WHAT IS ESL?
English as a Second Language (ESL) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) both refer to instructional programs for students who are not yet proficient in English. English Language Learners (ELLs) refers to the students who are enrolled in ESL/ESOL classes because they are developing their English language skills.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR ESL?
Students whose first language is not English and who are not yet proficient in English are eligible for ESL. This may include students who were born in the United States due to the fact that their families speak another language at home. English proficiency is based on several measures including standardized test scores for reading and writing, oral/aural assessments, student records, and personal interviews.
WHAT IS THE CRITERION TO BE IN ESL?
If the Home Language Survey indicates a language influence other than English, the ESL teacher reviews each student's record to determine if further services are needed. Next, the ESL teacher screens the student and if the assessment indicates services are needed, the ESL teacher will determine the appropriate placement, based on a series of assessments. After students exit daily ESL instruction, the ESL teacher monitors their progress for the next two years. This is a state requirement.
IS THERE A TYPICAL TIME LINE FOR AN AVERAGE STUDENT TO DEVELOP ENGLISH PROFICIENCY?
Second language acquisition research suggests that students develop basic social and interpersonal communications skills within one to two years. However, reaching "native-like proficiency" in academic language requires from five to nine years with appropriate support. Without appropriate support, an English Language Learner is unlikely to achieve competency in the academic English that is necessary to succeed in school. Since the SCASD school district provides that necessary support, a student is exited from the program when (1) functional communication skills are demonstrated in the ESL classroom and the regular education classroom, and (2) both ESL teacher and classroom teacher agree that the student is ready to take on this responsibility. As mentioned earlier, the ESL teacher then monitors an exited student's progress for an additional two years.
WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU OFFER TO PARENTS OR GUARDIANS OF AN ESL STUDENT?
There are several things one can do to encourage a student's bilingual development. These include reading to him or her in the primary language; continuing to use the native language to teach life skills; discussing events and news in the native language; maintaining contact with relatives and friends in the home country; asking for a recap of new things learned in school each day; and allowing the student to join extracurricular activities so interpersonal and intercultural skills can be developed along with language.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STATE COLLEGE SCHOOL DISTRICT