The English as a New Language (ENL) program at Hamilton Southeastern Schools
serves over 1000 students whose first language is other than English. While many
of these come from Spanish language backgrounds, there are at least 66 languages
represented among our student body from 58 countries across the globe.
The Hamilton Southeastern Schools ENL program is committed to educational
excellence and continuous achievement for all English language learners. The
goal of the Hamilton Southeastern ENL Program is to raise English proficiency of
all students of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) to that of native English
speakers at their respective grade levels. The immediate goal is, of course,
basic communication skills in English for these students. Equally important
longer-range goals include: increased success of LEP students in academic
classes, improved social adjustment, cross-cultural understanding, and
successful exit from the program.
Hamilton Southeastern Schools consider two different levels of language
proficiency. The first level involves Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills
(BICS) used in face-to-face situations. Fluency in these skills can take two to
three years to develop. The second level often called Cognitive Academic
Language Proficiency (CALP) includes being able to read, write, and perform
within a content-area classroom at grade level. These skills may take longer
(four to eight years) to develop. Without fluency at both skill levels, the
language minority student cannot succeed in school without special support from
mainstream and ENL Staff.
Hamilton Southeastern Schools employs certified teachers, as well as
instructional assistants, to provide direct ENL instructional services in the
program. The instructors also may assist or train other staff to work with ENL
students in the mainstream. Training opportunities include in-class modeling,
consultative services, or Department of Education conferences.
ENL services are based on individual needs. Although in some cases it may be
possible to give beginning students extra time for services by the ENL
instructor, in general, the amount of direct ENL instructional services will be
based on grade level (elementary, intermediate school, junior high, high
school). Research and experience have shown that this is a sound policy in that
those students who have a higher degree of oral proficiency (e.g. oral level 4)
but are still lacking in academic language skills (e.g., CALP level 3) are still
at risk and in need of ENL time and support in the regular classroom.
Whenever possible, students of similar age, grade and skill levels will be
combined into groups for ENL instruction. This is better for language learning
than one-on-one instruction because it facilitates real communication. The ENL
staff will arrange schedules in cooperation with classroom teachers and other
building personnel. At the elementary level, ENL is currently a “pullout”
program. ENL instructors and classroom teachers are free to arrange any
additional inclusionary arrangements in accordance with the needs of students,
preferences of teachers involved, and the philosophy of the school regarding
these arrangements. In intermediate, junior high and high school, students are
assigned to ENL for one period per day and may receive grades for that class.
High school ENL students receive one elective credit per semester for the ENL
In addition, they may be enrolled in ENL English and ENL US government classes
for credit. At the intermediate, junior high and high school, it is strongly
recommended that students with very limited oral proficiency be enrolled in ENL
in addition to the regular English until their basic communication skills
improve to level 4.