Vision: Equip English Learners (ELs) with the language skills needed for success in the mainstream classroom. We value each student's home language and culture. We believe that collaboration with other teachers, parents, and our community empowers English Learners to reach academic success.
Academic Language is the language typically found in textbooks, used daily in classrooms, and presented on tests. It is the language that students must master in order to succeed in any content area, such as science, social studies, language arts, or math. Mastering Academic Language is a challenge for all students. Any student may struggle with tasks that require proficiency with Academic Language.. Research clearly shows that it is especially challenging for students with limited exposure to that language outside of school. More specifically, Academic Language proficiency is believed to be one of the most important factors in the academic success of English Learners (ELs).
Academic Language generally refers to language that is necessary for learners to perform successfully in academic contexts. In the late 1970s, Jim Cummins helped to focus educational research on a distinction between English spoken in classrooms and English spoken on the playground - Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) and Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS). As students learn English, it is critical that language instruction is centered on the Academic Language of content areas, where students make use of specialized vocabulary, grammar, language functions and structures, and text types.
In District 112, Academic Language, the language that is used by teachers and students for the purpose of acquiring new information, is taught directly. This kind of language differs in many ways from social language. It is more difficult and takes longer to learn. It is less interactive and has fewer context clues to assist meaning. Academic language has very specific purposes such as describing abstract ideas and concepts. Students who are proficient in Academic Language will be much better equipped to acquire new knowledge through reading and listening, and to express this knowledge and their ideas through oral discussions, writing and test taking.
Minnesota is part of the World Class Instructional Design and Assessment Consortium (WIDA).
ACCESS for ELs:
- The ACCESS test is an online English language proficiency assessment given annually to identified EL students in grades K-12. Students are assessed in the four language domains of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students' English proficiency levels from the ACCESS will be used to determine what EL support services the student will receive at school.
- The WIDA Screener is an English Proficiency Placement test given to incoming students who have a home language other than English. This test helps identify and place ELs.
WIDA MODEL (Measure of Developing English Language):
- The MODEL is an English Proficiency Placement test given to young students who have a home language other than English.
To learn more visit the Minnesota Department of Education's English Learner Page. http://www.education.state.mn.us/MDE/JustParent/EngLearn/index.html
Our elementary EL program creates a strong academic environment that allows students to become proficient in English. This is achieved by a variety of pull-out, push-in, co-teaching, and/or content classroom support that best meets an individual student's needs.
K-5 Elementary EL Program accelerates English Language learning through the use and application of the following principles:
- Helping students develop proficiency all four language skills - reading, writing, speaking, and listening - interdependently, but at different rates and in different ways.
- Providing explicit instruction in learning Academic Language and academic content knowledge.
- Enhancing access to instructional tasks requiring complex thinking by matching language support to individual student levels of language proficency.
- Using authentic literature to build the vocabulary and background knowledge needed to comprehend the challenging language of the classroom
- Acknowledging and respecting each student's language, culture, and values.
District Education Center
Bluff Creek Elementary
Students qualify for EL (English Language) program when:
1. The student is new to District 112, AND the student's family speaks another language at home, AND an English Language Proficiency test (WIDA Screener or MODEL) indicates a need for support.
2. The decision for EL program qualification is also supported by additional evidence such as previous schooling in English or another language, recommendations from previous teachers, the child's Home Language Questionnaire, or any of the recommendation criteria as determined by District 112 (MAP/MCA scores).
WIDA is a consortium of states dedicated to the design and implementation of high standards and equitable educational opportunities for English Language Learners. Everything WIDA does revolves around the significance of academic language and how to empower language learners to reach for success.
WIDA supports academic language development and academic achievement for linguistically diverse students through high quality Enlish Language Development standards, Can-Do Descriptors, ACCESS for ELLs, and other assessments for grades K-12.
Learn more here: www.wida.us