Since the primary language of instruction is English, the objective of the support programme is to enable the English as an Additional Language students to access the complete mainstream class curriculum with minimal accommodations. Although students are required to display an English proficiency level commensurate with their grade level prior to enrollment, all SIS staff work together to build students’ skills to a level of proficiency that allows them to confidently navigate the grade-level curriculum.
Support can come in the form of small group language instruction outside of the mainstream classroom for varying amounts of time per week, small group language supports and instruction within the mainstream classroom, modifications, accommodations, and differentiation of the mainstream curriculum by the classroom teacher and other members of the SIS staff.
See Figure 1
- During the student interview process, the teachers look to see if students have the ability to understand and follow classroom instructions, and basic interpersonal communication skills by using the Language Proficiency Indicators (WIDA).
- After collecting the data and feedback from the homeroom teacher and team teacher, the EAL coordinator specialist and the homeroom teacher decide what type of English as an Additional Language Support is appropriate for the student.
- After admission to the school, students will be provided with a continuum of supports determined by the homeroom teacher, team teacher, and coordinator based on their English language proficiency level (WIDA).
- The team of teachers will continue to observe and assess the students’ language development in order to meet their changing needs.
- When the coordinator and classroom teacher determines that the student’s language proficiency is at a level where he/she can access grade-level content without as much supports, services will be gradually removed.
- Differentiation of tasks will still occur in all classrooms to meet the needs of students at all levels.
- WIDA K-12 ESL Proficiency Benchmarks in conjunction with I Can Statements.
Thanks to the small class sizes at SIS, our students are given the benefit of having instruction geared towards their specific needs. In addition to the regular whole-class activities, our teachers frequently use small-group and individual instruction. This ensures not only that the grade-level curriculum needs are met but that each individual student’s needs are met, whether the need is remediation or acceleration. This reinforces our belief that each child must be treated as an individual, taking into account his or her own strengths and needs.