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What Is AMSA's English Language Learner (ELL) Program?

What does ELL mean?
ELL or EL refers to English Language Learner, and is the primary term used at AMSA.
Another common term used within the field is ESL – English as a Second Language – and refers to the subject itself. Additionally, FEL (Former English Learner) and FLEP (Former Limited English Proficient) are used when a student gains proficiency in English and is officially exited from the program.

What percentage of AMSA students are in the ELL program?
The 2019-2020 ELL student population is 2.5% at AMSA.

What languages other than English are spoken by AMSA students?
The most common is Portuguese, but Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, and various Indian dialects are spoken by ELLs and their families.

How are students enrolled in the English Language Learner program?
All families complete a Home Language Survey upon enrollment at AMSA. Students identified as ELL are then given an initial language assessment and dependent on their scores, they may be recommended for ELL support services.

What kinds of backgrounds do AMSA ELL students come from?
AMSA ELLs come from a wide range of multilingual backgrounds and experiences, including but not limited to those who:
•  Recently immigrated to the U.S.
•  Have grown up with a home-language other than English.
•  Feel more comfortable expressing themselves in a language other than English.
•  Are able to express themselves fluently or near-fluently in daily English conversation, and require support with the English of academics.

What happens in the ELL classes?
ELL classes meet every other day. The goal of ELL class is the improvement of foundational English language skills with a focus on academic reading and writing skills.
Classes focus on the understanding and conveying of conversational and academic thought in all four English language domains – reading, writing, listening and speaking – through:

  • Provided environments that allow opportunity for students to make meaning out of content.
  • Activities focusing on increasing English vocabulary, grammar and comprehension.
  • Transference and improvement of critical-thinking skills.
  • Connecting learning to real-life situations and student interests.

How do ELL classes help students in real-life situations?
ELL helps students improve the everyday language skills needed to communicate socially and navigate academic language seen in their classes at AMSA and beyond. Academic language refers to the language that may be subject specific: such as essay writing, completing a complex mathematical equation, or comprehending a lab report.

How do classroom teachers and ELL teachers collaborate to ensure student progress?
Classroom teachers and ELL teachers form a regular collaborative relationship to best aid students, who are closely monitored. The ELL director and teachers meet as needed to discuss any concerns.

How long are students in ELL program?
Students take a standardized language assessment in January (occasionally February) of each year. Qualified exit from the program is partially dependent on scores received on this assessment, in conjunction with class progress and teacher recommendations. Students either continue in the program or qualify for exit status. When students exit the program, they are reclassified as FLEP/FEL and formally monitored for 4 years (or until graduation).

What if a student does not make expected progress in the ELL program?
Students who do not meet their ELL targets (set by the state) are given Second Language Education Plans. These are individualized plans that include 2-3 language goals that are shared with all teachers.

Who should parents contact with any questions about AMSA’s ELL program?
Please contact Kate Lee, ELL Director, at k.lee@amsacs.org.

ELL
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