The goal for our ML program is to support our students with developing proficiency in their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in English across all content standards. Our instruction is guided by South Carolina content standards and WIDA English Language Development standards. We firmly believe that all of our English Language Learners are able to succeed academically and linguistically when provided with appropriate academic supports and instructional strategies.
This year, Bluffton Elementary has approximately 180 ESOL students. The two ESOL teachers are directly working with about half of the students via pullout and push-in teaching models as well as continually monitoring all students’ progress to ensure they are successful. They collaborate closely with their colleagues to ensure the students receive appropriate accommodations needed to help them be successful within their mainstream classes.
The majority of our students speak Spanish, but we also have students who speak other languages such as Vietnamese, Bosnian, and Russian. Some of our students were born in this country and have lived here their entire lives, while others have just arrived to our country this year or within the past few years. We love working with such a diverse population of students and believe it helps our school develop a better overall cultural competence.
All potential ESOL students are screened initially with the W-APT Language assessment of English. Subsequently, the students participate in annual ACCESS for ELLs (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners) testing to assess their English proficiency and progress with language acquisition.
Each year, we hold 3 ESOL parent nights to address the needs and concerns of our ELLs and their families. This year, we are overlapping our ESOL nights with other school-wide events in order to bring our ESOL community closer together with the school community as a whole. We believe that family involvement as well as community involvement are crucial aspects to our students’ academic success and overall wellbeing!