Language is key to learning; therefore it is our belief at Bolton Academy that all teachers are language teachers. We are committed to the academic, social, and emotional development of our students through oral, written and visual language, which is best taught with the balanced literacy approach. It is through language that our students are able to think, learn, develop social skills and values and acquire knowledge. Our goal is to provide differentiated and varied language instruction through inquiry-based curriculum across all content and enrichment classes using engaging, diverse and culturally authentic literature. We believe that learning a second language affirms the vast richness of cultural diversity and increases cultural awareness; this diversity and awareness connects content across the curriculum. Therefore, all students learn a second language, Spanish, as an additional language through either the Dual Language Immersion model or daily instruction conducted by two Spanish specialist teachers.
The purpose of the Bolton Academy Language Program is to:
- ensure the delivery of the PYP Curriculum through authentic inquiry based language learning;
- help students to obtain/maintain fluency in their native and host language;
- support the development of literacy skills and an understanding and application of the conventional aspects of English;
- develop intercultural awareness and respect by celebrating and valuing cultures of the school and global community;
- promote enjoyment and appreciation of language learning; and
- develop knowledge and understanding of another language other than the mother tongue.
In the 2018-19 school year, Bolton Academy served 596 students ranging from ages four to eleven. Approximately 23% of students have a mother tongue other than English. Other languages spoken at Bolton Academy include Spanish, Dutch, Arabic, Chuj, Mam, Russian, Arabic, Quiché, and Chinese.
Language of Instruction
The primary language of instruction at Bolton Academy is English. The transdisciplinary curriculum focuses on phonological awareness, phonics, building fluency, vocabulary development, morphology (study of root words, common Latin prefixes and suffixes), grammar and writing conventions, reading comprehension, speaking and listening skills. These components of literacy are reinforced through the Balanced Literacy framework as detailed in Bolton Academy’s Literacy Framework.
Language B Learners
Spanish is the second language taught at Bolton Academy. Instruction is given to students in Kindergarten through Fifth grade. Students in Kindergarten (who are not enrolled in the DLI model) receive instruction 20 minutes per week, students in the First grade (who are not enrolled in the DLI model) receive 80 minutes per week in four 20-minute segments, and students in Second through Fifth grades (who are not enrolled in the DLI model) receive 2.5 hours per week in five 30-minute segments. The language model used at Bolton Academy is content-rich FLES (Foreign Language in Elementary Schools), in which the second language is enhanced by concepts from the general curriculum.
The Bolton Academy FLES program focuses on communication and culture. We integrate content with language learning, using National Standards for Foreign Language Learning aligned with the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE). The goal of our program is for students to apply language skills to the world beyond the classroom and assist them in making meaningful comparisons. The morning announcements are conducted by the students in both English and Spanish on alternate days in order to support the acquisition of a second language .
ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages)
Approximately 23% of our student population receives ESOL services. The goal of our English to Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) program is to develop English proficiency, particularly through the acquisition of academic English, in the domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing, as well as to ensure that our students receive continued support in developing and maintaining their mother tongue. We serve ESOL students through the Dual Language Immersion (DLI) model where the English teacher is ESOL endorsed and is capable of providing critical strategies to support the acquisition of the second language. Tailored instructional and language support is also provided through the push-in, co-teaching model for students who are not enrolled in the DLI model.
ESOL teachers collaborate with homeroom teachers to provide additional resources and strategies that promote the development of academic language and vocabulary, which in turn, will allow students to progress toward independent English proficiency and academic success.
Students who have indicated that they speak another language other than English on the Home Language Survey portion of the Student Enrollment form will be screened for ESOL services. Students in Kindergarten through first semester of first grade are assessed using the Kindergarten Model test and students beginning the second semester of first grade through fifth grade are assessed using the W-APT (WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test™) by the WIDA Consortium to determine if they are eligible for ESOL services. These screening tools are utilized to measure the students’ English language proficiency. The W-APT assessment may only be administered ONE time to a student.
ESOL students in Kindergarten through third grade receive up to one segment of daily ESOL support. One segment is equivalent to 45 minutes daily or a minimum of 225 minutes weekly. Students in fourth through fifth grades receive up to two segments daily of ESOL support.
One segment of support is equivalent to 50 minutes daily or a minimum of 250 minutes weekly.
The ESOL students’ progress is assessed through the ACCESS (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners). The ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is a secure large-scale English language proficiency assessment administered to
Kindergarten through 12th grade students who have been identified as English Language learners (ELL). It is given annually in WIDA Consortium member states to monitor students'
progress in acquiring academic English. ACCESS for ELL 2.0 is only available to Consortium member states. The ACCESS assessment measures students’ language acquisition in four domains:listening, reading, speaking and writing. Students are able to exit the ESOL program with a composite score of 5 or better (6-point scale) on the ACCESS assessment.
Mother Tongue Support
Bolton Academy acknowledges the importance of a student’s mother tongue in promoting personal identity, international mindedness, intercultural awareness and respect, and maintaining cultural heritage among all students. Bolton Academy supports the development, maintenance and enrichment of the mother tongue by encouraging families to continue speaking, reading, and writing their native language at home. Bolton Academy recognizes that a student’s mother tongue is important in the development and sustainability of their heritage and personal identification. Therefore, students are able to share their own language and cultural experiences in class and during assembly programs/pep rallies.
The mother tongue of the majority of students and staff at Bolton Academy is English. However, Spanish is the mother tongue of 23% of Bolton’s students. Bolton Academy assists our native Spanish speakers in maintaining and developing their mother tongue through enrollment in the DLI program, as well as a tiered Spanish class. The goal of the Spanish class for native speakers is to support the development of reading, writing, listening and speaking skills of the mother tongue.
Bolton Academy is working to develop partnerships with organizations (i.e. embassies, language institutes) in order to support the mother of other languages represented at the school. Bolton is also working to increase the resources housed in the school’s media center and classrooms that enhance and support the students’ use of their mother language. A small collection of Spanish books are available in the media center and each year books in other languages are being added to the collection.
Bolton Academy has access to a translation and interpretation services through APS district. Classroom assignments, projects, programs, assemblies are all a part of the repertoire of activities that students are introduced to and exposed to as they extend their use of the mother tongue.
Responsibilities of Stakeholders
Effective implementation of the Language Policy requires the cooperation of all stakeholders of the school community.
Role of Administration
- Make provision for students to learn a language (Spanish), in addition to the language of instruction (English).
- Ensure that policies and procedures regarding the language acquisition are developed and implemented and are regularly reviewed.
- Place importance on language learning, including mother tongue, host country language and other languages.
- Provide a variety of professional development opportunities to enable teachers to be effective instructors of students with a range of language proficiencies, supporting mother tongue and host country language learning.
- Promote an embedded professional development model enabling collaboration concerning curriculum, instructional techniques, and assessment and student progress.
- Observe teachers and provide constructive feedback on their delivery of instruction.
- Allocate funding and resources to support language development and provide time for collaboration.
- Promote communication with parents concerning students’ language development and provide translators when requested and available.
- Produce key publications in the most common mother tongue other than English.
- Keep the whole school community informed of the policy process and how they can make contributions.
Role of teachers
- Incorporate the teaching and learning of language into the programme of inquiry.
- Develop the skill of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and media literacy.
- Use language as a major means of communicating.
- Address the students’ individual needs, with the range of language proficiencies, and where necessary, develop individualized programs and expectations.
- Place students in appropriate language instructional settings based on assessment data.
- Conduct formative and summative assessment of students’ academic and language accomplishments and needs.
- Communicate clearly with parents regarding students’ accomplishments and needs as they progress across the grades.
- Provide field trip opportunities and in-school experiences to enhance the PYP units of inquiry and embrace the language and culture of students and the mother tongue.
- Promote inquiry based authentic language learning.
- Recognize that learning a language promotes internationalism and multicultural understanding.
- Understand that language development at Bolton Academy is a shared responsibility of all stakeholders.
Review of the Bolton Academy Language Policy
The language policy of Bolton Academy will be reviewed by staff, school administration, and the language policy steering committee members at the beginning of each academic year. The steering committee consists of the Principal, Assistant Principal, PYP Coordinator, PYP Instructional Coaches, ESOL teachers, Classroom teachers and School Counselor When discussing or reviewing the language policy, references should be made to the assessment policy, and the special educational needs policy.