and narrative comments regarding student progress. Student progress is also shared in two scheduled parent-teacher conferences. Meeting with parents provides the opportunity to discuss and/or clarify grading and commentary included in the report card. Parents are always welcome to schedule additional conferences as necessary.
Technology Supports the English Language Learner
Technology is viewed as an integral component of TAISM’s curriculum and language acquisition because it complements a variety of literacy and communication experiences (reading, writing, listening and speaking). It is utilized as a tool for bringing differentiated learning opportunities to all of our students in a motivating, child-friendly way. Technology provides comprehensible input that supports alternative learning styles with additional tutorials or concrete examples of concepts being explained. At TAISM, we believe that it also cultivates a risk-free environment that makes it safe for students to practice language skills without worrying about the response from others. We encourage students to use learning sites appropriately and with purpose, while working with a parent.