What is the ESL Program?
The mission of the English as a Second Language (ESL) program is to provide support and instruction in the English language, American culture, and academic areas for English Language Learners (ELLs), which will enable them to become successful in the mainstream classroom, the schools, and the community.
Who is eligible for ESL?
All students of Salisbury Township School District who first spoke, or speak, languages other than English, or come from homes where languages other than English are spoken, as determined by the Home Language Survey, will be eligible for ESL services. Language assessments and academic records are utilized to determine English proficiency.
What are the goals and objectives of the ESL program?
Goals and objectives of the ESL program are to provide appropriate instruction and support services to enable students to achieve English proficiency and the academic standards as established by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This includes instruction in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Cultural norms that support the learning of English as well as content relevant vocabulary and concepts are taught where appropriate. Students can then achieve proficient language development and academic skills.
How can parents and guardians help?
To help students succeed, school attendance and parental support are very important factors. Students should be in school, and on time, unless illness or family concerns prevent this. Assigned homework should be completed to the best of each student's ability.
Process for ESL Services
When a new student registers in the Salisbury Township School District along with the district registration form, parents/guardians also complete a Home Language Survey. This form is required by the state of Pennsylvania for all newly enrolled students. The Home Language Survey includes four questions pertaining to a student's language. All students whose first language is other than English, or who come from homes where languages other than English are spoken are eligible for screening for ESL services. Language assessments and academic records are utilized to determine English proficiency.
One of the ESL district specialists will screen students using the WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT) within fourteen days of a student's start date. The four language domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing are assessed in English. The results are used to determine a student’s English language proficiency level and to see if the student qualifies for ESL services.
The state of Pennsylvania uses the WIDA Consortium's six levels of Language Proficiency in the four language domains.
- Level 1- Entering
- Level 2- Beginning
- Level 3- Developing
- Level 4- Expanding
- Level 5- Bridging
- Level 6- Reaching
Once a student has been screened and entered into the Salisbury Township ESL program, the ESL Specialist in the student's building will meet with the student on a regularly-scheduled basis. They will provide instruction in the four language domains of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students will be instructed at their language proficiency level and monitored closely in their general education classes.
Each school year, the language proficiency of an ESL student is determined using a standardized -state assessment called the WIDA-ACCESS. This test, which assesses the four language domains, is taken by all English Language Learners in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at all proficiency levels. The assessment is used to monitor a student's English proficiency growth from one school year to the next, as well as to determine a student's eligibility for exiting the program. The assessment is broken down into three tiers: A, B and C. The score that the student receives on the previous school year's assessment determines a student's tier. If a student scores a 5.0 on tier C of the WIDA-ACCESS, they are considered for possible exit from the ESL program. Once exited, students will be monitored for two years.