This review was conducted by the New Jersey Department of Education: 2008 - 2009 This post includes the state's recommendations for improving the achievement of Dwight Morrow High School students in the area of ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS..
The NJ State Dept. of Ed. recommendation for Dwight Morrow High School: ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS.
1. Intake processes for new entrant students should include an assessment of their basic skills in
their native languange to assure the appropriate placement of LEP students in courses for which they are prepared. It will also help the administration to plan for LEP students' changing needs.
2. As the school plans to expand the math block for entering 9th grade students without the foundation skills needed to be successful in algebra, the ELL student population should be offered the same opportunity to receive this block that includes instruction in basic skillas as well as algebra concepts. Likewise, extended ESL (e.g., Civics ESL) for the purpose of familiarizing ELL students with local, county, and state government and policies may serve to facilitate students' knowledge and accelerate integration into the American society. Additionally, these services may also assist with ELL language and educational gaps.
3. ACCESS results show the need for a special focus on the speaking subtest. The school should assure that this key skill subset is fully addressed in the new curriculum review project this summer. Also, as the curriculum is reviewed, it should be realigned not only with the WIDA standards but also with the state's language arts literacy standards.
4. The school should develop an ongoing data bank regarding the ELL population to help plan services for this student group. The data collected should include, but not be limited to, the following enrollment trends, native assessment as indicated above, tracking of former ELLs, student performance in the content areas both in bilingual classes and in general classes, ACCESS analysis, and cross-content needs.
5. The school is encouraged to review texts, supplemental materials, and programs available to support the revised ESL curriculum.
6. There is need for greater rigor and higher expectations for ELL student writing.
Where does one start?
- Test English Language learners when they register in their own language. Very valuable. How can you determine what students know without this test? It is all about what students know and not about preconceived ideas. Might this be a reason why so many students end up in Special Ed or just socially promoted on? It must be determined what students know in their native language before trying to shove anything else into their heads.
- Including English Language learners in any effort to help students lacking foundation skills in Mathematices is also a positive. It is interesting that Civics is listed as a suggestion. I see very little focus on Civics for even English speaking students born in the US. They all need it. All students need a knowledge of local, county, state, and federal government policies. This might help them understand the importance of being a registered voter and nurture more spirited American citizens.
- A special focus on the Speaking subtest. More attention must be given to ELL students actually learning to speak English. This is the language of American Standardized Tests, Drivers licenses, Citizenship papers, SAT's etc.
- Develop an ongoing data bank regarding ELL. Why is the District not doing this already? How are we determining which programs work and which do not?
- Has the Districi reviewed texts, supplemental materials, and programs available to support the revised ESL curriculum? Was the curriculum revised, or was this just something they said they were going to do because the State was asking?
- Rigor. Again we see this word. What does it mean in educational talk? Just how involved are teachers and students with the task at hand? Do they all have a burning desire to know?
WIDA - is a consortium of states dedicated to the design and implementation of high standards and equitable educational opportunities for English language learners.WIDA educational products and services fall into three main categories: standards and assessments, professional development for educators, and research.
The WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards are recognized worldwide for their innovative approach to measuring academic language development in English. From those standards, various WIDA assessments have been developed to evaluate student progress according to the WIDA proficiency scale, including ACCESS for ELLs® which is administered annually in consortium member states to comply with federal accountability requirements in the United States.
WIDA - ACCESS for ELLs - ACCESS stands for Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners. This large-scale test addresses the academic English language proficiency (ELP) standards at the core of the WIDA Consortium's approach to instructing and evaluating the progress of English language learners. To alleviate any confusion, the WIDA ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT)™, more aptly known as a screening tool, has a different purpose and format from the ACCESS test. To understand the relationship between the two tests, see Comparing W-APT and ACCESS for ELLs.
I purposely left this area for last because it is the area that the system seems least able to deal with. Much of this ineptness may be attributed to the fact that few people are willing to learn about others. In a town where there are so many cultures living together we must learn to respect each other. A proud showing of the flag of each person's country should be prominently displayed somewhere on school property. In my old school each student was represented by the flag of the country from which he originated. The principal ordered a new one everytime someone else registered and made sure that person did not feel left out. But alas, even there individuality seems fleeting since the flags are no longer displayed and the different groups are drifting apart again. At least, they still inhabit the same physical building. Divisiveness is doing irreversible harm to our town and the overall morale on our high school campus.