Importance of English Language Learners

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Supporting English Language Learners
North Boone School District is located in rural Boone County, Illinois. The district serves approximately 1,700 students. North Boone is a medium district with six schools in the district. There are three K-4 schools, one 5-6 school, one 7-8 school, and one high school. I teach eighth grade mathematics at North Boone Middle School where 6.1% of students are English Language Learners (ELLs) (Illinois Interactive Report Card, n.d.). Our district has one certified bilingual teacher that travels between buildings, and one native language speaking aide at each building.

North Boone Middle School has an enrollment of 19 or fewer English Language Learners of a single language classification other than English. Our school provides a transitional program of instruction (TPI) for those students (Illinois State Board of Education, 2011). The program provides support to help students succeed in academic subjects and learn English. We offer ELLs pull-out and push-in instruction. In the pull-out process, the bilingual certified teacher or the native language speaking aide pulls ELLs out of the mainstream classroom to provide content instruction. In the push-in process, the bilingual certified teacher or the native language speaking aide goes into the mainstream classroom to provide instruction to ELLs. Our school also offers after-school assistance. This assistance is tutorial instruction for ELLs offered by our bilingual certified teacher twice a week. Our bilingual certified teacher meets with classroom teachers to review educational strengths and needs of ELLs in order to meet their academic achievement.

Dr. Stritikus (Laureate, Inc., 2010) describes characteristics of effective schools for culturally linguistic diverse students. These characteristics include school-wide commitment, connection to the community, high quality learning environments, and connection with student lives. How does North Boone Middle...
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