Systematic English Language Development  

October 23, 2015
The start of a new school year brings excitement, fresh possibilities, and often new students. In some cases, these new students speak a language other than English at home. This poses a unique set of challenges for both these students and the school staff members who work with them. The ESU 10 Title III Consortium provides a variety of support to the staff and English Language Learner (ELL) students in our member districts, and during the 2015-16 school year, we are adding a new professional development initiative and corresponding materials implementation that focus on Systematic English Language Development (ELD). This initiative is designed to:

•  Increase the level of English proficiency for ELL students
•  Improve academic performance of ELL students in all content areas
•  Implement a systematic, research-based approach to developing the English fluency of ELL students that meets Office for Civil  Rights (OCR), Title III, and Rule 15 requirements
•  Equip teachers of ELL students with research-based instructional strategies, skills, and resources for teaching English to ELL students.

It is important for everyone in our consortium to understand the role of language in academic achievement. There needs to be a clear and systematic approach to support language development in students. This approach must be well understood and actively supported at all levels of our system: district, school, and classroom. In order to increase understanding and support, the ten participating school districts will send teachers to ESU 10 for a series of five trainings spread throughout the school year. There will also be two days of leadership trainings at ESU 10 for administrators. During these trainings, the participants will learn about Systematic ELD and how it can support both the learning of the English language and of academic content of ELL students.

What is Systematic ELD? 

Systematic ELD is dedicated time for language instruction. It is driven by students’ assessed English proficiency level and builds a solid foundation in English. It teaches the language that English learners:
are not likely to learn outside of school or efficiently pick up on their own
will not explicitly be taught in other subject areas, and
need to be able to use every day for effective academic learning and classroom participation

Systematic ELD does not replace literacy or other content instruction, but rather supports subject matter learning by strengthening language skills. The goal of Systematic ELD is for English to be a bridge to academic success rather than a barrier to ELL students. I am looking forward to supporting the participating teachers and administrators as they work to build bridges to success for their ELL students!

-Emily Jameson, Teaching & Learning Coordinator