English Language Learner (ELL) Support
The English Language Learner (ELL) program at AUS is designed to provide support to students with limited English proficiency so they can become successful in the English language, both academically and socially. Competency in listening, speaking, reading, writing and comprehension skills are a vital part of the program. Our ELL program’s emphasis is on developing literacy skills and strategies for our students to cope with the core curriculum and content in a language that is not their first (or strongest) language.
Learning a new language follows a certain pattern and is similar to first language development. Every day conversational language is acquired quite quickly; children are usually able to participate in classroom routines and socialize with other children already in their first year of English learning. More complex academic language takes much longer to develop. Research shows that it may take five to seven years for ELL learners to acquire the academic aspects of English to a similar standard as their native-speaking peers.
AUS is a member of the WIDA International School Consortium (WISC). WIDA advances academic language development and academic achievement for linguistically diverse students through high quality standards, assessments, research, and professional development. Our school utilizes the WIDA framework as a guide for language support and assessments. Students who qualify for ELL support services are administered the WIDA MODEL language assessment. This assessment classifies students into 1 of 6 English language proficiency levels. Student’s scores are measured by their performance in four domain: Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing.
Students who perform at a level 1, 2 or 3 receive ELL support during the school day in a standalone course as well as support from ELL staff in select content classes. Student who performs at a level 4, 5, or 6 do not receive separate support; however, our courses at AUS are designed to build and foster academic language during the content instruction. Typically, middle school students do not score below level 3 on the WIDA English Language Proficiency scale. At the end of each academic year, ELL students are given a summative WIDA MODEL assessment to determine their ELL placement or exiting status for the following school year. Students who are exited from the ELL program continue to be monitored by the ELL department for as long as required.