Department of Academics | Meeting the Needs of ALL Learners
World Language, ESL and Bilingual Education
The ability to communicate in more than one language expands students’ views as well as educates them to participate in the global community. Developing a strong language proficiency in a world language enhances students’ 21st-century skill set so students are marketable in the areas of trade, business, marketing, national security, military, law, philosophy, STEM, public health, art, film, music, dance, fashion, and cuisine. In addition, students gain the personal satisfaction of their ability to understand the perspectives of other people and to communicate with them.
When students attend Hammarskjold, they have the option to begin the study of French, German, Italian, Mandarin, or Spanish. Our full language program continues through the 12th grade. At the high school level, courses include academic level courses in all languages, plus Spanish for Medical Professions Honors, French and Spanish for Business Honors, Germany in the 21st Century Honors, Contemporary German Issues Honors, Made in Italy: Food, Fashion and STEAM Honors, and AP courses for those who meet the requirements.
World Language Proficiency Levels
When studying world language and culture, the goal is to reach the highest proficiency language level possible as set by the ACTFL Proficiency Scale and the NJDOE. The world language program focuses on what the students CAN DO with language. From day one, the students are immersed in listening to and speaking the world language. Classes are rich in activities that promote student acquisition of this language and culture. As the students advance in their studies, they have opportunities to develop global perspectives in business and culture and medical professions. After seven years of study, students are equal to those who can be employed by the Foreign Service. Our students do reach a high level of proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening.
New Jersey Seal of Biliteracy
The Seal of Biliteracy certifies that students are bilingual in English and another language. Students who are proficient in English and meet Intermediate-Mid proficiency on an assessment in a world language will receive the NJ Seal of Biliteracy certificate. This will be noted on their high school transcript. This distinction is viewed as an asset when applying for a job or for college admission.
World Languages Facilitate Connections
In world language classrooms, cross-curricular connections promote critical thinking, problem solving and knowledge retention. Study of a world language makes it possible so that these skills and knowledge base become the foundation for global interactions. Here are examples of how world language study reinforces other content areas:
- Language Arts/English
- Develop an ability to communicate effectively for a variety of purposes and audiences
- Integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening and thinking
- Social Studies
- Become interested, informed and active participants in the world both locally and globally
- Develop skills in problem-solving, gathering and interpreting data
- Investigate the natural world in the world cultures studied
- Technology and Computer Education
- Engage in hands-on, problem-solving activities related to real-world issues through the use of numerous applications
- Conduct online research to gain insight into products, practices, and perspectives of world cultures
- Use technology to collaborate and problem-solve with native speakers
- 21st Century Life and Careers
- Research career opportunities in the United States and abroad that require knowledge of world languages and diverse cultures
- Visual and Performing Arts
- Explore the perspective and products of the arts in other cultures
- Express oneself creatively
- Health Education
- Develop awareness of the mental, social, physical and emotional aspects of a healthy individual
- Draw conclusions about cultural comparisons of these aspects
The English as a Second Language (ESL) and Bilingual Education programs serve students who speak languages other than English. The programs are designed to help students become sufficiently proficient in English to participate in English-language activities. Over 300 students from 25 different language backgrounds are enrolled in our ESL program. English language learners remain in the program until they are proficient in English. While in ESL, they also attend regular classes in English. Students enter the ESL and bilingual education program after it has been determined through testing and review of records that extra support in English is needed. State guidelines are followed to determine their proficiency level.
Our English language learners are immersed in the acquisition of English. Teachers work with each student to build language proficiency and also support the students' ability to access the content areas.
Students identified as English Language Learners are assessed annually via the ACCESS test. ACCESS stands for "Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners." It's a summative assessment that assesses social and academic English language development in the domains of Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. This yearly test is required for all students identified as English Learners from kindergarten to grade 12. ACCESS measures students’ English proficiency using a scale that ranges from 1.0 to 6.0 in all domains. A score of 1.0 can be thought of as an "Entering” score, while a 6.0 can be thought of as a “Reaching” score. The test meets the government's requirements for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This act sets forth standards for monitoring a student's journey towards English proficiency. ESL Assessments Information
Our ESL teachers host four ESL Literacy Nights for students and their families. We encourage all to come, meet the ESL teachers and engage in hands-on literacy activities. All dates are posted on both district and school calendars. PAC (Parent Advisory Committee) Nights will be hosted throughout the year to get input from families about our ELL programs.
Our ESL teachers also provide monthly district sheltered instruction workshops to assist content area teachers with developing strategies to support and make academic content/language more accessible for English Language Learners.