The City Schools of Decatur (CSD) ESOL program is designed to serve students in grades K-12 whose home language is one other than English. Through a language screening process it is determined that these students may lack English language proficiency in social and academic instructional language and would benefit from the services provided by the ESOL program. The ESOL program is designed to provide students with targeted language support during the process of second language acquisition. CSD complies with all federal laws governing services and policies concerning English Learners (ELs) including providing equal educational opportunities to national origin minority students, who may also be limited-English proficient and to take action to overcome any language barriers that might impede EL students from equal access and participation in educational programs.
ELs face unique challenges in the classroom as they strive to learn academic content at the same time they are developing their English language skills. ELs need strong support in the content areas which in CSD may be offered by means of targeted interventions, accommodations, elective courses, or differentiated instruction in required courses by a classroom teacher who holds the ESOL Endorsement and has been trained to understand English proficiency levels, utilizing the WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards to differentiate instruction for ELs.
In implementing the ESOL program in CSD, CSD employs teachers that meet GaPSC teaching certification requirements and have ESOL endorsement. Of the six state approved instructional models through which ESOL students are served, CSD schools use the following instructional models.
- Pull-out model outside the academic block – students receive small group language instruction from the ESOL teacher
- Push-in model within the academic block – students remain in the classroom and receive content instruction from their content area teacher along with language assistance from the EOSL teacher
- Scheduled class period – students at the high school level may receive language assistance and/or content instruction in a class composed of ELs only
- Innovative delivery model – CSD District ESOL teacher works in collaboration with General Education classroom teachers that hold an ESOL endorsement to provide ESOL services for EL learners in their classrooms
CSD ESOL instruction uses a standards-based curriculum emphasizing social and academic language proficiency with an overarching goal that students will use English to communicate and demonstrate academic, social, and cultural understanding. During instructional blocks, to meet this goal, the CSD ESOL teachers use evidence based teaching strategies such as: explicit skill instruction; explicit discussion of vocabulary and structure; establishing clear lesson goals for students; questioning to check for understanding; summarizing new learning in a graphical way; offering multiple practice opportunities; and, providing students with targeted task related feedback. Activities are designed, and materials are purchased and used, to facilitate these learning experiences.
The CSD ESOL program will be evaluated every 5 years, according to the CSD Curriculum and Program Evaluation five-year cycle. Annual improvements/adjustments will be made as needed, with more major program improvements occurring as a result of evidence/data analyzed during the program evaluation cycle.
ESOL and Title III Coordinator