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Overview K-12
The English Language Learners (ELL) program provides services to students whose primary language is not English and who are not yet proficient in English. The program provides support at each school, with services focused on children's English language acquisition, literacy development, and academic achievement.  Within the ESL Department, we focus on the development of the four skills areas of language learning (listening, speaking, reading, and writing).

English Immersion Model- Massachusetts state law mandates that all classes must be taught in English. In the immersion model teachers shelter their instruction to meet the needs of English Language Learners.
Peabody ELL Program Model
  • Elementary School- ELLs are placed in their grade-appropriate class. However, depending on their language needs, they will receive in or out of class English language development by an ESL teacher.

  • Middle School- ELLs attend English class with an ESL teacher to improve their English proficiency.

  • High School- There are several ELL classes offered for students to aid in their English development. These may include: ELL English Language Arts, ELL Science courses, ELL Social Studies courses, ELL Math courses, and other support classes.

Each proficiency group (WIDA Levels 1 - 5) follows requirements for ELL instruction using two methods of instruction: Inclusion and Pullout. In addition to academic language, children are constantly exposed to social language in all school contexts.

 ELL students participate in ELL program to strengthen academic vocabulary across the content areas, access or build background knowledge, read for comprehension, and write for different purposes. This "language-in-content" approach is essential to the academic program of each student, regardless of his/her English proficiency or amount of time in the U.S. since ELL students are required to participate in and pass state content tests along with the native English peers.

The ELL program is not part of special education; however, ELL students and former ELL students have the right to special education services, when appropriate. Before referring an ELL for special education testing, all regular education means, including the ELL program and reading and math general education interventions, should be used to support language, literacy, and other gaps in performance. At the school level, attention should be paid to:

  • Informing and involving parents using their first language, when appropriate;

  • Testing ELL students using first language and culturally unbiased test instruments and procedures, when appropriate;

  • Providing culturally aligned instruction similar to those principles espoused in the current "sheltered English immersion" models required by the MA Department of Education for any classroom with even one ELL student.

Identifying ELL students

The best way to assure academic success for ELL students is to identify them accurately and early, be sure that the ELL staff has assessed them so they can receive appropriate language development services, and adjust your teaching to their needs. You should receive an ELL program "Classroom Teacher Intake Summary" forms for each new ELL student and for each on-going/returning ELL student. This form provides the following:

Classroom Teacher Intake Summary: 

  1. The identified proficiency level (1 - 5) for the 4 language areas of listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. These levels are equated to the WIDA standards;

  2. Background information such as home language, years of prior schooling in the home country and/or any other U.S. site, and the status of ELL enrollment (accept, opt-out by parent, waiver)

  3. The name of the ELL teacher at your school.

ELL/ESL and "Sheltered English Immersion"

"Sheltering" English is a means of modifying curriculum, instructional strategies, assessment, and materials for all levels of English learners in the general education classroom. In MA, all classroom teachers and other professional staff are required by the MA Department of Education to complete courses that are aligned to the RETELL initiative by July of 2016 in order to meet licensure requirements.