ELL Elementary

Theme - Curriculum & Academic Goals

Promising Practices

  • Building strong literacy foundations for ELLs
  • Aligning the ESL/ENL curriculum with the grade level curriculum
  • Collaboratively developing high academic goals for all

Educators in all of the elementary schools with higher performance by ELLs prioritize early literacy development. For example, they communicate the importance of native language fluency with parents to encourage parents to read to their children at home; by strengthening first language fluency, students are able to develop the literacy skills necessary for reading and writing in English. The focus on preschool-grade 2 literacy includes an investment in reading specialists, pre-K programs, and curricular materials to support culturally relevant teaching practices.

ESL/ENL educators in the schools reported that they support the mainstream classroom curriculum whether they are pushing in and coteaching or pulling students out for stand-alone instruction. In some schools, textbook programs were chosen because they include supporting materials for ELLs. In most schools, the ESL/ENL teacher serves as an important resource for adapting curriculum and providing supporting materials to help ELLs access the challenging curriculum. Educators reported that aligning stand-alone instructional curriculum to mainstream instructional curriculum requires constant communication between and among classroom teachers and ESL/ENL teachers. In this way, responsibility for ELLs is distributed among all educators in the school building.

The odds-beating schools in the sample described the collaborative development of district and school goals to help all students achieve grade-level standards. ELLs in these schools are held to high standards of achievement. The rigorous curriculum may be adapted to make it accessible to ELLs, but educators report they strive to keep the level of rigor high despite any adaptations. Goals are developed with the input of all stake-holders and are communicated frequently and clearly to all educators in the district.

Selected Evidence

In the Guilderland Central School District, an annual District Priorities Meeting is held in which administrators and teachers review the district mission statement along with school goals.

In the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, the 5-year strategic plan, Vision 2020, includes a strong focus on early education.

At Blue Creek Elementary, teachers provide instructional materials to parents so that they can read with their children to develop literacy skills.