Educational Approach & Principles of Practice Guiding
Atlantic Community School District’s ELL Program:

In order to best serve the needs of English Language Learners, the Atlantic Community School District takes many factors into consideration in order to deliver language services to all English language learners (ELLs) in ways most beneficial to the individual student. While services in each building may vary in appearance due to those factors, the program is designed to meet the individual needs of each ELL through appropriate instruction delivered by quality, trained teachers. Therefore, all grade levels within the district follow a Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) program model and, depending on proficiency and academic level, a differentiated ESL program, as well as native language support, if possible.

All programs should take into consideration TESOL’s PreK-12 English Language Proficiency Standards in the Core Content Areas. Therefore, there are five stages identified upon which all district programs base their teaching strategies: Starting/Pre-functional (ELDA Level 1), Emerging/Beginning (ELDA Level 2), Developing/Intermediate (ELDA Level 3), Expanding/ Advanced Intermediate (ELDA Level 4), and Bridging (ELDA Level 5). Each teacher or paraprofessional instructing an ESL student modifies the core curriculum to meet the language development needs of the individual ESL student. Specific strategies are used to teach a particular content area in ways that are comprehensible to students and that promote their English language development.

All programs should also take into consideration the joinfostering principles of practice, which foster a collaborative learning environment that invites ESL students to participate in and benefit from classroom activities (Faltis, Christian J., 2001, Joinfostering Teaching and Learning in Multilingual Classrooms, Third Edition, Pgs. 2, 3):

  1. Active participation of all students – Enable all students (through invitation and coercion) to participate actively [whether verbally or non-verbally] in social and academic classroom practices;

  2. Social integration to build on prior knowledge – Socially integrate students of diverse language and social backgrounds (using a variety of small-group strategies) to build on the funds of knowledge and interests students bring with them;

  3. Integration of language learning into content activities – Integrate additional language participation strategies (based on what is known about how children become bilingual in school) into all content-learning activities so that as students learn content they also gain proficiency in language;

  4. Participation of family and community – Invite, involve, and build on the participation of families and communities in classroom, school, and neighborhood activities; and

  5. Promotion of critical consciousness – Invite and promote critical consciousness within the classroom, the school, and the community to confront racism, social stratification, and exclusionary practices.

A commitment to these principles of practice requires that teachers think about ways to make classroom practices inviting, authentic, and language-sensitive and to teach in ways that are appropriate to the sociocultural groups represented in our classrooms. It is the individual students who make up our classrooms for which our ELL plan has been developed.