Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is ESL?

A: ESL stands for English as a Second Language. ESL teachers are trained to help children from other language backgrounds learn English.

Q: How will mychild’s English be assessed?

A: If your child is new to Glenwood, he/she will be assessed at the beginning of the school year with the W-APT. The W-APT is a test that measures listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in English. Your child will receive a score in all four areas. Scores range from 1-6. 1 is the lowest and 6 is the highest.

In addition, ALL students who are identified as ELLs (English language learners) are assessed in February using the ACCESS. The ACCESS test also assesses listening, speaking, reading and writing. You will receive score reports to let you know your child’s level of English in these four areas.

Q: What kind of ESLservices are offered at Glenwood?

A: If your child is a beginner (scoring a 1 or 2 on theW-APT), he/she will receive ESL classes four or five days a week. He will come out of the regular classroom and be taught in a small group consisting of 1 to 5 students at the same language level. This is called “pull-out.” ESL pull-out classes generally last for 30-45 minutes. For the rest of the day, he will remain in the classroom. ESL teachers collaborate with classroom teachers to help ensure that the classroom teachers are using methods that make content comprehensible for ELLs.

If your child is at an intermediate level (scoring 3 or 4 onthe W-APT), she will receive ESL services at least 3 times a week. Depending onyour child’s needs, she might receive pull-out classes or she might be better served by co-teaching. In co-teaching the ESL teacher goes into your child’s classroom for part of the day and teaches along with the classroom teacher. The ESL teacher might deliver whole-class instruction using best-practice methods for teaching ELLs. She might also work with small groups of children on specific skills.

If your child is at an advanced level (scoring 5 on the W-APT), she will probably receive only consultative ESL services. With consultative services, the ESL teacher monitors your child’s progress in the classroom at least four times a year. If the classroom teacher reports that the child is having language difficulties, the ESL teacher provides support.

Q: How long will it take my child to learn English?

A: The length of time varies, depending on factors such as age, prior school experience, language distance and the student’s personality. While students usually acquire social language quickly (within 1-2 years), it can take much longer to acquire the academic language that is used in the classroom. Research indicates that it can take from five to 10 years for English language learners to reach the same level of language proficiency as their native English speaking peers. However, this is only an average. We have seen quite a few students at Glenwood who have mastered English more quickly.

Q: Should I speak English with my child at home?

A: No. We encourage you to keep using your native language at home. Strengthening your child’s native language will actually help him/her acquire English.

Q: How can I help my child learn English?

A: There are many ways to help your child at home. Here area few ideas.

  • Read to him/her in your native language and have a conversation afterward. For fictional stories, ask questions like “Who was your favorite character and why?” or “How did the main character change from the beginning to the end of the story?” For non-fiction, ask questions like “What did you learn from this book?” or “How was the information organized?”
  • If you have a computer with Internet acess at home, encourage him/her to use the RAZ-kids and Tumblebooks Web sites. If you do not have a computer at home, there are computers at the Chapel Hill Public Library that can be accessed for free.
  • Use a picture dictionary, such as the Oxford Picture Dictionary for Kids (Grades K-2) and the Oxford Picture Dictionary for the Content Areas (Grades 3-5). Make English labels for objects in your home.

Q: How do I request an interpreter?

A: The district has interpreters in Spanish, French, Korean, Japanese, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Burmese and Karen. If you need an interpreter for a parent-teacher conference or meeting, please contact one of the ESL teachers.

Q: What if I need help with paperwork?

A: Anna Ouchchy holds office hours every morning from 7:30-8:00 in her office across from the gym. If you have any questions about papers that have been sent home, you are welcome to come by during that time. No appointment is necessary.

Q: What if I don’t want my child to receive ESL services?

A: You have a right to refuse ESL services for your child. Contact one of the ESL teachers if you would like to discuss this option.