ELLs have historically been underachieving in English literacy based skills, reading, writing, and speaking. The ELL population at the middle school consists of 21% of the entire student body. Primarily composed of students that attended elementary schools in the same district and were automatically fed in by their residential boundary proximity to the site and a small percentage of student that have less than a year in the United States. As of now, supporting teachers to move from a traditional teaching paradigm to a student driven inquiry based model has been gradually developing. The need to create a culture of respect, acceptance, diversity and access to curriculum in the classroom is in progress. Creating a culture of open-mindedness to different perspectives where students are inquiring, collaborating becoming a community where learning from one another is valued and emphasized. In order to support teachers facilitate and scaffold for their ELLs and become effective with providing resources and “mentoring” support to teachers in redesigning curriculum, and being mindful of ELL students in that process, making genuine connections with the staff first was vital.
Understanding ELLs by assisting building staff capacity with ProjectGLAD researched based high yielding strategies. Expectations are high for students and scaffolding occurs without losing intent of skill. Authentic opportunities are made and students become risk-takers. 93% of the staff has been trained, but the effectiveness of them using the strategies explicitly has decreased due to lapse of 5-10 years since getting GLAD trained. Instructional Coaching has increased, along with building new staff capacity. The blending of IB Inquiry and GLAD strategies are a powerfully complementary of each other.