Our ELD Teachers
Who teaches the ELD courses?
Specific English courses for ELs are taught by certified ELD/ESL teachers. The district also employs highly qualified paraeducators to assist with our ELs in schools with significant EL population. The paraeducators support students with monitoring and extra tutoring in the classroom, if needed.
Do ELD teachers speak several language?
Although the NSD student population includes students who speak several primary languages other than English, ELD teachers do not speak several languages. In fact, ELD teachers are not required to speak any other language other than English. Our ELD teachers are highly qualified English teachers with an understanding of multicultural education and language acquisition.
ELD courses adopt the language-immersion philosophy of teaching, which says that a new language is best acquired by speaking only that language in the classroom. Students in our ELD courses are required to practice their English skills by speaking only English in the classroom. If a student’s primary language is Spanish, clarification may be offered in Spanish if the bilingual aide is available.
When vital information must be communicated to EL students and/or their parents, the district makes every effort to communicate in the student's primary language, either verbally (through the paraeducator or other translator) or in written form.
How are English Language Learners served?
Placement in ELD is determined primarily through WIDA’S ELD standards-based placement and proficiency testing. The EL student is required by law to take the WIDA ACCESS test each school year, regardless of whether he/she has ever been or is currently enrolled in an ELD course. Other considerations for placement are student's previous grades, previous coursework, and teacher observations.
Language develops across different levels of language proficiency. WIDA’s standards framework distinguishes five levels of language proficiency, defined by specific criteria. The levels are 1-Entering, 2-Emerging, 3-Developing, 4-Expanding, 5- Bridging, and 6- Reaching. Level 6, Reaching, represents the end of the continuum rather than another level of language proficiency. The ELD specialist in each building will provide classroom/homeroom teachers with an Individual Academic Plan (IAP) for each English learner. The IAP describes student demographics, language proficiency levels in reading, writing, listening, and speaking, suggested accommodations, and goals specific to proficiency level.
In our commitment to serving all students equitably, NSD has devised a Master Plan for English Learners utilizing WIDA ELD Standards in tandem with Missouri’s standards for ELA/Literacy and other content specific standards. This commitment to a standards-based approach makes clear the need to provide a comprehensive, consistent and coordinated program of instruction to support students in achieving proficiency in all content areas, thus preparing all of our students with a strong foundation of skills and knowledge to succeed in their educational pursuits.
To accomplish this goal for our ELs, the NSD offers Integrated ELD, Designated ELD, Content-based and language intensive pull-out, and sheltered content classes based on the student’s proficiency level.
WIDA ELD Standards
At the core of WIDA’s Framework are the Performance Definitions along with the Language Development Standards and their representative Matrices. The Performance Definitions delineate what the various levels of language proficiency look like, informed by the Features of Academic Language.
The Standards Matrices help educators envision what language development might look like in PreK-12 classrooms scaffolded across levels of language proficiency within the five standards. These matrices are used in conjunction with the Performance Definitions to describe possible student trajectories for academic language development.
The components of WIDA’s Framework interact and influence each other in the design of curricula language instruction, and assessment of language learners. Teachers and school leaders are encouraged to emphasize specific elements of the Framework in their language instruction to fit the specific needs of individual students and contexts. In doing so, all stakeholders can participate in shaping the education of our increasingly diverse population.
Integrated ELD will occur throughout the day for all grade levels and content areas to meet the needs of all students enrolled in the NSD. Teachers will use the WIDA ELD Standards in tandem with Missouri’s standards for ELA/Literacy and other content specific standards to support students in learning rich content and developing advanced levels of English. All educators have a responsibility to support ELs with integrated ELD learning during all learning periods. During integrated ELD blocks content area learning should be the primary goal, but we should intentionally provide ELD support through strategies such as sentence frames, oral rehearsal and comprehensive academic vocabulary. Learning should center around collaborative conversation and require all learners to regularly use speaking and listening skills. Facilitators provide explicit support for all students in acquiring the language needed to comprehend and express understanding of grade-level work. ELD learning standards should be evident in lesson planning during both integrated and designated ELD blocks. This model insures that all learning facilitators offer intentional English language support to all learners at all times. In support of this goal, NSD will ensure that all teachers engage in ongoing professional development in designing rigorous content-based standards aligned units and lessons which adhere to the principles of effective instructional experiences.
Effective instructional experiences for ELs throughout the day and across the disciplines:
- are interactive and engaging, meaningful and relevant, and intellectually rich and challenging
- are appropriately scaffolded in order to provide strategic support that moves learners toward independence
- build both content knowledge and academic English
- value and build on primary language and culture and other forms of prior knowledge
(Anstrom, and others 2010; August and Shanahan 2006; Francis, and others 2006; Genesee, and others 2006; Short and Fitzsimmons 2007)
Designated ELD will meet the needs of ELs with proficiency levels 4 and above who have not yet qualified to exit the ELD program. These students will be placed into designated classrooms with teachers who use the WIDA ELD Standards during a protected 20-30 daily block of time each day. Teachers will build into and from content instruction in order to develop critical English language skills, knowledge, and abilities needed for content learning in English. Speaking and listening activities should represent at least 50% of the learning session. Content standards can be utilized during this session but only as a supporting role in the development of English language skills. The goal of the session is to increase English proficiency, not necessarily to master non-ELD content standards. In support of this goal, NSD will ensure that all teachers engage in ongoing professional development in designing rigorous content-based standards aligned units and lessons in which language is the focus. ELD Specialist will collaborate with the classroom teacher and may occasionally push-in the classroom for added support. Lesson design will adhere to the principles of effective instructional features of Designated ELD Instruction as outlined below.
Essential Features of Designated ELD Instruction:
- Intellectual Quality
- Academic English Focus
- Extended Language Interactions: during designated ELD, there is a strong emphasis on oral language development. Ample opportunities for students to communicate in meaningful ways using English is central. As students progress along the ELD continuum, these activities should also increase in sophistication.
- Focus on Meaning
- Focus on Forms
- Planned and Sequenced Lesson Events
- Scaffolding: Teachers contextualize language instruction, build on background knowledge, and provide the appropriate level of scaffolding based on individual differences and needs. Scaffolding is both planned in advance and provided just in time.
- Clear language objectives: Lessons are designed using the ELD Standards as the primary standards and are grounded in the appropriate content standard.
- Corrective Feedback: Teachers provide students with judiciously selected corrective feedback on language usage in ways that are transparent and meaningful to students. Overcorrection or arbitrary corrective feedback is avoided.
- Formative Assessment Practices: Teachers frequently monitor student progress through informal observations and ongoing formative assessment practices, and they analyze student writing, work samples, and oral language production in order to prioritize student instructional needs.