English Language Learners

The English Language Learner (ELL) program is a support service for students whose first language and culture are not English. The purpose of this program is to develop and/or improve students' English skills in the areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing so they may participate more fully in the academic, social and cultural activities of our school, community, and nation. During this process, our staff is especially sensitive to and understanding of the student's native language and culture.

The ELL students are "English immersed" in all classrooms. This program is distinct from a bilingual one where subject matter is taught (at least in part) in the student's first language until the student's English is adequate for participation in a regular all-English classroom.

• It usually takes a second language student 7-10 years to achieve age-and grade- level performance if they have had no schooling in their first language, and 5-7 years if they have at least 2-3 years of schooling in their first language.
• Students may make rapid progress, particularly in the elementary grades, but can have increasing difficulty in using the language required in content area classes of middle school.
• Students may have oral language proficiency, but not have a solid foundation in reading and writing, particularly as the content becomes more challenging.
• Students who are exited early from the ESL program in the elementary grades can experience academic failure when they reach middle or high school.

ELL program goals and objectives:
• Students will use English to participate in social interactions and to establish and maintain personal relationships in a variety of settings and contexts.
• Students will use English to obtain, process and provide information in spoken/ written form on a variety of topics of personal, academic, cultural and historic interest.
• Students will gain knowledge of American culture so they may participate more fully in the academic, social, and cultural activities of our school, community, and nation.
• Students will use English to reinforce and further knowledge of other academic areas.
• Students will develop insight into their own language and culture by recognizing that different languages use different patterns to communicate and that cultures view situations from varying perspectives.

We consider our district ELL program successful because it meets the Illinois goal and performance standards through resultant student goals, objectives and outcomes. It ensures that all students:

• Build a strong academic foundation
• Develop the desire to pursue knowledge
• Grow in self-confidence and compassion
• Learn to think critically and creatively, to communicate effectively, and to become productive, ethical citizens