English as a Second Language (ESL)
Serving nearly 1,500 students district-wide, the District 300 English as a Second Language (ESL) Program aims to ensure that all English learners receive a quality education that enables them to achieve academically, close the achievement gap, and attain English proficiency within a supportive environment.
English as a Second Language (ESL) Program
The District 300 English as a Second Language (ESL) Program aims to ensure that all English learners receive a quality education that enables them to achieve academically, close the achievement gap, and attain English proficiency within a supportive environment.
What is the ESL Program?
The ESL Program is designed to support students who are learning English as their second language. Through the ESL Program, students learn the same curriculum standards as their grade-level peers while developing their English speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills.
Who can join the ESL Program?
The ESL Program is open to any Pre-K through high school student who speaks a primary language other than English.
How Are Students Enrolled into the ESL Program?
During the registration process, all families complete a Home Language Survey. If a language other than English is spoken in the home, students will be screened for listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the English language. Students are recommended for enrollment into the ESL Program based on the results from the screener test.
Inside an ESL Classroom
ESL classrooms focus on developing English language skills while learning core academic subjects.
ESL classes are taught in English. ESL teachers use teaching strategies that make language understandable for all students, regardless of proficiency level and promote language development while using the grade level curriculum.
ESL classrooms focus on the four domains of language acquisition: listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
The ESL Programs in District 300 provide support in a variety of ways, including resource services, self-contained classes, or integrated classes.
Students in the ESL Program receive support in their English development that is gradually released as the child attains higher levels of proficiency.
In elementary schools, ESL students are in a general education class and receive language support through the ESL teacher for 30-45 minutes daily.
In middle school and high school, a sheltered instruction approach is used to teach both language and content simultaneously.
ESL classrooms are interactive, engaging, and promote the use of language to promote language acquisition.
How do we know EL students are making progress?
All English Learners (grades K-12) are assessed annually for English proficiency growth and academic progress. The ACCESS test is used to assess English language proficiency while the IAR test is used to assess academic achievement in English.
District 300 uses a variety of academic measures to monitor progress of all learners. In order to make sure students are on track with their learning, District 300 uses local assessments to measure growth. EL and general education teachers work collaboratively to make sure students are making their yearly growth targets.
How long does it take to learn another language?
It typically takes between 5-7 academic years to learn another language (Collier, V.P, & Thomas, W.P, 1997). Every child is different and regardless of the type of EL Program they are enrolled in, it can take five years or less for students with a strong foundation in their native language to learn another language and up to nine years or more for students who do not possess a strong understanding of their native language.
There are four major components that drive language acquisition for school: sociocultural, linguistic, academic, and cognitive processes. For students with a primary language other than English, these interdependent processes---cognitive, academic, and linguistic development---must occur in a supportive sociocultural environment through both their first language and their second language to enhance student learning (Collier, V.P, & Thomas, W.P, 2007). The scope of District 300’s ESL Program adheres to these principles.
Director of EL Services
and World Languages