• Overview


    Benteen Elementary believes that language is critical to the success of all students and for all students to access new knowledge. The school believes that biliterate students can engage in different experiences mentally, socially, and academically. Benteen Elementary also believes that Language is the means to communicate with others through speaking, reading, & writing. These areas of communication play a vital part in the language that we develop and of the language that we teach. Thus, standing behind our beliefs in Language, Benteen Elementary has become a Dual Language Immersion (DLI) school.  The school currently offers the DLI Program in grades Pre-K through Second. Each corresponding year, a grade level will be added until fifth grade.  


    Dual Language Immersion (DLI) allows each student to experience different aspects of the Latino culture regardless of their background.  This is because DLI provides students with a platform where they can be successful in either English or Spanish.  32% of Benteen’s population consists of students that have a Hispanic background. 


    In addition, Benteen also provides an English Speaker of Other Languages Program (ESOL). Currently, Benteen Elementary has 68 students who have qualified for the program support. The ESOL program affords non-native English speaking students a program of English instruction. Instruction is content-based and it supports the students’ cultural adjustments in an effort for ELLs to become fully proficient in English and meet academic achievements. 




    The Language Policy at Benteen Elementary is designed to provide additional support and guidelines for the implementation of language instruction and acquisition of language for our students.  The Language Policy is for all students that attend Benteen Elementary.  This policy should align with all local, state, and federal regulations and the philosophy of International Baccalaureate.  This language policy was created by the Pedagogical Leadership Team at Benteen Elementary with input from parents, community, and staff.  This policy will be reviewed every year to ensure continuous alignment.  


    Language Practice


    Benteen Elementary students in Kindergarten, first, and second grades will participate in a two-way Dual Language Immersion program.  The two-way DLI program will allow students to spend a half-day learning Mathematics and Science in Spanish. Reading and Social Studies will be taught in English. Students will also have the opportunity to engage in Spanish literacy within the Spanish immersion class daily.  Students alternate their homerooms to complete the remaining of their day in the opposite subject areas in both Spanish and English.  

    Pre-kindergarten will pilot a one-way Dual Language Immersion program during the 2020 - 2021 school year.  The one-way program students will remain in their classroom all day but receive Spanish instruction for half the day.


    Benteen believes that language is shown, expressed, and understood through speaking, reading, writing, and listening. Thus, teachers can work with students in a wide variety of modalities to ensure each student has a fluent understanding of language.  Reading is taught throughout our curriculum in every content area. Reading skills are developed through listening, oral communication, and writing. At the same time, reading will help to develop our oral language.


    Lastly, Benteen Elementary offers each student 45 minutes of Spanish.  This may change at any time due to unforeseen circumstances. The Spanish class is designed to introduce students to the language and the Hispanic culture.  It is during the Spanish class that students are allowed to write using the Spanish language, speak to peers using the Spanish language, and hear others speak to them using the Spanish language. 


    Language Maintenance and Development 


    Students in grades K -2  participate in “Fundations” phonics program. This program was developed by Wilson Language training and focuses on these key components. 


    • Phonemic awareness
    • Phonics/ word study
    • High-frequency word study
    • Reading fluency
    • Vocabulary
    • Comprehension strategies 
    • Handwriting
    • Spelling

    Students in grades K-5 are also academically enriched in Fountas and Pinnell reading program.  Fountas and Pinnell provide each student with a reading level in both English and Spanish.

    Methods and Programs 


    Benteen Elementary uses several programs to ensure students are being instructed in a variety of ways to continuously improve their language.  Benteen promotes engagement within its lessons by utilizing:


    • Orton-Gillingham 
    • Fundations
    • Fountas and Pinell
    • Lexia Core Five
    • Dreambox Learning
    • Buzzer Reader Reading Program
    • Read to Succeed
    • Accelerated Reader
    • Tablet 2 Read
    • Estrellita


    Support Staff and Services


    Benteen Elementary is full of educational diversity.  This diversity allows us to provide students with different support measures in order to plant, cultivate, and push students towards enhancing their language skills and abilities. We aim to meet each student with support by providing the following programs. 


    • Student Support Team (SST) 
    • Early Intervention Program (EIP)
    • English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program
    • Gifted and Talented (GATE) Program
    • Special Education Program

    English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)


    The English to Speakers of Other Languages program at Benteen Elementary consists of three different models to accommodate students. Those three models are Pull-Out, Push-In, and Blended Model. The pull-out method consists of the ESOL teacher pulling students out of their general education classes to work with the teacher either one-on-one or in a small-group setting. The push-in method involves the ESOL teacher working inside the students' regular education classroom to provide instruction. The final model used is Blended learning which combines push-in and pull-out models.  Also, teachers may elect to use in-person learning that includes teacher-led whole-class instruction, one-on-one instruction, and collaborative group learning. Online learning can be an individual or group, but it involves the use of online programs (Lexia Core 5 & Dreambox Learning) to deliver the learning experience for students. Online learning is meant not to replace the teacher but rather to extend learning. Online learning is only used at Benteen to provide additional support after providing the students with the Push-In or Pull-out classroom models. Benteen Elementary only uses the pull-out model for extreme cases. 


    Students in Kindergarten through 3rd grade receive one 45 minute segment each day or 225 minutes per week in utilizing the Push-In model. Students in Fourth and Fifth grade receive one 50 minutes segment daily or 250 minutes per week utilizing the Push-In or Pull out model.  Students who are available to a segment for the Blended Model in grades (K-2) receive an additional  45 minutes of instruction and grades (3-5) receive an additional 50 minutes of instruction.   It is Benteen Elementary’s goal by 2020 school year to completely employ the use of the Push-In model. 


    ESOL students are identified through Benteen’s registration Home Language Survey. The survey consists of three questions which determine which prominent language is spoken in the home. If the student qualifies, then the student is administered the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) MODEL for Kindergarten or the WIDA ACCESS Screener (grades 1-5). During each calendar school year, qualifying ESOL students are administered by WIDA the Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State to State (ACCESS) test. The ACCESS test is used as a method of measurement to gauge student English proficiency and academic language content growth through reading, speaking, listening, and writing. 


    To maintain student program accountability, each student in the ESOL program has a green folder located inside of the student records folder.   This green folder contains the students' school registration, home language survey, WIDA (K) Model or ACCESS Placement, ESOL Enrollment form, parental consent forms, and more importantly student accommodations. The green folders help to keep track of students' progress throughout their school life and maintain many confidential records. 


    Students have the opportunity to exit the language assistance program once they reach proficiency.  Students must reach a level of academic English Language proficiency. By doing so, it allows students to be successful and comparable to their peers. Once a student exits the ESOL program,  they are closely monitored for academic regression for four years. The first two years of monitoring are intense with quarterly meetings that include homeroom teachers to document progress and the last two years students are not documented quarterly check-ins.


     Dual Language Immersion 


    The APS Dual Language Immersion (DLI) Program is a two teacher, 50/50 model in which students spend half of the day learning in English and the other half of the day learning in Spanish. Benteen Elementary’s location helps to make it an ideal school for DLI. The DLI program is designed to use the language strengths of two teachers to the co-teach curriculum in their target languages. Parents may opt to not have their child included in the Dual Language Immersion program. Students not in the program will be able to attend a traditional classroom for their given grade. The program moves up one grade-level each year. The last year that students can enter into DLI is first grade. Students will not be prohibited to enter into the program after 1st grade. Further, students not in the Dual Language Immersion will still receive 45 minutes of Spanish instruction weekly and still adhere to the Atlanta Public Schools standards of service. 


    The Dual Language Immersion Program provides both native English speakers and English learners with general academic instruction in two languages starting with Kindergarten. (Steele et al., 2020) It is widely understood that children learn a second language quicker than adults and develop a better understanding of the native language in the process. Moreover, bilingual students show more critical thinking skills than their peers. 


    Dual Language Immersion will grow a grade by grade level every year until students have successfully matriculated through 5th grade. If students are able to stay within Dual Language Immersion throughout out High school they will be able to obtain a Biliteracy seal in the state of GA.  


    Students who are not in Dual Language Immersion but in the same grade as the program will receive 45 minutes of Spanish instruction a week. Some grade levels will receive 90 minutes of Spanish per week. 


    Media Center 


    Benteen Elementary uses the media center to provide resources for literacy including a growing collection of multicultural and multilingual texts, online resources, and computer usage both for individual and group research. Moreover, teachers have made it a priority to utilize the library media center in each one of their planners.  Further, classes are able to attend mini-lessons in the media center provided by the Library Media Specialist that covers a wide variety of topics that include but are not limited to language development, writing, reading, science, and social studies.  

    Additional Support

    Throughout 2018 - 2019, the principal, Dr. Andrew Lovett was selected as a ‘Teach on Project’ recipient.  With winning this award, Dr. Lovett was able to create a custom project that he believed will help his school benefit.  Dr. Lovett’s project was coined “Building Brilliant Biliterate” readers.  He received funds for the school where he was allowed to purchase books both in English and Spanish.  These books will allow volunteers to come into the school and read to each class in Spanish.  The project is significant in several ways.  One of the major aims of the project is to help Hispanic students build more self-confidence by seeing more parents read and volunteer within the school. Dr. Lovett implemented the program during the 2019 -2020 school year and looks to continue to build upon the program throughout his tenure at Benteen Elementary. 


    Policy Review 


    This policy was created by the Benteen Pedagogical IB Leadership Team.  This policy received input from parents, the community, and staff.  Only this committee may change, revise, or alter this policy for Benteen Elementary.  This policy will be reviewed on an annual basis.



    Steele, J., Slater, R., Zamarro, G., Miller, T., Li, J., Burkhauser, S. and Bacon, M., 2021. Dual-Language Immersion Programs Raise Student Achievement in English. [online] Rand.org. Available at: <https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9903.html> [Accessed 9 January 2020].


    Frederick W. Benteen Elementary Language Policy Updated Spring 2020