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Remote learning is challenging, it can be even additionally challenging for students who are emergent English language learners. At SSIS, we understand these challenges and difficulties our students and families had encountered, and are prepared to provide assistance to support students' language learning that goes along with their subject learning.

  • Language and Learning at SSIS

At SSIS we are committed to providing targeted English language support to students who are still acquiring English. This support ensures their growth and success across academic areas.

In Elementary School, students who are newer to learning English are provided with targeted acquisition classes to support foundational phonics and grammar as well as the development of reading, writing, speaking and listening. The EAL teacher also co-plans and co-teaches with the homeroom teacher ensuing students are building language skills throughout the day. Students learn in an English rich environment where they build both social language and academic language.

In Secondary School, students whose results indicate that they are still at an acquisition stage join an accelerated language program, called English Lab. English language teachers from the Student Services Team work with teachers to ensure that our students who are newer to English have support in their learning across all subjects, including in Math, Humanities and Science.

  • English Lab

English Lab is a dynamic and responsive class, meets four times a week at the same time as regular English class. Class sizes are kept purposefully small in order to maximize students' opportunity to build their language skills, supporting not only their overall English development, but also supporting the work they are doing in Science, Humanities and Math.

English Lab students meet by grade level, and the teacher uses the units of study at their grade level to support growth in reading, writing, speaking and listening. This approach supports students to learn English in context and to transfer these skills into these key subjects across the grade. Students will continue to attend all of their regularly scheduled classes, with English Lab in place of their current English class during this temporary and transitional period.

As soon as the student, as well as their teachers and parents, believe that they are ready to move out of English Lab, we will work together to set a date for transition into English. Student can move at any time throughout the semester.

EAL students in Elementary and Secondary also complete an assessment called WIDA, to build individual language profiles. WIDA provides additional data on reading, writing, speaking, and listening proficiency, and this information is shared with teachers in order to ensure that we work collectively to nurture, support and challenge students.

  • Teacher Mentor

Each student in English Lab has a student service mentor teacher, who will be able to help with any problems, in any subject. Students also have English teacher and Head of Grade who can support them when they are confused or need any additional support. We encourage families to ask for help and communicate between student and teacher. If students don’t understand the instructions, tell the teacher so that they can find another way of having students understand the task and what they need to do.

Ms. Carmen Fox, Head of Students Services, shared that Student Service Department works closely with homeroom teachers, Head of Grades to provide frequent parent meetings to share with parents how to support their children at home.

Students have also been introduced to a variety of excellent learning resources and technology that students can use when learning English, including NewsELA, CommonLit, immersive readers in Microsoft, and so on.

While learning English, it is also very important to stay really strong in their first language. When students are learning the material and the words in English, they can connect it to words that they already know and understand in their first language. A strong first language is the foundation of learning English. Students are encouraged to speak and write in their first language and in English, using both languages to share and learn together with their peers.

At SSIS we are committed to an inclusive, supportive-immersion model. We believe that all subject contents will improve English language acquisition, and learning English is no longer the job of an EAL team of teachers, but rather approached across subjects. Students join our regular program with their grade-level peers, and we provide targeted English language support to students who are emergent language learners and to all students who need additional support to ensure they grow and succeed across all academic areas.

  • Elementary School
  • Secondary School