Programs & Services - English Language Learners program
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English Language Learners (ELL) K-8 Program
The purpose of the English Language Learners (ELL) program is to help students develop the language skills and knowledge necessary for success, both in Canadian schools and in society. ELL services strengthen the intellectual and personal development of students by helping them to:
- Improve their ability to communicate fluently in English.
- Acquire the English language skills needed to make academic progress within the BC school system, helping them realize their potential.
- Develop knowledge of Canadian culture and society.
Assessment and Placement
ELL students who have just moved into New Westminster will be assessed to get a better understanding of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Students entering kindergarten and grade 1 are assessed in the areas of listening and speaking only.
There are five levels of English language proficiency in the New Westminster Schools’ ELL Program. Based on the level your child is assessed at, learning goals are created to further develop language skills in each area. The document containing these goals is called an Annual Instructional Plan, or AIP. The AIP goals complement a student’s learning, they do not replace the regular classroom curriculum.
ELL students will be assessed by an ELL specialist at various times throughout the year. Their individual programs and goals are adjusted and updated as the student progresses in their English language development.
Support for each student is designed to be the best fit for their needs, at a given time. Types of support include:
- Small, flexible groups and/or one-on-one instruction.
- In-class ELL support
(co-teaching involving both the ELL specialist and the classroom teacher, working in the regular classroom setting).
For all students, the program delivery includes regular collaboration between the ELL teacher and the classroom teacher. The ELL teacher provides the English language learning expertise … supporting the classroom teacher in delivering regular classroom curriculum.
How long will my child stay in the ELL Program?
The length of time your child stays in the program depends on many factors. These factors include both the starting place for the student and the progress they make each school year. Students have ELL support available for as long as they need it. Studies show that it can take five or more years for a student beginning ELL to reach academic English language fluency in all areas (listening, speaking, reading and writing).
When a student is assessed as having fluent English language skills, the teacher will let you know that assessments suggest your child no longer needs ELL support. The ELL teacher is available for consultation if you have questions about whether your child should stay in the ELL program.
Will my child miss classroom lessons?
ELL students spend the vast majority of their time, and sometimes all of their time, in the regular classroom setting. In a small group ELL setting, students have the opportunity to work on regular classroom curriculum, just with language supports to better understand the material. When there is an in-class ELL support, the ELL teacher and the classroom teacher work side-by-side to support students, inside the classroom.
In some cases, beginner level students will have small group instruction to help learn basic English language skills. These skills form the foundation they will need before they can start learning classroom curriculum.
What about my child’s home language?
Your child’s home language is a valuable asset. Both ELL teachers and classroom teachers encourage your child to use home language skills as a learning tool. It is important for your child to maintain the home language skills, as it gives your child the opportunity to build academic understanding in a familiar language. This understanding can then be translated into English.
What about culture?
New Westminster Schools values the cultures of all students. In fact, positive personal and cultural identity is a part of the BC curriculum too.
How can I find out what my child will learn in class?
The BC Curriculum can be found at curriculum.gov.bc.ca.
When it comes to ELL learning, the ELL teacher shares each student’s learning goals and progress reports on these goals with parents and caregivers each term.
How can I talk with an ELL teacher at my child’s school?
If you would like to talk to the ELL teacher at your child’s school, please contact the school directly. The ELL teacher at the school will be happy to talk to you about the school’s ELL program, as well as answer any specific questions that you have about your child’s language learning.
Questions? Email your school’s ELL teacher or the Principal for more.
This info has also been produced in a downloadable PDF (please note the file was produced as a foldable brochure, you may need to print and fold it to help with the order of the content): PDF: ELL brochure for central registration