English Language Learners
The South Portland School Department is fortunate to have almost 300 students from as many as 30 different countries participating in our K-12 programming for English Language Learners. The program provides learning opportunities specifically designed for our ELL students according to their level of English proficiency. This instruction is provided by state-certified ESL endorsed teachers at each of our 8 schools consistent with the District’s mission, “Enriching Lives Through Quality Learning For All.”
We ensure that our English Language Learners meet or exceed rigorous content standards while developing skills in social and academic language, speaking, listening, reading, writing and math. While they are progressing toward attaining proficiency in English, the social, emotional and cultural needs unique to ELLs are also a priority.
South Portland offers robust experiential after school and summer programming to K-12 English Language Learners. Our K-5 Camp Jump Start program is designed for selected ELL and non-ELL students who would benefit from summer learning experiences in literacy and math. Our middle and high school students participate in a program in the Brick Hill/Redbank neighborhood to focus on English proficiency and other academic areas in which they need additional instruction.
Learning environments are flexible with a balance of knowledge and understanding of core content with opportunities to explore personal interests integrated with the student’s culture and life experiences. Instruction may occur in a sheltered ELL classroom or support in the mainstream. Students and teachers have the opportunity to participate in special initiatives to enrich their learning experience. The Telling Room provides residencies in as many as four of our schools annually. Events such as Multicultural Day and on-going cultural celebrations are an integral part of our learning communities.
Community outreach is provided through our administrators, teachers, social workers, and guidance counselors. Two of our schools have have a designated Community Builder who acts as a liaison between the community and school. We also collaborate with other community resources such as Community Partners for the Protection of Children (CPPC), The Providers Team, and Opportunity Alliance to name a few.
Students and teachers have the opportunity to participate in special enrichment initiatives including in- school residencies with The Telling Room, Multicultural Day, Diversity Week, and professional development offerings in and out of the district specifically designed to address the needs of our ELL students.