English Language Learner (ELL) Services
Beliefs and Philosophy
The ELL services philosophy is aligned with the school’s overall mission in providing an American curriculum within a global context and preparing students for success in university and life. As English is our target language and we are preparing English Learners (ELs) to be successful not only at KISJ, but at English-speaking universities, we believe that the academic and content area language needs to be taught explicitly, clearly, and comprehensibly. We also believe that language acquisition relies on the important interrelationship between one’s home language and the second language. As such, we value and respect students’ home languages, cultures, and identities, and recognize the need to foster both. We advocate for each student’s individual learning needs and focus positively on the growth and goals of each student. We recognize academic English acquisition is a long process that takes many years of hard work, requiring the learner not only build and apply metalinguistic awareness, but also have good study habits, take risks, and be willing to learn creatively and collaboratively from others.
Mission and Vision
ELL services at KISJ are intended to create a safe learning environment for English Learners to acquire the necessary academic and content language, literacy, and cultural skills they need to be successful in the mainstream curriculum.
Students will be able to: exchange information and ideas successfully through all language domains (speaking, listening, reading, writing); analyze, read, and write literary and informational texts and evaluate how meaning is conveyed; understand how the English language works (the structure of the language); code-switch appropriately between first languages and English; and understand the important interrelationship between home languages and English.
ELL Services Structure
ELL services fall under the wider umbrella of KISJ Student Support Services, which also includes academic, behavioral, and social-emotional support.
Elementary School ELL has two components for G1-5: a language arts-based instructional support class (ELL class), and in-class support within the core classes. During ELL class, students review basic language concepts of reading, writing, speaking, and listening which is directly related to the curriculum they are learning in class. Students develop skills through centers and direct instruction. During in-class support, the ELL teacher and core teacher support students by lowering teacher-student ratios, monitor student progress, and share resources.
Middle School ELL offers two components for Grades 6-8: content-based instructional support class (ELL class) for students with beginning intermediate English language proficiency; and an in-class support for 1 section of English Language Arts content class, for all students of developing English proficiency. There is 1 ELL teacher for each grade level in the Middle School. In ELL class, students practice important language structures, vocabulary, concepts, or literacy skills related to the content standards of their English curriculum. Students also develop writing and reading skills through workshop-style units. During in-class support, the ELL teacher and core teacher work together to provide appropriate language scaffolding and modifications on lessons and assessments, monitor student progress, and increase the teacher : student ratio within the content class.
High School ELL and Literacy Labs for Grades 9-10: All students are required to take a mandatory year-long Writing Lab course in G9. This course is taught by ELL teachers and other writing specialists, with collaborative course design input from the mainstream English teacher. The course covers the necessary skills for writing tasks in Grade 9 and beyond (narrative, literary analysis, informational, and persuasive writing). In addition to this, Grade 10 students take a semester-long Communication for College course that focuses on writing and reading skills for higher education. For all students in the High School, there is also Literacy Lab during club time: a voluntary after school language lab to support students with writing and reading. Beginning in 2015-2016, mainstream teachers are also expected to provide language support through the SIOP framework.
Standards and Language Development Reporting
In 2014-2015, KISJ adopted The World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Standards, CAN-DO Philosophy and Descriptors, Model Performance Indicators (MPIs), and MODEL assessment, and we continue to work on implementing these standards and developing our reporting processes in all divisions. There are 5 WIDA standards:
1. The Language of Social Instructional Language
2. The Language of Language Arts
3. The Language of Math
4. The Language of Science
5. The Language of Social Studies
These standards rest on the shared belief that English Language Learners (ELLs) need to acquire the social instructional and academic language of their content area courses in order to be successful in school. ELL services directly support the acquisition of the Language of Social Instructional Language and the Language of Language Arts through ELL classes and in-class support. ELL teachers strive to support the development of academic language within Math, Science, and Social Studies by offering strategies and modifications for content area teachers during grade-level team meetings.
We share WIDA’s Can-Do Philosophy, which emphasizes the important contributions, assets, and potential that every English Learner brings to a school community.
As such, we advocate for each student’s individual learning needs and focus positively on the growth and goals of each student. The Can-Do Descriptors are tools that ELL teachers and content-area teachers use to plan appropriate modifications and language supports that ELL students will need in class.
Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners
We use Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) strategies to ensure that students are accessing the content curriculum. Core teachers have the opportunity to use the adapted SIOP Observation form (below) and ELL Department Observations are based on the SIOP Observation form below.
Connect! Peer Feedback Form I (adapted from the SIOP Observation Form)
Put a checkmark next to what was observed during the lesson.
1. Content objectives clearly defined, displayed, and reviewed with students
2. Language objectives clearly defined, displayed, and reviewed with students
3. Content concepts appropriate for age and educational background level of students
4. Supplementary materials used to a high degree, making the lesson clear and meaningful (e.g., computer services, graphs, models, visuals)
5. Adaptation of content (e.g., text, assignment) to all levels of student proficiency
6. Meaningful activities that integrate lesson concepts (e.g., surveys, letter writing, simulations, constructing models) with language practice opportunities for reading, writing, listening, and/or speaking
7. Concepts explicitly linked to students’ background experiences
8. Links explicitly made between past learning and new concepts
9. Key vocabulary emphasized (e.g., introduced, written, repeated, and highlighted for students to see)
10. Speech appropriate for students' proficiency level (e.g., slower rate, enunciation, and simple sentence structure for beginners)
11. Clear explanation of academic tasks
12. A variety of techniques used to make content concepts clear (e.g., modeling, visuals, hands-on activities, demonstrations, gestures, body language)
13. Ample opportunities provided for students to use learning strategies
14. Scaffolding techniques consistently used assisting and supporting student understanding (e.g., think-alouds)
15. A variety of questions or tasks that promote higher-order thinking skills (e.g., literal, analytical, and interpretive questions)
16. Frequent opportunities for interaction and discussion between teacher/student and among students, which encourage elaborated responses about lesson concepts
17. Grouping configurations support language and content objectives of the lesson
18. Sufficient wait time for student responses consistently provided
19. Ample opportunities for students to clarify key concepts in L1 as needed with aide, peer, or L1 text
Practice and Application
20. Hands-on materials and/or manipulatives provided for students to practice using new content knowledge
21. Activities provided for students to apply content and language knowledge in the classroom
22. Activities integrate all language skills (i.e., reading, writing, listening, and speaking)
23. Content objectives clearly supported by lesson delivery
24. Language objectives clearly supported by lesson delivery
25. Students engaged approximately 90% to 100% of the period
26. Pacing of the lesson appropriate to students' ability level
Review and Assessment
27. Comprehensive review of key vocabulary
28. Comprehensive review of key content concepts
29. Regular feedback provided to students on their output (e.g., language, content, work)
30. Assessment of student comprehension and learning of all lesson objectives (e.g., spot checking, group response) throughout the lesson