English Learners (EL)

The English Learners program is designed to build proficiency in English as a learning language for students who have a different first or home language.  The areas of focus in achieving proficiency are reading, listening, writing and speaking. While many students quickly acquire basic oral language or “survival English,” it can take up to 9 years to fully develop the language used in the classroom for academic tasks and the corresponding skills needed to match those of their naive speaking peers.  Second language acquisition is a process, and each student’s diverse background brought to this process results in gaining proficiency at different paces, with different struggles, and using non traditional measurements of growth. 

The ultimate goal of the program is for students to demonstrate a mastery proficiency level on the LAS Links (Connecticut’s standardized measurement of second language proficiency) which is administered annually. The first step in reaching this goal is to ensure students’ cultural and language backgrounds, as well as learning styles, are valued and promoted to ensure a nurturing and safe learning environment in which all students can find measures of their successes. Each class session, students are encouraged to use English as much as possible in all of these areas while using their first language for support. Individual personal experiences are discussed often and used to create meaningful connections to both content and language objectives in the classroom through student centered and project based learning. 

At Chippens Hill Middle School, students have arrived from countries all over the world including Brazil, Iraq, Pakistan, China, Egypt, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Peru, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, and Jordan, just to name a few.  Each student brings with them diverse cultures, traditions and languages along with unique background experiences to share with our growing community.


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