Chittenden South Supervisory Union ELL Program
English Language Learners comprise an increasing segment of the student population in Chittenden South. ELL enrollment has grown in every school in our supervisory union since 2003 with student numbers increasing from 14 to 114 students over 8 years, an average increase of 22%.
The six CSSU ELL teachers are certified ELL instructors and are trained to develop appropriate programs and interventions as well as provide individual, small group and in-class instruction to ELL students throughout the school day. Students from families that have recently arrived in the United States and speak no English receive intensive individual support while those who have been in American schools and part of an ELL program for several years receive ongoing instructional services in varied formats ranging from individual, small group, and support within the regular classroom. ELL students’ English language acquisition is specifically assessed using a national test called the WIDA. Scheduling ELL instruction and assessment, arranging for interpreting at parent conferences, and supporting homework completion and social adjustment are a few of the additional complexities ELL teachers address.
Additionally, ELL teachers foster awareness of English Language Learners throughout the school and encourage general education teachers to take part in professional development related to ELL. An overarching goal of the CSSU ELL Program is to inform all educators including regular education generalists, content area teachers, special educators, guidance, and administrators about the unique needs of ELL students and best practice instruction that enhances learning for both regular education students as well as ELL students.
Moving from a supervisory union that once had just a few ELL students to our current numbers presents both challenges and rewards. Once it was the sole job of the ELL teacher to acculturate and tutor the ELL student, now the whole school is involved and shares the educational responsibility of our ELL population. In the end, everyone benefits from the rich blend of cultural heritage and family tradition shared in a classroom setting and we find new meaning in the wise words, "it takes a village".