English Language Learners

Chester Community Charter School’s mission is to equip English Language Learners (ELL) with the language proficiency and independence necessary to meet or exceed state and district content standards while preserving the individual’s language and culture.

Educational Approach

CCCS has selected English as a Second Language (ESL) as its educational approach. ESL instruction is an academic discipline that is designed to teach ELLs social and academic skills as well as the cultural aspects of the English language necessary to succeed in an academic environment and contribute to society. The ESL program model that CCCS has chosen is a push in/pull out model.

What is ESL?

ESL stands for English as a Second Language. At registration, all families fill out a form called a Home Language Survey. This lets CCCS know if the student speaks a language other than English, or if a language other than English is spoken in the home. If so, the student is tested and depending on their score and language ability, placed into the ESL program for extra support in learning the English language. In ESL classes, students learn English and practice using it in four different areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students are seen, on average, four times a week for a minimum of 30-45 minutes a session. The purpose of ESL is to help students succeed in the regular education classroom and become independent learners and citizens.

Instructional Approach

At CCCS, the ESL program uses the push-in/pull-out method of instruction. Depending on students' individual needs, ESL instructors vary their time between pushing into the regular education classrooms and pulling out students into the ESL classroom for direct language instruction.

Curriculum

Our core curriculum consists of the National Geographic Reach and Inside series. Reach is specifically designed for our K-5th grade English Language Learners. It focuses on language, vocabulary, reading, writing, and content for elementary students while actively engaging them in an expanding and dynamic language environment. Inside is our middle school curriculum focusing on reading, vocabulary and writing to teach and support our ELLs while they strive to reach grade level performance in all areas. The Inside series does a wonderful job of including a rich collection of nonfiction and realistic fiction stories that our older students relate to while learning.

Due to our many students various needs, we also use a variety of supplemental materials in the ESL program. Four our newcomers we use National Geographic "In The USA." This program engages newcomers with authentic activities to develop basic language and vocabulary skills. The Oxford Picture Dictionary for the Content Areas is another program used with many of our newcomers and beginner level students. It is a program designed to build both social and academic vocabulary and language skills. In addition, ESL students have access to laptops and ipads to utilize technology and programs such as:

  • Rosetta Stone
  • Reading Eggs
  • Starfall.com

Assessments

Pennsylvania is a member of the WIDA consortium and CCCS has adopted all of their assessments for our ESL program. The W-APT is an English language proficiency "screener" test which is given to incoming students possibly designated as English language learners.  It assists teachers in identification and placement decisions of ELLs. The W-APT is based on the five English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS)

  • Social & Instructional Language
  • Language of Language Arts
  • Language of Mathematics
  • Language of Science
  • Language of Social Studies

The ACCESS for ELLs is another assessment we use at CCCS. It is an English language proficiency assessment given annually to students in kindergarten through 12th grades who have been identified as English language learners.  Its purpose is to monitor students' progress in acquiring academic English. The ACCESS test provides teachers with results that help guide curriculum and lessons for the school year that will allow students to meaningfully participate in all classroom content and activities. Similar to the PSSA, it also provides information helping to show the effectiveness of our ESL program and the growth of our students' progress over the years.