NACS ELL/ESL Program
As of this writing, there are over 325 Northwest Allen County students whose home language is not English. Over the past 10 years we have seen a consistent increase in this very diverse population representing 45 spoken languages. Currently we have approximately 110 students receiving language acquisition assistance. Students who qualify for services are selected based on information provided by parents/guardians at time of registration on the Home Language Survey and the results of a language communication and comprehension assessment, W-APT, given within the first 30 days of their enrollment.
LEP (limited English proficient) students whose language proficiency is between Levels 1-4, according to assessment results, are receiving 45 minutes to one hour of daily English language development instruction. Hampton-Brown/National Geographic ESL materials provide the primary foundation for our language acquisition instruction.
In 2012, NACS added an ENL class to its high school offerings. This for credit class, allows LEP students at Levels 1 & 2 to learn English as a foreign language from a certified teacher. Currently two sections are offered. ALL high school, ELL students may also receive additional support from a highly qualified para-professional throughout the school day.
Northwest Allen County Schools is fortunate to have 10 dedicated assistants/teachers providing individual or small group ELL services. ESL staff members receive monthly ELL training and guidance. Once a student has qualified for support services, a team consisting of the classroom teacher, counselor, and ESL staff members meet to create an ILP (individualized learning plan) that guides both classroom instruction and support services. NACS ELL support staff members provide caring and meaningful support for ELL students throughout their academic careers. Many ELL staff and students participate in ELL/ENL Summer Camps offered during the summer break. These themed summer opportunities offer relaxed settings for students to continue development of English language skills.
We currently have 170 classroom teachers whose classrooms include ELL students. All Northwest Allen County teachers have received training on the ELD WIDA Standards and are encouraged to become actively involved in learning new and better instructional strategies for meeting the needs of their EL students. Although the rewards of experiencing a child's excitement in learning a new language are great, providing meaningful educational opportunities for all students within their classrooms can be challenging. Many NACS teachers have received and will continue to be trained to differentiate instruction in order to meet the many levels of ability represented in their classroom of students. In 2012 Northwest Allen began to offer sheltered instruction (SIOP) professional development training to address K-12 classroom teacher ELL instructional practices. Throughout this 12 hour course, teachers develop more awareness of the unique academic needs of ELL students and learn instructional strategies that focus on supporting content comprehension these students in their classroom. Teachers completing the course have access to a dedicated SIOP curriculum coach who provides ongoing support for lesson preparation and delivery.
As previously noted, we have students who would qualify for the ESL program, however have declined services. The language assessment for the majority of these students indicated that they were very close to fluency level (4.5-5). Although not actively participating in support services, their academic progress continues to be closely monitored by school counselors. The educational progress for all qualifying students whether or not they are enrolled is reviewed and monitored throughout each school year and for at least two years after services have ended. Each spring, all students designated as Limited English Proficient (LEP) are given an English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA). The WIDA ACCESS 2.0 assessment is provided by the state and complies with IDOE Title III provisions. Students must receive a score of Level 5 (FEP) to be eligible for exiting from ELL programming. NACS, however, continues to offer English language support as needed, throughout an EL student’s enrollment in our schools. Northwest Allen County Schools takes great pride in the fact that our EL students and corporation has consistently met yearly AMAOs performance targets that are set by the state and are in compliance with federal regulations.
We are now in our eleventh year as an established ELL program. Although NACS has been successful in much of its programming, we are committed to continuous development of even more effective instruction and support for our growing population of ELL students. NACS has met the challenge of creating a program of merit and substance with little or no funding through the sacrifices and efforts of many throughout our corporation. I am grateful for each and every one who has helped make our ELL program a reality.
Northwest Allen County Schools
English Language Learners Support Services Coordinator