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Bilingual/ESL Department

ESL Mission Statement

 

The goals of Maria L. Varisco-Rogers Charter School Bilingual/English Language Learner Program (BIL/ESL) are to assist students in the acquisition of English and to facilitate cognitive and content area learning. The teaching staff of the BIL/ESL Program articulated their understanding of native language use in the acquisition of English language and academic knowledge and has shared their language practices to arrive at a framework all can work within while meeting the needs of individual students. We sought to reveal gaps in our understanding and practice, and then to reconcile differences within and across all grade levels.  The principal, the Social workers, and other staff members, act as a liaison between the school and home, as well as provide assistance with assisting English Language Learners (ELLs).

 

English Language Learners come from many countries and they enroll in Maria L. Varisco-Rogers Charter School at varying ages, with a range of prior school and language experiences. The use of a student’s native language to acquire English and master academic skills and content knowledge varies accordingly. The teacher’s role is to facilitate genuine interaction among students through classroom activities that are embedded in authentic real-life contexts. Culture is an integral part of learning a new language. Effective and meaningful communication is the ability to use language in culturally sensitive ways. Teaching the everyday culture of native speakers of the language not only makes the language come alive but also fosters respect and appreciation for cultural diversity. Students begin to take pride in becoming bicultural as they learn how to interact with the American culture, without denying their own cultural roots.

 

The English as a Second Language curriculum is based on the Common Core State Standards for English Language Proficiency. The State Standards are derived from the standards developed by the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium. New Jersey standards focus on the use of English to achieve academically in all content areas. Students enrolled in the ESL Program will be tested annually with the ACCESS (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State) for ELL’s language proficiency assessment to determine their levels of English language proficiency.

 

Sheltered Instruction

 

Sheltered instruction is a set of teaching strategies, designed for teachers of academic content, that lower the linguistic demand of the lesson without compromising the integrity or rigor of the subject matter.  It was originally designed for content and classroom teachers who teach in English.  The benefits are for ELL students, as well as native English speakers with a variety of learning styles.  

 

The goal is to make grade-level content standards more accessible for English language learners (ELLs) while they develop and improve their English language proficiency.

 

Teachers at Maria L. Varisco Rogers Charter School  adjust the language demands of the lesson in many ways, such as modifying speech rate and tone, using context clues and models extensively, relating instruction to student experience, adapting the language of texts or tasks, and using certain methods familiar to language teachers (e.g., demonstrations, visuals, graphic organizers, or cooperative work) to make academic instruction more accessible to students of different English proficiency levels.

 

All teachers at MLVRCS receive Sheltered English Instruction Training.