BGPS Beats State Goals for English Language Learners

posted Oct 8, 2015, 4:48 PM by Rita Sanders   [ updated Oct 9, 2015, 8:01 AM ]

BGPS Beats State Goals for English Language Learners

October 8, 2015

Battle Ground Public Schools has exceeded state goals for English language proficiency among students in the district's English as a Second Language (ESL) program, according to the latest results of the Washington English Language Proficiency Exam, or WELPA.

Within the district, 80.8 percent of students in the ESL program made progress toward achieving English language proficiency, compared to 77.9 percent of ESL students who are making progress statewide.

In addition, 21.3 percent of Battle Ground's ESL students have attained English language proficiency, compared to 16.7 percent across the state (see % Transitioning photo). English language proficiency means that the student reads, writes, speaks and comprehends English in academic classroom settings.

Battle Ground employs Project GLAD and sheltered instruction (SIOP) to intervene and help students advance in their English proficiency as they advance in academic content. "Our goal is to help them reach English language proficiency without missing content knowledge," said Glenna Ainley, the district's ESL program coordinator. "We have found a formula of classroom support and language development intervention that helps our kids successfully attain English proficiency and find academic success as well."

The district puts great emphasis on language intervention in grades 3-6 in an effort to help these students learn English. "We want to increase their English-speaking skills before their vocabulary becomes so complex that it is more difficult for them to learn the language," said Jill Smith, Battle Ground's executive director of federal programs and instructional support services.

The WELPA consists of two tests: a placement exam that determines student eligibility for English language development services, and an annual test that measures students’ growth in English language knowledge and skills.