Instruction

students doing homeworkInstructional services for ELs in Franklin County are generally provided in two ways. One is called English Immersion. In this setting, a student works completely in the classroom and the ESL instructor provides support in the classroom as needed. In this setting, the student is truly immersed in a classroom where English participation takes place continually with all students and adults. ELs are expected to interact within this instructional setting according to the readiness their language proficiency allows understanding that practice and exposure will support daily progress. The second is small-group or individual pullout instruction. In this setting, ELs are removed from their classroom and go with the ESL instructor for instruction. This more intensive service is provided for recently arriving students and students whose proficiency level requires extra help. This "pullout" arrangement is particularly important at the secondary level where scheduled time blocks give elective credit as needed and individual help for the all-important state testing program.

The ESL instructional program focuses on the key domains of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Research shows that continuous practice in each domain is necessary for success. All elementary schools in the county provide their EL population with a core language program based on a 90-minute reading block, along with an additional language time block. Grade-level correlations expect students to respond with greater vocabulary and more complicated sentences as they move from primary to elementary and secondary grades. The majority of elementary schools have adopted the Success For All reading program which provides the desired scripted practice and leveled reading beneficial to EL students.

EL students participate in all classroom core instruction in both reading and math. Depending on proficiency level, EL students receive grade-level comprehension support with their class group but also may receive targeted phonics and grammar support to firm up necessary reading fundamentals. ESL teachers establish their schedule according to the instructional needs of each of their students.

Franklin County ESL teachers have identified two target areas that need particular attention. Those targets are writing and vocabulary. The literacy component of the Access for ELs 2.0 requires students at all grades to write to a picture prompt. Many EL students have difficulty with this expectation. The ESL staff has received training on a structured writing template that has been very helpful in t preparing students to organize ideas and write these ideas with clarity. A writing portfolio is prepared for all EL students, and each student completes a writing sample weekly.

The Franklin County ESL staff has participated in ExC-ELL 101 training with Margarita Calderon. The training's provide ESL teachers with strategies for explicit instruction in vocabulary. Vocabulary improvement is key to comprehension. The strategies that now are in place in all ESL classrooms include class discussions, student-created definitions, and small group explorations with both a dictionary and a thesaurus. Improved vocabulary development will correlate directly with improved proficiency. 

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