High Schools
English Language
Maria Santos
Office of English Language Learners
June 2008
English Language Learners: demographics
There are over five million ELLs in the United States.
This number has risen by 57% over the past ten years.
Six in ten qualify for free and reduced lunch.
Eighth-grade ELLs’ scores on reading and mathematics tests
are less than half of those of their English speaking peers.
Students from households which speak a language other than
English at home lag twenty points behind in high school
graduation rates.
Educating English Language Learners: Building Teacher Capacity, Roundtable Report,
National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, 2008.
ELLs are a very diverse subgroup
Immigrants with parallel schooling
Student with Interrupted Formal Education
Long-term ELLs
Special Education ELLs
Former ELLs
What ELLs know and can do
Literacy in native language
Competencies in subject matter
Level of English language proficiency
Emergent bilinguals
Cross cultural competencies
Rigorous curriculum and instruction
Rigorous and aligned to local, state and national
Native language support and development
ESL through content
Academic language focus
Literacy development
Vocabulary development
Accessible to all through scaffolding
Quality interactions
Technology integration
Assessment and accountability
> Diagnostic
 English proficiency
 Literacy in the native language
 Content knowledge- mathematics, science and social
> Periodic
 English language arts
 Subject matter
 English language development
 Native language arts
> Formative in multiple modalities
> Summative
> Accommodations
> Accountability measures, rewards and consequences
Teacher quality and professional development
All secondary educators
Second language acquisition
Second language academic literacy instruction
Cross-cultural context and connection
Content-based instruction while developing academic language
Vocabulary development
Purposeful scaffolding for access and language production
Selection and use of appropriate materials
Literacy specialists
ESL Teachers
Student and family supports
> Transition into a new schooling culture
> Transition into a new culture
> Environments that are safe, supportive and connected to
the broader school community
> Mindful of the contributions that students and families from
diverse cultures and experiences make to the school
> Libraries in native languages in the school
> Language use and celebrations
> ESL for families
> College and career guidance
Stakeholder engagement
Community based organizations
Feeder schools
Universities and community colleges
Adult education centers
Welcome centers
Leadership and governance
Research informed policy
Professional development for school leaders
School leadership teams
> ELL Literacy Institute
> Secondary academic literacy development-QTEL
Language allocation policy
Focus on strengthening the instructional core
Organization and structure
Flexible scheduling and grouping during the day
> Purposeful homogeneous and/or heterogeneous grouping
> Thematic or integrated learning
> Block scheduling
Extended-day hours and Saturday academies
Individualized graduation plans
Newcomer or SIFE programs or academies
Small class size
Break the silos
> Collaborative teaching
> Collegial planning - ESL specialist with content teacher
Resources for sustainability
Resources targeted to improvement areas such as
production of academic language (oral and/or written)
Strong guidance
Academic interventions - technology enriched
Dedicated fiscal resources for staffing and extended day
Dedicated resources and time for collaborations between
subject area teachers and ELL specialists
Maria Santos

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