by Mariana Oliveira (17)
Wethersfield High School provides a program called ELL for students who aren't fluent in English. ELL is a program that helps students who aren't fluent in English to learn English, ELL stands for English Language Learner. ESL stands for English as a Second Language, which is another word that people often use to refer to the ELL program.
When students enter the program, they complete a screening test, which includes reading, writing, speaking, and listening questions. If students earn a certain score they are accepted to the program, but if they get a higher score than they are not required to be in the program.
Wethersfield High School provides ELL support and ELL class. In the ELL class, students learn more of the grammar rules, how to read, how to write, and some specific vocabulary; while in ELL support tutors help students complete their assignments.
There are three ELL tutors and one ELL teacher for about 30 students in the ELL program at the Wethersfield High School. They help the students with their homework, projects, and/or other school assignments.
Some ELL students have been in the US for many years and have a good knowledge of the language, other ELL students are very new to the US with limited knowledge of the language and are expected to follow along in class with their US peers who have been learning in the US since they were babies. For instance, imagine how overwhelming it is reading Macbeth as a student that can barely read modern English, so the tutors try to make it easier to understand for the ELL students.
In order for students to leave the ELL program they have to pass an exam called LAS. It is a standardized test that tests the students’ knowledge of reading, writing, speaking and listening. If the student had a higher score than the exit criteria, that student can exit the ELL program. Although ELL students desperately want to pass the LAS test to exit out of the program, most ELL students remain in tutoring for guidance and assistance.
The ELL tutors also help the students find doctors, and help students prepare college applications. Preparing college applications is difficult for parents that are actually fluent in English, so it would be extremely difficult for parents that are not fluent in English. Mrs. Malizia said, “We are not only teachers but we are surrogate parents as well.”