Course Offerings in English Language Education Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12
The ELL Program is designed to meet the linguistic, academic and social needs of English Language Learners (ELLs) from more than 20 countries who attend Amherst Regional High School. The ELL Program creates a welcoming and challenging learning community where students acquire proficiency in both conversational and academic English and master high–level academic content while developing the social skills necessary to thrive in a culturally diverse American high school. Students are enrolled in intensive ELL courses taught by certified ELL teachers and receive English, Social Studies and general credit for these courses. Students are also enrolled in the general curriculum. ELL courses are offered at the beginning, intermediate and transitioning levels and are aligned with Massachusetts state frameworks for English and Social Studies, with district curricula, and with state and national standards for English language instruction.
Identification and Placement of Students
Identification and placement of students is made by the ELL staff, using English-language assessments and native-language assessments as needed. These assessments are administered upon enrollment and annually in order to determine each student’s English language proficiency level and English learning needs. Students who are not yet proficient in English are placed in ELL courses at their appropriate level and meet with the guidance counselor to choose courses in the general curriculum, with the expectation that they will graduate from Amherst Regional High School and pursue post-secondary education. ELLs are placed in math and science courses with teachers who are trained to teach this content to English Language Learners.
There are five levels of ELL: early beginner, beginner, early intermediate, intermediate and transitioning. Students are assigned to one of these five levels. Students at the beginning levels enroll in ELL Communication, ELL Literature I, and ELL Composition I. Students at the intermediate levels enroll in ELL World Civilizations, ELL Literature II, and ELL Composition II. Students at the transitioning level enroll in either ELL World Civilizations Honors (9th graders) or ELL Early US History (10th-12th graders), and ELL Composition and Literature III. Students progress from one level to the next as they acquire more proficiency in English. Progress is determined through the use of various assessments including a student’s performance in class, annual proficiency assessments and standardized assessments required by the Massachusetts Department of Education. Students receive ELL instruction until they are proficient in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English, at which time they are exited from the ELL Program. ELL teachers monitor the academic progress of exited ELLs for two years.
All ELL courses are two-trimester (four credit) courses. A student enrolled in ELL courses may receive a maximum of four (4) English credits per year. Students receive general credit for additional ELL literature and composition courses. Students receive social studies credit for the ELL social studies courses. English credit is awarded in the following way:
Beginning Classes (Levels 1A and 1B): 2 literature credits and 2 composition credits.
(Beginner students will receive general credit if they remain at the beginner levels for two years.)
Intermediate Classes (Levels 2A and 2B): 4 literature credits
(Intermediate students will receive general credit if they remain at the intermediate levels for two years.)
Transitional Classes (Level 3): 2 literature credits and 2 composition credits
Students who wish to engage in more advanced study in ELL may wish to do so through the honors project program. Honors projects may be undertaken in ELL classes at the transitional level only, with approval from and in consultation with the ELL teacher. An honors project must be completed in each trimester of the course. Honors work requires analytical thinking, strong writing skills and the ability to synthesize information from multiple sources. Students who elect to do honors must be able to work independently and be self-motivated. Students who cannot maintain a B- or better average should not undertake honors projects.
The LAU Program
The LAU program provides bilingual clarification for some students who are at the beginning and intermediate ELL levels. Bilingual translators are assigned to clarify instruction in non-ELL classes (particularly math, science and health) The LAU program supports students with interrupted or limited formal schooling.
Transitioning into English and Social Studies
Upon exiting the ELL program, students transition into general English classes, by completing Oral Communication and Literature as Social Criticism before taking English electives. 9th graders will take Writing and Literature B before enrolling in the 10th grade English courses. To transition into general Social Studies classes, exiting 9th, 10th and 11th graders are required to complete a US History class in the Social Studies department before taking Social Studies electives. Entering 9th graders will transition into World Civilizations.