Analysis of Current Program

Excel Public Charter School relies on a push-in model for ELL support. We do not have
a designated ESL program coordinator or teachers who currently hold an ESL license.
All support services are provided by a social worker whom we employ through a partner
agency.

There is a low percentage of students who are not exited from an ESL program, but we
do have several emergent bilingual students in each grade level. We also had two
students recently enroll who speak no English and are fluent/literate in Ukrainian. Their
teachers have been using Google Translate on their handouts and materials in an
attempt to engage the students in the academic subject matter. As for now, there is no
one on staff who can speak Ukrainian.

As for the "push-in support", I do not see this service provider helping students in a
tangible way. In my class, sometimes she will sit beside a student to keep them focused
and will ask questions to guide them in their reading or writing, but often, she sits at the
back of the class and does not engage with many students unless their is a behavior
issue. One time, she put up a "word wall" and a poster that had some writing tips, but
there has not been a collaborative effort between the two of us to make my classroom
more supportive for ESL students.

Action Plan
What needs to change?

I would like to see the topic of ELL students become a school-wide focus. “Developing
and communicating a unified vision for improving instruction and services for ELLs is
essential” (Stepanek, 2). We should be talking about the theory of second language
acquisition and how teachers can support this in their classrooms. We need more than
just handouts telling teachers what to "do" for ELLs- it needs to be an ongoing
conversation.

Though teachers should have prior knowledge of how to support ELL students, the topic
is not one that we discuss frequently as a whole-staff. We have a high special-education
population, so we talk about strategies for them frequently, but it seems that ESL
students get passed over.

Our school also needs clarity on what exact program model we are following- all
teachers should know what to expect from the push-in support and what we can do to
support the service provider. This seems to be a common issue across the board, as
“Creating Schools…” explains that there is a frequent “lack of common understanding
about the role of ELL specialists” (Stepanek, 2) I would like to see teachers
collaborating with ELL experts during planning periods the same way we collaborate
with special ed teachers currently. Additionally, teachers need support from
administration on evidence-based "professional development about how ELLs learn…
districts [need] to do more than simply disseminat[ing] research findings to school staff.
Teachers need opportunities to make sense of the strategies, incorporate new practices
into their teaching, and get feedback on the results” (Stepanek, 3).

Along the same lines, all staff should have the same information about how students are
identified, served, and exited from our ESL program. An effective ESL program
“continuously monitors ELL student progress (e .g ., student work, formal and informal
assessments, test results), and systematically adjusts instructional planning based on a
wide variety of evidence and data” (Practitioners).

How can we better serve ELL students?

Next year, the school is adopting a new model for teaching English Language Arts and
Math. Instead of just one general math and ELA class per day, students will have a
general math ​and​ either a enrichment or intervention class. In order for this change to
be productive, the math and ELA intervention providers need to structure these classes
to be supportive for ELL students. This means setting up the physical class space to
promote collaborative learning, giving students the ability to communicate with each
other in an L1, and ensuring that there is adequate instructional support for educators to
be able to engage with ELL students one-on-one instead of needing to spend all of their
time in whole-group management. It is essential that “Teachers and school leadership
know their ELL population and their individual needs well” (Practitioners).

As a campus, we must also commit to celebrate the cultural and linguistic diversity of
our school, showing students and families that we cherish their culture through
outreach, multilingual staff members, events that work with families’ work schedules,
providing transportation, and communicating with families frequently and effectively
(Creating…4).
Next Steps

❏ End-of-year meeting with administration
❏ Ask for clarity in the expectations for the ELA enrichment classes.
❏ Will there be a designated section or class for emergent bilingual
students?
❏ How many teachers will be in the room?
❏ Is there an opportunity for instruction in a student’s native
language? Bilingual support?
❏ How will the instruction provided in the ELA intervention class
correspond with the broader content being taught in other classes?
Is there a concern that language and literacy development would
not be taught in a larger content area?
❏ Request summer professional development around ELL instruction
❏ The whole campus must have the same core values that non-native
English speakers must be taught intellectually-appropriate content
at their language ability. “Curriculum and instruction at the school
are closely aligned to applicable standards”(Practitioners).
❏ Staff must receive training on how to support ELL students in the
mainstream classroom- not just a handout about tips and tricks.
❏ In the same way we focus on special education weekly during
morning PD, we must maintain the ongoing conversation of English
language acquisition and how we are supporting emergent bilingual
students in our mainstream classrooms. “Teachers support and
learn from each other in a way that recognizes the interdependency
of language proficiency and content instruction” (Practitioners).
❏ Summer PD
❏ Spend collaborative time with colleagues norming on how to design
lessons that are supportive to students of all language abilities. “School
organization and structure is maximized for ample collaboration and
planning time among teachers, school leadership, and all stakeholders”
(Practitioners).
❏ Update school posters and signs to include the native languages spoken
by our students, showing that the school values all languages and
cultures. “School leadership has a clear school vision that includes high
expectations for ELL student achievement supported by a purposeful plan
of action leading to post-secondary options, including college”
(Practitioners).
❏ Ensure that our website has multiple language options.
❏ Critically analyze our parent outreach programs to make sure that we
have multilingual staff members, accessible transportation, an
understanding of families’ work hours, and cultural values. “School highly
values parent and community involvement, and takes active steps to
ensure that both are a part of the school’s culture” (Practitioners).

References

The Practitioners’ Work Group for Accelerating English Language Learner Student
Achievement. (2011). ​Nine common features of successful programs for ELLs (pp.
1-25)​. New York City Department of Education.

Stepanek, J. & Raphael, J. (2010). ​Creating schools that support success for English
language learners​. Lessons learned, 1(2), 1-4.