Welcome to the White River Valley Supervisory Union Multilingual Learners (ML) program. The program has often been referred to as English Language Learners (ELL) but is currently shifting to the nationally preferred term, Multilingual Learners. This change signals a shift away from a deficit of English language ability and toward honoring the wonderful, socio-economic asset that is multilingualism (including bilingualism) reflecting who our students are, their language strengths, and our appreciation of those aspects of their identity.
Our SU’s Multilingual Learners program supports our ML students in acquiring the linguistic, academic, and social skills they need to be productive members of our community and society. In order to best support our students’ needs, our program also strives to build strong relationships between our ML families and school staff in order to strengthen the growth of every learner.
Students often enter the ML program with little ability to express themselves in English, keep up with academic expectations, or comprehend essential information communicated in English needed to communicate home. It is the ML Coordinator/Instructor’s job to help them express necessary information, help negotiate cultural issues that crop up, and offer effective interventions intended to make all academic content accessible despite language barriers.
If identified as an ML student, the ML teacher will provide Push In (instruction within the classroom) and Pull Out (targeted interventions outside of the general classroom) grade-level ML Services
Students who have entered the US within the last year and have had interrupted or limited schooling, as well as students who have a native language other than English, may be eligible for ML services. Information is taken from the Home Language Survey in addition to communication with parents or guardians. Students are then assessed with a WIDA Screener to determine whether they qualify for services.
ML students learn basic social and academic language, including the language and content of reading, math, social studies and science. Additionally, these students focus on specific school readiness skills. Supplemental instruction, using evidence-based learning materials, compliments their general classroom experiences, supporting their English language skills and their socio-emotional needs as they acclimate to US public schools.
Jeff Zwiers' Website
Jeff Zwiers is a senior researcher at the Stanford Graduate School of Education where he focuses his research on classroom practices that develop academic language. His website is filled with research and useful practices and tools that he has developed to support MLs learn academic language.
The WIDA Consortium has developed Multilingual Language standards and assessments that the state of Vermont uses when teaching and assessing MLs. The WIDA website is full of planning tools that support teachers working with MLs, as well as professional development opportunities and a teacher login site for assessment training.