ESL Programs

Definition of the ESL Program

"English as a second language program" means a program that uses only English as the instructional language for eligible students and enables such students to achieve English proficiency and academic mastery of subject matter content and higher order skills, including critical thinking, so as to meet appropriate grade promotion and graduation requirements.

Instruction is always presented in a meaningful context and it is categorized by three phases: ESL I (Beginner), ESL II (Intermediate), and ESL III (Advanced). These phases are based on a child's English proficiency. Children begin their second language acquisition in the Danbury Public Schools by starting somewhere in these phases. The outcome of this instructional process must enable children to listen, comprehend, speak, read, write, analyze and think in English.

ESL Models:

Elementary Grades K-5:

The nature of the ESL program at the elementary level is gradually transitioning from a pullout model of support to an inclusion model with services being delivered in the mainstream classroom. Those students who require a concentrated self-contained ESL approach to acquire English skills will continue to be served via "Sheltered Immersion" classes.

A combination of sheltered immersion classes, pull-out, and co-teaching approaches are used to provide ESL services to ELL's. We try to minimize pull-outs as much as possible and focus on an inclusionary model through an "integration of services model." All educators share the responsibility of educating our ELL student population, not just the bilingual or ESL teachers. We see ourselves as "language teachers" regardless of the specific content area we teach.

Educators accept the fact that the inclusionary model (push-in/co-teaching), requires clustering ELL students in fewer classrooms or teams. In order to implement this model we need more ESL/Bilingual teachers and more professional development in the area of second language acquisition for regular education teachers and administrators. The (SIOP) "Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol" and the Reader's/Writer's Workshops (Balanced Literacy Approach) were selected as the vehicles to provide the needed "common language" for both ESL/Bilingual and Regular Education Staff.

Alignment of curriculum between ESL/Bilingual and Mainstream is accomplished through the use of grade level "learning guides" that reflect the integration of services model and our curriculum "Learning Tree".

  • Sheltered Immersion Classes : Sheltered Immersion Classes (SIC) are non-graded "extended learning times" designed for students who are new to the school and have little or no English proficiency, and/or for those students who have been in the program for more than one year and are still classified as ESL I or low ESL II students. If necessary first and second grade students may be clustered in one class. Third, fourth and fifth grade students may be grouped together and attend a separate immersion class. However, the program must be flexible. Therefore, when determining initial placement, one must take into account the student's previous academic background, native language literacy level and the date of arrival.
  • Mainstream Classroom Instruction/Co-Teaching: This component will increase the amount of time the ESL teachers provide direct instruction to ELL's in the mainstream classroom and reduce the time ELL's are removed from the classroom for small group instruction. The main goal of an appropriate inclusionary program is to provide adequate instruction and resources so that the English language learner (ELL) can achieve academically. In a co-teaching approach both teachers (ESL and mainstream) contract
  • to share instructional responsibility for a single group of students with mutual ownership, pooled resources, and joint accountability although each individual's level of participation may vary.

  • Pull-Out: In ESL pull-out programs students from one or more classrooms or grade levels attend special intensive language classes for part of each day. In other cases, the ESL specialist may work with ELL's in their own classrooms and acts as a resource to their regular classroom teachers.
  • Middle and High School Grades 6-12:

    Three levels of ESL classes are offered at the secondary schools. At Danbury High School Sheltered English classes in the curriculum content areas are offered. These classes are taught by regular classroom teachers who receive in-service instruction on ways to make curriculum area content comprehensive for ELL's. (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol -SIOP)

    Non-Public: An itinerant CT TESOL certified teacher provides ESL services to the ELL student population in the non-public schools.