Elementary EL Program
Intermediate School District 287 offers a variety of EL programs for students of limited English proficiency. The primary purpose of our EL Department is to create a strong academic environment that enables students to become proficient in English. Licensed EL teachers help children develop a strong language base that allows them to function in multiple settings. The program focuses on developing oral proficiency with the integration of reading and writing as students move through the various stages of language acquisition.
Our instructional model emphasizes learning language through content. EL teachers help students build a foundation of content knowledge, academic problem-solving skills, and language proficiency. This foundation helps ELs access academic content in their grade-level classes. EL, Special Education, and content area teachers collaborate and coordinate curriculum to reinforce content and language taught in both learning environments. Content-based text series have been adopted at all grade levels (K-12) to support this model. ISD 287 has adopted a standards-based EL curriculum called Reach (National Geographic).
The ISD 287 EL Program has established guidelines for direct English instruction for all grade levels. Less proficient students receive more hours of instruction than those who are more proficient. More specifically, Beginning and Emerging EL students in grades K-5 receive approximately 120-180 minutes of English instruction per week, while Intermediate and Advanced ELs receive approximately 120 minutes of English instruction per week.
ISD 287 has developed a balanced approach to servicing ELs that includes a number of instructional models:
- English Language Development Classes: Some elementary EL students leave their classes for focused English instruction in a self-contained class specifically designed for ELs. Teachers work with the case manager and classroom instructor to schedule time for EL instruction. Advantages of this instructional model include lower student to teacher ratios, narrow range of proficiency levels, tailored instruction designed for the ELs in the class.
- Co-taught EL Classes: Other elementary EL students receive English instruction within the class. The ISD 287 EL Program has continued to collaborate with grade-level teams to implement co-teaching principles and practices in classes that have EL students. Co-teaching has been shown to be an exceptionally effective instructional approach for ELs and native English-speaking students alike. Co-taught courses are generally based on grade-level standards. All students benefit greatly from the creativity, flexibility and specialized expertise that results from a co-teaching model.