Among the many diverse groups of students who enrich the Gow community are those for whom English was not their first language. Though all students must be able to communicate in basic English before arriving at Gow, some need additional support to be successful here. For them, we offer the English Language Learners Acceleration (ELLA) program.
English, English, and More English
ELLA classes become students’ third English class, beyond “regular” English and Reconstructive Language (RL). Language learners benefit from this immersion as well as from ELLA lessons designed for non-native speakers, including phonetics, vocabulary, and writing. In each class period, students receive not only direct instruction, but also 15 to 20 minutes of individualized homework help in the subject of their choice. Most often, they ask for help with writing. Outside of class, students use the interactive Rosetta Stone program to practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
Increasing Functional Proficiency
ELLA is designed to be a temporary program. Students transition through greater levels of proficiency and then graduate out. The first year consists of the class described above. In the second year, the course gives way to content mastery support. Students work on their own with access to the program’s director during a scheduled study hall period. Content-area teachers monitor ELLA students’ progress throughout their Gow education, while the ELLA director serves as a resource to colleagues.
Students make remarkable strides. As with their schoolmates, Gow’s English Language Learners come to confidently express their newfound voices... in newfound English.