1 June 2018
Dear Elementary Parents,
For over two years, we have been researching the best ways to help our students improve their English language skills. We have worked with our classroom teachers, EAL teachers, school administrators, and experts in the field of English Language Learning. We are very pleased to announce an expansion and improvement of our English as an Additional Language (EAL) program.
The percentage of English Language Learners exceeds 75% of the students in our elementary school. For a school with this high a population, research suggests moving toward a co-teaching model with an EAL teacher (“Language Specialist”) working with each grade-level team in grades K-5. Starting in the 2018-2019 school year, we are adding three additional Language Specialist positions so that every grade level (grades K-5) has a full-time Language Specialist. This means we will increase from three to six Language Specialists!
In addition, research suggests that all teachers in the school would benefit from intentional training in how to co-teach with a Language Specialist in order to help all of our students learn English. We will be implementing a year-long professional development program for all of our elementary teachers on how to best work with Language Specialists and English Language Learners.
What do these changes mean for your child?
- We will continue to provide pull-out services with Language Specialists for any students who are at the earliest stages of learning English.
- We will expand in-class support from Language Specialists so that all students will receive improved support in learning English.
- We will eliminate students ‘entering’ and ‘exiting’ a separate EAL program reserved for only some students. Instead, all students will receive high quality English language instruction throughout the school day. Even native English speaking students need high quality instruction in English language arts.
- We will continue to implement highly selective admissions for any students who want to enter SSIS.
We are confident that these changes will provide significant expansions and improvements to the English language learning experience for all of our students. We will review these changes further during various parents meetings next year. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Daniel J. Keller, PhD