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 New Jersey Student Learning 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.