The EPS has transitioned from instructing English Learners in grades K-5 in separate settings with separate curricula to inclusive practices in the elementary classroom that leverage the co-teaching of a classroom teacher and an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. All students receive the rigorous, standard aligned Reach for Reading Curricula. Before, many English Learners received curricula during ESL class that was not aligned with grade level content, and did not target the skills necessary to master the MCAS assessments. Now, ESL teachers utilize the fiction and non-fiction texts to develop both content and language simultaneously. This is an accelerated model of learning, that achieves academic mastery not with years of remediation, but rather with access to engaging, grade-level content with strategic language supports. ELs interact with Native English Speakers throughout the day, and both groups benefit from diverse classrooms with diverse worldviews and experiences.
In grades 6-8, we now have standalone English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for our middle school English Learners that utilize the National Geographic INSIDE curricula. This curricula is responsive to the needs of ELs in 6-8 because it develops language alongside age appropriate fiction and non-fiction. Like our elementary model, we use curricula that is aligned with MCAS skills so our English Learners, no matter where they are in their language development, access higher order thinking and are able to succeed on standardized tests. ESL teachers also have opportunities in their schedule to support ELs in Math and/or Science. Before, middle school ELs were not placed in travel groups based on their English proficiency. Now, at the Parlin and Keverian schools, Level 1, 2 and 3 ELs travel together. This has strengthened Math, Science and History instruction to meet the needs of these students. Middle school content teachers work closely with their grade-level ESL teachers to plan differentiated instruction, and EPS has offered several rounds of professional development and coaching support to meet the needs of these homogenous groups. All middle school teachers take ownership for teaching their content in addition to the language of their content to ELs.