At Roosevelt Elementary School we believe that language is transdisciplinary. Therefore, all teachers are language teachers and all students are academic language learners. Language and communication are the keys to sharing experiences, knowledge, emotions, and interactions. We respect and honor the cultural beliefs, attitudes, and perspectives as expressed through the language of our students and families.
Language acquisition and refinement are ongoing processes that need to be nurtured. It is important that our staff members use best practices to help develop our learners at every level. Best practices include guided reading, literature circles, Reader’s Workshop, and Writer’s Workshop. Students need ample opportunities to develop their reading, writing, listening, speaking, and viewing skills to help them gain new knowledge and share their thoughts and learning. Technology plays an important role in the development of language skills.
English is the language of instruction at Roosevelt Elementary School. Language and literacy instruction includes careful planning of curriculum to build English Language Arts (ELA) skills in all subject areas. Differentiation is utilized to meet student needs. Instruction using an inquiry-based model allows students opportunities to work both alone and collaboratively in a variety of groups. There are additional staff and support models in place such as Response to Intervention (RtI) for students. Appropriate materials, including the curriculum guides provided through the district, are used for instruction and assessment. The library/media center is a vital resource for both teachers and students. Staff members all respect the mother tongue languages of our students. An area of the library houses materials in the home languages of the students who are not native speakers of English. This section of the library is being expanded as funding allows. Communications and documents sent home are available in English and Spanish. Technology is available within the classrooms, the library/media center, and computer labs.
Practices for Language Learners:
Students learn language best when it is delivered in a holistic manner that employs a wide variety of materials and involves authentic experiences. In ELA this would include:
- Print and non-print materials from a variety of genres
- Age-appropriate instruction in phonics and word study
- Focus on vocabulary instruction
- Comprehension strategies
- Differentiation and scaffolding
- Teacher modeling such as think-aloud strategies
- Teacher guided reading
- Authentic writing tasks
- Use of the writing process
- Grammar and mechanics taught in the context of actual writing
- Teacher and peer writing conferences
- Planned, cooperative group structures
- Listening and speaking opportunities in different situations
- Use of visual materials that support written and spoken language
- Use of visual texts such as maps, diagrams, and charts
- Media literacy instruction
- Formative and summative assessments (see Assessment Policy)
English Language Learners (ELL):
Kenosha Area School District through the state of Wisconsin is a member of the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium. Students whose first language is not English are supported in several ways. Roosevelt has a full-time bilingual English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher to assess, teach and/or monitor identified students. Students are assessed once a year using the Assessing Comprehension and Communication State-to-State (ACCESS) for ELLs® to monitor student progress in acquiring academic English skills. Students are assessed in the four domains of English language – listening (understanding), speaking, reading, and writing. All students who come from homes where a language other than English is spoken and whose previous academic performance shows a possible language barrier are screened using one of two possible assessments. Kindergartens and first graders use the MODEL assessment, and students in grades 2-5 are assessed using the W-APT screener. Students who qualify for support through the Language Acquisition Program are clustered in one or two classrooms per grade level (not to exceed 60%) and instruction by the ESL teacher uses both a push-in and pull-out model. The ESL teacher works with the ELL students several times each week. The ESL teacher collaborates with the classroom teachers, providing helpful strategies for use with the ELL students. The ESL teacher also provides support to teachers by being available during parent teacher conferences and Collaborative Student Interventions meetings as needed. The ESL teacher helps with necessary communications both verbally and in writing. Most home/school newsletters and documents are translated into Spanish for the Spanish-speaking community, and the bilingual ESL teacher helps translate the most important communications between teachers and Spanish-speaking families.
“COMMUNICATION is at the heart of Kenosha Unified School District’s world language program, whether the communication takes place face-to-face, in writing, or across centuries through literature. Through the study of a world language, students will gain a knowledge and understanding of the CULTURES of the world; in fact, students cannot truly master a language until they have also mastered the cultural contexts in which the language occurs. Learning any world language provides students with CONNECTIONS to additional bodies of knowledge. Through COMPARISONS and contrasts with a world language, students will develop a greater insight into their own language and culture and realize that there are a multiple of ways of viewing the world. Together, these elements enable students to participate in multilingual COMMUNITIES at home and around the world.” – KUSD
As of the 2016-2017 all students in grades K through 5th grade will participate in Spanish instruction as a world language for 30 – 45 minutes per week. PreK students will participate in Spanish instruction for 20 minutes every other week. The primary focus will be language acquisition, although students will also learn about the cultures of people in Spanish-speaking countries. Teachers will also support Spanish instruction in the classrooms through such strategies as labeling of objects/furniture, posters and charts, and the use of common phrases. The Spanish teacher will connect vocabulary and activities to the Program of Inquiry to support the central ideas and concepts of units developed by the teacher teams.
Implementation and Review:
The Pedagogical Leadership Team accepts responsibility for ensuring that the language policy is put into practice, monitored, and evaluated. The policy will be communicated to parents, and the Library/Media specialist will ensure that it is posted on the school website.
The following IBO documents —
Guidelines for Developing a School Language Policy
Making the PYP Happen: A Curriculum Framework for International Education
Language Scope and Sequence
Language Acquisition Programs/Kenosha Unified School District, http://www.kusd.edu/departments/teaching-and-learning/language-acquisition-programs
ESL/Bilingual Resource Guide for Mainstream Teachers, ESL Dept., Portland Public Schools, Portland, OR