|Karen Lapuk, Director of Bilingual Education, ESOL and World Languages
Bilingual/ESOL Educators in Windham Public Schools
Windham Center Elementary School:
Windham Middle School:
In Windham, a student's program of study is chosen by his/her parents after discussing the options with Bilingual and ESOL staff at the student's school who have reviewed the student's file and shared assessment results in both English and Spanish (when applicable). There is always the opportunity to change programs. We highly recommend that students take advantage of the specially designed programs offered to them, as they are more likely to meet the grade level standard sooner with support than without.
The following are programs offered to Windham Public School’s students:
Transitional Bilingual Education (K- Windham Center, Natchaug, Sweeney)- In these classes, Spanish and English are used 50% of the day, with literacy instruction and math in Spanish; science and social studies are taught through English language development. The amount of native language instruction/use is decreased, and the amount of English instruction/use is increased as the students' English proficiency increases. The goal of TBE is to transition students into the mainstream as quickly as possible- or within 30 months.
Transitional Bilingual Support (K-8)- Bilingual education is using two language to teach students whose dominant language is not English. In Windham. Spanish is used to support students. If a family chooses bilingual education, their child will learn to read in Spanish and receive support in Spanish in his/her content and mainstream classes. The premise of bilingual education is that certain skills only need to be taught once and as students acquire more English, they are able to participate in grade level content. The Dual Immersion program is another form of bilingual education (see below). For more information: http://www.nabe.org/bilingualeducation
Dual Immersion- Compañeros (PK-8)- In the Compañeros Program, instruction of the general education program/curriculum is provided in both languages, Spanish and English. Instruction delivered in Spanish is done so by a bilingual teacher. Instruction delivered in English is done so by an English-speaking teacher. In this program, students are taught by a team of two teachers. The Compañeros Program is available on a lottery basis to students when entering Preschool and/or Kindergarten or late entry to students who are bilingual, depending on space. Entering Kindergarten classes are comprised of nearly equal numbers of Spanish dominant and English dominant students. Applications are accepted January prior to entering Kindergarten after a mandatory informational session. For more information check back on the Compañeros page.
English language development (K-5) is direct instruction of English to students who are developing understand of English as a new language. It addresses receptive as well as expressive used of the language in speaking, listening, reading and writing as well as grammar and word work. It distinguished between social English and academic English and involves using English in different contexts for different purposes.
ESOL Classes/Courses (Grades 6-12)- English language development- English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes or courses are offered in the middle and high schools. Because students at the middle and high school levels move from class to class and teacher to teacher, students learning English as a second language are offered ESOL courses as separately scheduled courses/classes. ESOL courses are taught by certified ESOL teachers. Students are placed in these courses according to their English proficiency levels and academic support needs. ESOL courses at the middle and high school level focus on students' English Language Development and incorporate content appropriate to students' ages and grade-levels and from across academic subject areas. There are specially designed classes for long term English learners as well as for New Arrivals.
New Arrivals Program (K-12)- This program is offered to students who are at a beginning level of English in their first year of matriculation in Windham Public Schools.
In the elementary schools, students who are new to the country in their first year receive extra support in their primary language (Spanish) to help them acclimate and access grade level curricula. The students in this program also receive English Language Development classes to help them with survival English as well as bilingual support in their mainstream classes.
Students in grades 6-12 are offered courses that are co-taught or self-contained to meet their diverse needs in their first year in the country. The New Arrivals program (6th-8th grades at Windham Middle School) has a teacher and tutor who work with the students as a group and support them in the mainstream classes. The level of instruction is personalized to make sure that students are getting what they need to become bilingual and bi-literate in Spanish and English. Students also have access to grade level curriculum with language support.
At Windham High School, New Arrivals have different options supported by three teachers and three tutors. For those students with a strong academic background in their native language, they take ESOL classes and attend co-taught classes with a gradual release of primary language support. For those students who have had limited opportunities to attend school, there is a self-contained cluster of courses that meet the students at their academic level and scaffolds what they need academically to be successful in order to continue towards graduation from high school and into higher education or employment.
Strategies Used in Classrooms with English learners:
Culturally Responsive Instruction- According to the Educational Lab at Brown University http://www.brown.edu/academics/education-alliance/teaching-diverse-learners/strategies-0/culturally-responsive-teaching-0 Culture is central to learning. It plays a role not only in communicating and receiving information, but also in shaping the thinking process of groups and individuals. A pedagogy that acknowledges, responds to, and celebrates fundamental cultures offers full, equitable access to education for students from all cultures.
Culturally Responsive Teaching is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students' cultural references in all aspects of learning (Ladson-Billings,1994).
Some of the characteristics of culturally responsive teaching are:
Sheltered Instruction (K-12)- Sheltered instruction is an approach to teaching English language learners which integrates language and content instruction. The dual goals of sheltered instruction are: to provide access to mainstream, grade-level content, and. to promote the development of English language proficiency. This may be done in a co-teaching situation or in a classroom with a TESOL certified teacher.
Native Language Support (K-12)- Allowing students to use their native language while they acquire English is an important process for students to learning content. With bilingual teachers. tutors and paraprofessionals, students are able to get the support in their native language to understand classroom content.
ESOL Support (K-12)- English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Support is a form of support offered to students learning English and does not use students' native language during instruction. ESOL Support focuses on students' English language development in addition to their comprehension of academic content in the general education curriculum. ESOL support is provided to students through Co-Teaching in general education/content area classes, push-in support, or pull-out support by an ESOL certified teacher. ESOL instruction within general education/content area classrooms in content based, while ESOL instruction outside of genera education/content area classes is often focused on English language development (e.g. English vocabulary and skills).
Other District Offerings:
World Languages- Windham Public Schools are working to establish a PK-12 world languages pathway. The Pathway currently includes Spanish, French and Mandarin. Spanish is offered through the existing Dual Language Program (Compañeros) in K through 8th grade. Spanish continues in 7th through 12th grade through existing World Language course offerings at Windham Middle School and Windham High School. Mandarin is offered as a World Language at the Charles H. Barrows STEM Academy and at Windham High School, French is offered.
Spanish for native speakers is offered at Windham Middle School and Windham High School, offering another opportunity for students to maintain or learn their family's language. These classes are taught like language arts classes, using culturally responsive literature, informational text that is relevant to Windham's Latino population and writing for a variety of audiences.
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