In alignment to District 300’s mission, to provide engaging and inclusive educational experiences that empower and equip all students to discover, innovate, and succeed now and in the future, the English Learners department in District 300 is to ensure that linguistically diverse students are provided quality education that will enable them to attain English proficiency, achieve academically, and continuously strive to eliminate the achievement gap within a socially, linguistically and culturally supportive environment.
Overview of Grade Levels:
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 the content area of English Language Arts.
In middle schools, a sheltered instruction approach is used to teach both language and content simultaneously. Students are in a sheltered English Language Arts class with an ESL teacher depending on their schedule. Students that are not taught in a sheltered instruction approach are provided language support by the ESL teacher. The amount of minutes a student is seen by the ESL teacher is dependent on their level of language proficiency.
In high schools, a sheltered instruction approach is used to teach both language and content simultaneously. Students are in a sheltered English Language Arts class with an ESL teacher.
Director of EL Services
and World Languages
About The English Learners Program
Serving more than 4,000 students district-wide, District 300 English Learners Programs aim to ensure that all linguistically diverse students receive a quality education that enables them to succeed academically, close the achievement gap, and attain proficiency in English and Spanish within a culturally supportive environment.
On Being Bilingual
District 300 believes in developing the whole child. And, we believe that language and literacy, embedded into a rigorous and relevant curriculum, are integral components to achieve this goal. All students need fully developed capacities to read, write, speak, listen, and use language strategically and effectively. As our world becomes more global and connected, the development of language and literacy skills in both English and a second language provides significant educational and career advantages.
The demographics of our district provide a rich environment to foster linguistic and cultural appreciation. In addition, we believe in a strong family and school connection that is built on the talents our students bring into the classroom that will produce individuals who proudly identify themselves as bilingual, billiterate, and multicultural.
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. Both EL and general education teachers work collaboratively to ensure students are meeting 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 EL Programs adheres to these principles.