Take this quiz to find out. Circle the number that appears to most closely describe the policy in your school or school district. Scoring instructions are at the end of the quiz.
- Policy of my school district regarding students for whom English is a new language:
- Does not exist
- Might exist–can't be sure
- Varies from building to building (at the principal's discretion)
- Is set by the superintendent
- Is whatever the ESL teacher(s) deem(s) it to be
- Exists somewhere, but is largely ignored
- Exists as approved by the school committee
- Exists as approved by the school committee and is vigorously followed
- When a newcomer arrives and is identified as an English language learner because (s)he speaks another language at home, the student:
- Is referred to a Pupil Evaluation Team for consideration of special education services
- Is placed among students a grade or more below his/hers.
- Is greeted through intake personnel who are trained in greeting families from non-English cultures. Such personnel include individuals who can speak the newcomer's native language. Placement is determined following appropriate culture-fair assessments.
- Determination of classroom placement for an English language learner, as well as his/her eventual transition to an all-English (non-ESL) setting, is conducted through:
- Reliance on teacher judgment
- Reliance on entry and exit level assessments for English by the ESL teacher
- Reliance on entry and exit level assessments for English and acquisition of content knowledge and skills by the ESL teacher and a team of teachers and other personnel
- The role of regular content area teachers with regard to children for whom English is a new or second language is:
- No different from what it would be for an English-dominant newcomer
- To defer services almost entirely to the ESL teacher or aide
- Limited to letting the ESL teacher know the homework assignments of such children.
- To prepare appropriate content materials, and assign a peer buddy to assist the student in adjusting to the new setting. Content area teachers team with the ESL teacher to plan instruction and assessments.
- The ESL teacher's schedule:
- Is known only to him/her (and possibly to the ELLs)
- Is limited to a pull-out arrangement for the ELL student as needed
- Includes time for planning with the content area teacher(s) as well as in-class teamed instruction
- Adult speakers of the ELL student's native language:
- Are not available to the school district and are not sought out
- Are included on a list maintained in each school building for emergencies as well as for routine communication with the parents of ELL students
- The responsibility of the education of ELL students in our school belongs to:
- The parents
- An occasional volunteer
- The special education office
- A part-time classroom aide with some knowledge about ESL teaching
- An ESL teacher (and other paraprofessional support, if the number of ELL enrollments warrant it)
- An ESL teacher and any other personnel willing to help
- All education personnel in the affected building—no exceptions
- Advisement for the implementation of services benefiting ELL children lies with:
- No one. It is not sought by administrators, except in a crisis
- The building principal
- The ESL teacher or aide
- A broad-based committee that convenes regularly, including administration, guidance, parents, ESL instructor(s), and community representatives
- A successful ESL program in my school is best characterized by the following:
- One in which there is no complaint or litigation filed, leaving the administration to set up a program that would be most economical and efficient
- One that is routinely supported by all staff and monitored by all stakeholders for evidence of best practice
- Participants in staff development include:
- ESL staff only
- ESL staff and supervisors
- ESL staff, supervisors, and special education personnel
- ESL staff and some content area teachers
- All staff
- The typical amount of time personnel are engaged in staff development per year specific to ESL is:
- One day or less
- Two to three days
- One week
- More than five days.
- The school handbook is available in:
- English only
- Non-English languages
- Parent/community events at the school include the following accommodations for ELL student enrollees:
- English-only communication
- Communication in English and other languages of the ELL children enrolled
- Notice of school meetings in the non-English language(s) and an assurance that interpreters will be there to support the parents of ELL students
Now, score the quiz by adding up all the numbers you have circled.
___ 50-55 A proud portrait of polyglot policy
___ 40-49 A plausible plan with potential and promise
___ 30-39 Precarious practices preclude peak policy performance
___ below 30 A prudent plea and prayer in pursuit of policy
How did your school's policy measure up?
More importantly, what steps are you and your colleagues now prepared to take to strengthen policy for your English language learners?