ADSB welcomes and
supports English Language Learners
Algoma District School Board has a number of supports in place to welcome English Language
Learners (ELL) into our school communities.
Linda Kirby (ADSB’s K-8 Student Achievement Coordinator) and Kaila
O’Callaghan (the Board’s Secondary Literacy Lead) are key members of the team who welcome new students and their families.
At a recent Board meeting, Linda helped to define who English Language
Learners (ELL) are, based on ELL Policies and Procedures for Ontario Elementary
and Secondary Schools. “English Language Learners are students in provincially
funded English language schools whose first language is a language other than
English, or a variety of English that is significantly different from the
variety used for instruction in Ontario’s schools, and who may require focused
educational supports to assist them in attaining proficiency in English. These
students may be Canadian born or recently arrived from other countries. They come from diverse backgrounds and school
experiences and have a wide variety of strengths and needs.”
Algoma District School Board continues to
welcome newcomers into our elementary and secondary schools, most recently from
countries including China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Syria, with 21
newcomers arriving this fall.
A young english language learner (pictured left) is weclomed by Principal Mr. Dick and teachers Mrs. Whillans and Mrs. Lavoie.
A range of different experiences has
brought these families and students to Canada and the support provided from
schools is imperative. The Algoma
District School Board, along with community partners, has developed an ELL
registration procedure that provides a smooth orientation and transition for
students and their families to both the community and to the school the
children will be attending.
As we welcome new ELL students and their
families, we meet together first with the school team, the Settlement Agency
and/or Sponsoring Committee, a translator and ADSB’s English Language Learners
program staff. Recognizing that English
Language Learners come with many assets and skills, an initial assessment is
done to determine starting points. The
family is toured through the school, meeting teachers, visiting classrooms, and
becoming familiar with the facilities – which can be as simple and yet as
eye-opening as turning on a water fountain for the first time.
The school coordinates a plan for a
student’s first day at school, including orientation and introducing the
student to a “peer-buddy”. This team approach ensures that there is a circle of
support around the child and the family.
To further provide supports for ELL, Algoma
District School Board will be hiring an itinerant ELL Teacher to support our
K-12 newcomers. Professional learning supports for educators are upcoming in
the next month. This will allow time for
teachers to attend workshops focused on supporting ELL in their classrooms.
Translation supports for both student and teacher are being provided through the
use of technology.
Director of Education Lucia Reece took time
to thank all who have been involved. “We
thank all who have played a part in welcoming our newest learners. This is an
extensive list of individuals from bus drivers and crossing-guards to all
school personnel and students who have set the tone and who have ensured that
our newcomers are feeling welcomed, safe and appreciated. This speaks to the caring character of ADSB
employees and students.”