Q. What is ESL/ELL?
A. English as a Second Language (ESL) is a state-mandated program, which aims to help English Language Learners (ELL) acquire proficiency in communication using the English language. A specially-certified teacher, trained to utilize specific methodologies and instructional materials that allows students to learn English systematically with consideration to their first language and culture, must provide instruction.
Q. What is the role of an ESL teacher?
A. ESL teachers provide specialized instruction in English Language Arts (ELA) aimed to increase students' proficiency in the skill areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. In addition to serving as the primary English teacher for ELLs, the ESL teacher also provides support for learning in other content areas, acclimates students to American culture, and serves as a liaison for students and their families to ensure that they receive adequate support for their educational, social, and emotional growth.
Q. How is a student placed in the ESL Program?
A. NYS requires that schools follow a specific procedure for identification and placement of newly enrolled students whose first language is not English. Parents must complete a Home Language Questionnaire (HLQ) to determine whether a language other than English is spoken at home. The HLQ may indicate a need for an informal oral interview, conducted by the ESL teacher who briefly assesses the student's ability to understand and speak the English language. Students who demonstrate limited English proficiency are then required to be more formally assessed using the Language Assessment Battery-Revised (LAB-R), which measures the student's level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing. A student's score on the LAB-R assessment will determine their placement into the ESL program. NYS requires that students remain in the ESL program until they reach a proficient score on the NYS English Language Achievement Test, administered statewide each spring."
Q. How many ELL students are currently enrolled at JPS?
A. There are currently 203 students enrolled in the JPS ESL program. This number has nearly doubled over the past 15 years. ELLs are the fastest growing segment of the public school population, currently representing over 10% of students in US schools and the U.S. Department of Education projects that, by 2025, nearly one out of every four public school students will be an ELL.