If you’ve ever wondered how Geary County School USD 475 provides assistance to English language learners, look no further. Susan Pender, ELL Coordinator for Geary County Schools USD 475 explains the program here on connectED. For readers who are more comfortable reading in another language, connectED can be easily translated by using the Google Translation feature which is integrated into this website (as well as other district websites). To change the language of this website click on the drop-down menu of languages in the sidebar.
Services for students with limited English language proficiency are provided through the district the English Language Learner (ELL) program. Parents fill out a home language survey when they enroll their child. Based on these results, students are screened for English language proficiency. If they do not meet the state criteria for English proficiency, they can receive English language assistance through the district ELL program.
Currently, English language services are provided to identified pre-school students at the Early Childhood Center, Child Development Center (Fort Riley) and Early Childhood classrooms at Washington, Jefferson, and Morris Hill Elementary. ELL teachers work directly with students and native language support is provided whenever possible.
Non-English speaking students at the kindergarten and first-grade level have the opportunity to be in the sheltered classrooms in Junction City and Fort Riley. The kindergarten and first-grade “sheltered” classrooms are comprised of one teacher to a maximum of fifteen students with a full-time bilingual aide for continuous language support. Research confirms that English language development for students in this setting occurs at a much more rapid rate than those students immersed in the regular classroom.
For the second through fifth-grade students, bilingual aides again provide language support within the classroom. ELL teachers work directly with classroom teachers to make curricular adaptations, as well as provide tutoring to fill academic gaps.
At the middle school level, ELL teachers work with counselors to place ELL students on designated teams. Non-English speaking students are enrolled in a Newcomers class focusing on English academic vocabulary and comprehension skills. This is a small group setting with a teacher trained in specific ELL learning strategies. The limited English students are placed on designated teams with ELL Aides providing native language support to help make connections in both English and the student’s first language.
At Junction City High School, counselors again work with ELL teachers to place students in required classes and coordinate ELL aide support. Non-English speaking students are enrolled in ELL Newcomers English 1/ELL 1 Lab, which is taught at both the Career Campus and the Freshman Success Academy. ELL Newcomers English II is an extension of the English I classes and focuses on continued vocabulary development and writing skills. The goal is to help ELL students become comfortable in all areas within and outside of the academic setting to increase English language proficiency. These classes are specifically designed to develop students’ oral language abilities and literacy skills.
At all levels, translation is provided for parents during parent-teacher conferences and at school-related meetings and functions. Report cards, school newsletters, teacher notes and other academic information is translated for parents.
ELL students are a valuable part of the diverse fabric that makes up USD 475. The English Language Learner Program strives to assist students and families, facilitate success for each ELL student and encourage the preservation of the student’s native language.
Article provided by Susan Pender, ELL Coordinator for Geary County Schools USD 475