English Language Development (ELD)
The K-12 English Language Development (ELD) Program of the Elizabethtown Area School District provides students with a planned program to facilitate the acquisition of English language skills and provide an instructional program appropriate to the student's developmental and instructional level. The curriculum and instruction address the PA Core Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening and the Pennsylvania English Language Development Standards (PA ELDS) for ELs. Program eligibility requirements are as follows:
- Have acquired a language other than English as their first language.
- Come from a home where a language other than English is spoken.
- Speak with family and peers in a language other than English.
- Have an English language proficiency level below that of their peers.
Mission and Vision
The MISSION of the District's ELD program is as follows:
- Ensure that English learners meet rigorous core curriculum standards and achieve high levels of academic success.
The VISION of the District's EDL program is to recognize English learners and their families as cultural and linguistic assets to our educational community.
Plan of Action/Educational Goals
The program addresses two components in language acquisition: 1)the acculturation and basic survival skills needed by newcomers to the language and 2) the academic support necessary for their continued success in their regular content area subjects. The underlying objective of the newcomer curriculum is to provide a source of support as the student seeks to adapt to their new culture and academic setting. Emphasis is on the survival skills needed for basic interpersonal communication (BICS) and acculturation. For students who have moved beyond the need for basic communication skills, the curriculum addresses more cognitive and academic language proficiency (CALP). All teachers work to individualize instruction appropriate to each student's needs.
The ELD program aims to provide instruction and support for the EL student for as long as it takes to reach the level of English proficiency required for success in the academic setting and in life beyond formal schooling. Lessons are centered around reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. In addition, students are assessed yearly with the WIDA ACCESS exam. This is the designated state-mandated assessment to monitor language growth.
The elementary program is a pull-out program for English language instruction. At the secondary level, the program is based on the needs of each student. Some students may receive sheltered English instruction, while others may participate in regular English classes and receive language acquisition support in collaboration with content area teachers. At the elementary level, students meet one-on-one with the teacher or in small groups to work on English language skills, depending on their grade and proficiency level. No grade is given, although the ELD teacher maintains an open line of communication with the parents. At both levels, various materials are utilized for instruction to provide a program that integrates language development and content while accelerating academic language acquisition and developing transferable academic skills.
According to current PA Department of Education guidelines, students are included in all district-wide assessments, including the PSSA and Keystone Exams. Appropriate accommodations are provided. Additionally, the WIDA ACCESS exam is used to assess students yearly for language proficiency growth.
Students participating in the ELD program are required, with accommodations, to meet established academic standards and graduation requirements adopted by the Board. Although the ELD program provides instruction that meets each student's needs based on their language proficiency level, all classroom teachers also provide adequate content area support while the student is learning English to ensure achievement of academic standards.
During the initial periods of language acquisition and development, classroom teachers may opt to grade ELL students on a pass/fail basis. Otherwise, EL students receive the same grade format as their peers in their respective buildings.
Parents of ELs are regularly apprised of their student's progress, and school communications are in the language understood by the parents whenever possible. In addition, parents and students are entitled to have a translator/interpreter with them at conferences.
EL students in the district have full access to all academic programs with accommodations for their English language proficiency level, including the Career and Technology Center, Advanced Placement, and gifted programs. In addition, they have equal access to all technology, college and career guidance, counseling and related services, and extracurricular programs.
Professional Development/Professional Staff
All Elizabethtown faculty are in-serviced or provided access to professional development in ELD instructional techniques or strategies, methodology, accommodations, language acquisition, culture, and the legal rights and responsibilities of the school toward ELs and their families. In addition, a certified teacher holding a PA ELD Program Specialist Certification supervises the ELD program of instruction.
The Elizabethtown ELD Program is evaluated on an ongoing basis to ensure program effectiveness and improve program implementation.