AST students will use English proficiently in social and academic environments and become prepared for the language demands of the American university system. The ESOL program is designed to support students to reach grade-level expectations in English speaking, reading, writing, and listening.
ESOL Program Model
ESOL class sizes are limited to 10 students to quickly advance students’ English skills. The small class size allows teachers to work with students individually on specific skills he/she needs to advance to grade level English proficiency. Teachers use assessments to guide this targeted instruction in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The ESOL program is based on the Oregon Department of Education English Language Proficiency Standards, ELPA21. See an overview here. These standards support college and career readiness goals in all subjects including mathematics, sciences, and language arts. See the detailed standards list here.
Academic vocabulary is emphasized as well as language forms and functions.
At the elementary level, a combination of pull-out (separate class) and push in (co-teaching with the language arts teacher) models are used. For early elementary, there is a strong emphasis on phonetic development and literacy. Students will build foundational skills in phonics, literacy, and reading comprehension. The upper elementary coursework includes grammar and writing workshops, as well as comprehension skills using online reading programs.
At the middle and high school levels, students in the ESOL program are required to participate in a self-contained ESOL elective course. Credit is received for the course. Students develop reading and writing skills with fiction and nonfiction texts. There is a strong emphasis on writing skills, including one-on-one feedback and targeted instruction. Additionally, extra practice is given to developing speaking and listening skills. Part of each high school ESOL class is devoted to helping students with their regular content area work. Some SAT preparation is done as well.
The need for ESOL services is determined at admission and is a condition of enrollment for identified students. Students may also be placed in ESOL at any time throughout the school year on a case by case basis. In addition, students may be placed in ESOL within the first 6 weeks of enrollment based upon student need and classroom observations.
Exiting decisions are made by a committee of educational professionals, including core subject area teachers, language specialists, and administration. The whole child is considered in this decision. Some factors included are:
- Teacher feedback on students’ use of spoken English in the classroom setting
- Writing samples in core classes
- Reading comprehension in core classrooms as well on the MAPS assessment