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The ESL/EFL Program supports English-language learners in building skills in English for a variety of purposes. While primarily supporting students in their academic development, it also serves to assist them in adapting to the American educational system and inspire them to be happy, confident and productive members of the student body. ESL/EFL language development and learning support classes are provided in all three schools at three different levels according to English competence, ranging from near zero- proficiency beginner to advanced. Students are initially placed in the program based on a placement test following international standards. Across schools, ESL/EFL classes focus on all four domains of language learning: reading, writing, listening and speaking.
In the Elementary School students whose native language is not English are placed in ESL classes according to grade and their level of proficiency. There are three different levels for each grade 1 - 5: (A) beginners, (B) intermediate, and (C) advanced users of English. Beginner to low-intermediate students attend the A-B group classes, while higher intermediate to advanced students attend the B-C group classes. The new Elementary ESL Foundation Program more efficiently serves the needs of our diverse student population by providing scheduled daily instructional time for language development combined with student-centered Flex-Support sessions focusing on content. ESL faculty further support students both in and out of their homeroom classes as they progress through the ABC levels. Elementary students who successfully complete level C are ready to exit the program.
In the Middle School, there is a two-year foundation program (EFL 1 and EFL 2) for beginners (6th and 7th graders only) where students learn English to communicate and to become familiar with content taught in core subjects. The program consists of five classes covering Language Development, Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts. Upon completion of EFL 2, students are mainstreamed into core classes and attend either the ESL 1 (intermediate) level or the ESL 2 (advanced) level course where they continue to build up language skills in all four domains and enhance academic vocabulary and writing. ESL 1 and ESL 2 are for students in grades 6,7,8 in accordance with placement test results. Students who successfully complete ESL 2 have the competency and level of proficiency required to exit the program and continue without ESL support in high school.
In the Academy, students may be placed in ESL Intermediate (intermediate - high-intermediate - 9th grade only) and/or ESL Advanced (high-intermediate - advanced - 9th grade and 10th grade only), where language development is combined with building media literacy and sharpening skills transferable to core subjects. Academic language is taught and reinforced in all four domains and students prepare for the IELTS Academic Module assessment to exit. Students receive one elective credit per ESL course.
In all three schools, the program offers students a standardized exit test twice a year to confirm their level or validate that they have mastered the linguistic competence required to be mainstreamed and succeed in academics without support from ESL classes.