English Proficiency

What is English as a Second Language (ESL)? It is a system of instruction that enables English Language Learners (ELLs) to acquire both interpersonal communication skills and academic proficiency in spoken and written English. In Burnham Wood Family of Schools, we use the pull-out approach to ESL instruction.

What is ESL pull out? ESL pull out Is a model for educating ELLs where English is used 90-100% of the time, but it may include first language support. ELLs are pulled out of the regular classroom for 30 to 45 minutes of ESL two or three times a week depending on level of proficiency (levels are 1=non-English speaker, 2=limited English speaker, and 3=intermediate English speaker). Students remain in the program until they can perform in a manner comparable to the native English speakers in the regular classroom. Teachers working with these groups must be certified in ESL. The goals of the program are to help the students assimilate and achieve a level of proficiency in English where they can perform in a mainstream classroom. At Burnham Wood Charter School District, this model is used at both the elementary and secondary school level.

Are the teachers servicing ELLs in Burnham Wood Family of Schools ESL-Certified? Yes they are. All ESL teachers in the Burnham Wood Family of Charter Schools are appropriately state-certified and highly-pqualified as per NCLB standards.

What do ESL-Certified Classroom Teachers do? They teach content area subjects to ELLs using methods, strategies, and approaches that help make lessons comprehensible. We use Sheltered English within a Structured Immersion instructional format. In a Structured Immersion format teachers deliver instruction adapted to the students needs and set the pace according to their academic levels.

What if there is more than one foreign language spoken in the classroom? This is the case in most schools in Burnham Wood Family of Schools. Our teachers use Sheltered English Instruction (SIOP) where meaning is conveyed through simplified oral language, gestures, body language, visual aids, demonstrations and hands-on experience.

What is Sheltered English Instruction? Sheltered English Instruction is an approach for teaching ELLs using specific methods to ensure that students understand the content while expanding their English language development. Since all instruction is in English, teachers need to make some adjustments so that the lesson is comprehensible to ELLs.

Who teaches the sheltered English classes and how? At Burnham Wood Family of Schools, all teachers who have ELLs in their rosters receive in-service training in sheltering the instruction for these students. Professional Development on best practices to help ELLs succeed academically is ongoing.