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English Language Learners (ELL)

Our Mission

Kids sitting in the shape of a peace symbol

To promote and enrich academic language learning for English Language Learners so they can participate meaningfully in the core curriculum. Advocacy, support, and collaboration are vital to the success of this mission. We celebrate and build upon the rich cultural heritage, knowledge, and experiences that our learners and their families bring to the community.

Our Vision

We recognize and build upon the rich cultural heritage, knowledge and lived experiences that our students and families bring to the community.

Our Program

Sun Prairie Area School District offers a content-based ESL program, where students receive specific ESL instruction that is structured around academic content. The principle goal is developing academic English skills and progress in core content.

Academic English refers to the student's ability to use their second language to learn and perform in their academic subjects and tends to:

  • Be more precise and specific in reference (personal, object concepts, time, place, rational ,etc.) than everyday English.
  • Be more complex syntactically.  Be more dependent on "text" than on "context" for interpretation.
  • Be more cognitively demanding than everyday English.  Use distinctively grammatical constructions and devices, vocabulary, rhetorical conventions and disclosure markers, but not always.
  • Be learned in school - - but not without instructional attention.

Students' learn academic English through specific ESL instruction and in regular classrooms using appropriately modified materials.

 

More Information

Background on ELLs

There are now more than 600 students representing 54 different languages attending Sun Prairie Schools. The backgrounds of English language learners are as varied as the languages they speak:

  • Some are recent immigrants seeking refuge from political repression or persecution, searching for greater economic opportunities, or reuniting with family members currently living in the United States.
  • Some are from migrant families seeking seasonal employment.
  • Some are from families studying or working in the United States for a designated time.
  • Some students have been recently adopted into American families.
  • Many were born in the United States and raised in homes in which English is not the primary language.

English Language Proficiency Assessment

Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was enacted to ensure that limited English proficient (LEP) students, including immigrant children and youth, develop English proficiency and meet the same academic content and academic achievement standards that other children are expected to meet. The following assessments are designed to meet the requirements of the NCLB accountability goals, Wisconsin statutes, and to provide students, parents, teachers, and schools with information about how students are progressing in relation to both the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards (WMAS) and World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) English Language Proficiency Standards.

There are two types of assessments in which ELLs participate: English language proficiency and content knowledge. To assess English language proficiency, students participate in the WIDA online screener, Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLs®) ,or the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™. 

WIDA online screener
WIDA online screener measures the English language proficiency of students who have recently arrived in the U.S. or in a particular district. It can help to determine whether or not a child is in need of English language instructional services, and if so, at what level.

ACCESS for ELLs®
ACCESS for ELLs® is a large-scale test that first and foremost addresses the English language development standards that form the core of Wisconsin’s approach to instructing and testing English language learners. These standards incorporate a set of model performance indicators (PIs) that describe the expectations educators have of ELL students at five different grade level clusters and in five different content areas.

Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™
The WIDA Consortium is developed the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs® to facilitate the inclusion of ELLs with significant cognitive disabilities in state accountability systems.