English Language Learners in the Westport Community Schools

Education is a basic right of all children in the United States. The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) added important new educational rights for English language learners and their parents. Federal laws, such as NCLB, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974, and Massachusetts state laws recognize that students who are new to the United States and who are English language learners need extra support. They need help to learn English and, at the same time, to master academic standards.

The Westport Community Schools is committed to ensuring that all educational programs meet the diverse needs of all students.  Students who are English Language Learners (ELLs) in grades K-12 are provided with a comprehensive ELL Program that is staffed by highly qualified ELL teachers. These teachers focus on meeting the needs of all students in the program in two areas: becoming proficient in the English language and adjusting to the school and community culture.

State and federal laws use the terms “students with limited English proficiency” (or, LEP stu­dents), “English language learners” (or, ELLs), and “English learners” to describe the same group of students.

The Westport Community School’s English Language Learner (ELL) program assists students whose first language at home is not English. Students are supported in language development, particularly in listening and reading comprehension, and language production – speaking and writing.

What does ELL instruction look like?

In our program,

  • Students work on English Language Learning.
  • Students build knowledge and experience in the four domains of language learning: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • All instruction is in English, with the use of various techniques to make the content comprehensible.
  • Students work in small groups with other language learners with similar needs.
  • ELL teachers collaborate with the classroom teacher so that students acquire the vocabulary and learn the language structures necessary to understand the instruction in the whole class environment.
  • We honor and respect various cultures and languages by drawing upon students’ prior experiences.