At Decorah Schools, an ELL Newcomer is defined as an English Language Learner within their first nine to twelve months in a United States school. The student’s English acquisition is at an Emerging level. Students meeting these criteria, as recommended by the ELL program teachers, will use a modified report card. Special area teachers, homeroom teachers, and the ELL teacher will have sections to complete. Classroom teachers will be notified by ELL teachers if a modified report card will be utilized by any of their ELL students. The Facilitator of Instruction and Assessment will share the individual student’s modified report card with those that need access.
Expectations of Teachers in the Mainstream Classroom
ELL Newcomers, like all students, have a right to Universal Instruction, meaning they will receive Core instruction in the classroom. All means all. As well, being immersed in an English speaking classroom promotes bilingualism through interaction with native speakers (authentic language) and offers additional vocabulary and contexts to their comprehension and assimilation.
Math & Reading
Teachers will provide math and reading instruction in the mainstream classroom. Not only will instructional practices and content be modified to meet the needs of the ELL student, but the learning targets will be modified as well. The English Language Proficiency Standards provide an understanding of the standards ELL students should be working towards. This instruction should be differentiated to the student’s needs. ELL Newcomers may also receive intervention instruction as a pull-out or push-in model, but this should serve to complement the classroom instruction, not replace it.
ELL Newcomer Status Review
At the end of a nine to twelve-month window, ELL teachers review the progress of the Newcomer to determine if the student requires another semester to a year of Newcomer (Emerging) status or is ready to move to Progressing status. Associated teachers will be notified by ELL teachers if a student will be remaining at Newcomer status for a longer timeframe.
ELL Progressing Status
An ELL student moves to Progressing status after nine to twelve months within a US school, as determined by progress on ELL Newcomer benchmarks. Associated teachers will be notified by ELL teachers if a student moves to Intermediate status. ELL Intermediates will be evaluated by classroom and special area teachers using the regular building report card. ELL teachers will also provide the ELL CALP report to accompany the report card.