English Language Learners (ELL)

The ELL Program at Whittier Elementary
The ELL population at Whittier E.S. has increased over the past few years. Our students come from all over the world and speak more than thirty different languages. In order to meet the needs of such a diverse population, our program has to follow specific guidelines. 
  • How do students become classified as English Language Learners?

       Here at Whittier the process begins as soon as a student is registered. Parents are given an enrollment form in which they have to identify the student’s primary language and the language spoken at home. If either of these boxes is checked, the ELL process begins. Parents will have to complete a form giving permission for testing and for ELL services to be provided (in case the student qualifies). Upon completion of testing, he/she will be placed in the program. Students can be placed in five ELL levels based on the test results: low beginner, high beginner, low intermediate, high intermediate, advanced, and independent.

  • What is the role of the ELL teachers?

         ELL teachers will work with students according to their levels and needs. It is important to remember that “conversational” or “social” English may take one to three years to acquire, while academic English may take five to ten years to acquire. The ELL teachers will support students during their second language acquisition process with instruction that is geared towards developing listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. For ELL students, the ability to use academic language effectively is a key to success in grade-level classrooms.