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Hot List Q & A
Transitions Classes - 2 questions

February 2014

Question:
    My superintendent asked me to research transition classes for students who have already tested out of ESL classes based on the ACCESS but still could use support. Can anyone let me know if you have a program like this in place in your district? If so, how is it funded? How do you determine which students qualify to receive services? Also, we are a K-8 school, so I am particularly interested in that level.

Reply:
    I started a transition class this year after having a number of students exit last year. I wanted to ensure their success and encourage them to use the tools I have been giving them over the years in the regular classroom. We are a K-9 district. I have a set period of each day (usually last period as to not take away from instructional time). Teachers send their students down with work they didnít understand, needed additional time for or with a study guide to help them get ready for a test, things like that.The teachers seem to really like it and it gives the former ELLs more self-confidence that they can succeed(on their own).

Reply:
    I have taught in a few districts that monitor students after exiting ESL classes. It can be very informal, such as keeping records on studentsí grades and maintaining open communication with the teacher. I have also worked with exited ESL students as needed. This is easier if you already service students in the class because you can pull that student with your group. If you don't service his/her class you will need to work out a schedule or add an extra period in your day for support or intervention type instruction.
    Another take on that is offering PD to the homeroom teacher on strategies to use with ELL's.

Reply:
    My district has a transition program for the high school. Instead of going into mainstream level English classes, students go the ENA, English for New Americans. They learn the same CCS for grade 9/10 as mainstream, with grade-level appropriate texts, but with ESL teaching methodology and a pace to ensure success.

July 2013

Question:
    I'm gathering information on transition programs or classes that other school districts might run for ELLs who have exited an ESL program. I'm especially interested in the high school level. What kind of support, if any, does your school provide for these students? An after school program? Extra time over the summer? An extra, non-credit class for homework help and support for the content classes? Any information at all would be much appreciated!

Reply:
    At our high school, we have English I/Transitional, English II/Transitional, English III/Transitional, and English IV/Transitional. These classes are taught by a teacher who is certified in English and ESL. The teacher bridges the sheltered English courses with the general English classes. He mirrors the curriculum, but at a lower reading level. His class is for students who have just exited the program or are just about to exit. Once students exit the program, they only receive the Transitional class. They are placed in regular classes for the remainder of the day. We monitor the students' progress carefully to make sure they are doing okay. Sometimes, we will ask a teacher to still allow them use of a word-to-word translation dictionary if vocabulary is very advanced and if it will help.
    Caia Schlessinger, Freehold Regional High School, NJTESOL/NJBE Secretary

Reply:
    My school does a transitional class for ELL's based on English level upon exiting ESL. It is called English for New Americans. We have three levels of the class, with mixed grade level students in each. Basically, we teach to the CCS 9-10 grade curriculum, with ESL teaching methodology. Depending on individual student progress, at the end of the school year, we either exit the student to his/her regular English grade level or to the next higher level ENA class.

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