Norwich Public Schools has a diverse student population and currently services students from many countries around the world. Students speak 25 different languages, including Spanish, Haitian Creole, Cape Verde Creole, Mandarin, Cantonese, Chinese, Chuukese, Albanian, Arabic, Bangla, Bengali, Bulgarian, French, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Indonesian, Fillipino, Polish, Portuguese, Tagalog, Tibetan, Urdu, Vietnamese, and English. Because Norwich is committed to offering the highest quality educational services to all students, the Bilingual/ESL Department provides services in response to the linguistic and educational needs of English Language Learners (ELLs). The District's programs for ELLs are research-based and are designed to address both English proficiency and academic success.
The Bilingual/ESL department is responsible for ensuring that eligible students are receiving the services that they need. The staff, in conjunction with building administrators, provides a variety of supports for schools including:
Site visits, planning opportunities and classroom support.
Facilitating meetings where decisions are being considered that will support English Language Learners
Working with professional development and leadership teams in the District to design and lead small-group or whole-staff professional development activities
All limited English proficient (LEP) students are recommended for placement in an ESL program. Those students who have as a dominant language Spanish or Haitian Creole may be recommended for placement in a Bilingual Center Education program.
Bilingual Education Program
Connecticut State law requires that bilingual instruction be provided whenever there are twenty or more students in a school who are dominant in a single language other than English.
The Transitional Bilingual Program uses and develops the student's native language and culture to help the student acquire academic skills, positive self-concept skills and develop English proficiency. The bilingual education model utilized in Norwich is based on research which asserts that in order to be successful in the mainstream, ELLs must continue to develop cognitive and linguistic skills in their native language, while they are learning English. This approach will allow students to successfully transfer those abilities, skills and strategies to their new language. A student is fully transitioned into the standard curriculum program after he/she has reached a sufficient level of proficiency in all four domains of English to ensure equal access to the instruction in the mainstream classroom.
ESL Center Education Program
All materials and instructions are in English. Teachers make use of specific teaching techniques that assist students in learning English and content skills and concepts. Classes concentrate on the development of English language skills, including reading and writing. Native language may be used to help clarify concepts and skills when necessary to support the attainment of subject matter and English language competencies. ESL/Bilingual Mainstream Support Services ESL is any of various approaches to teaching the English language to non-native speakers. As broadly defined in the TESOL Standards, instruction aims to teach students to communicate in social settings, engage in academic tasks, and use language in socially and culturally appropriate ways. ESL develops listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills and, as such, is designed to help students acquire the English language, learn classroom routines typical of a U.S. public school, and succeed in the mainstream classroom. Support may be given in the form of ESL tutorials with the ESL/Bilingual paraeducator, Title I services, or another service in the student's home school.
Bilingual and Bicultural
Norwich Public Schools programs for English language learners promote mastery of the English language in a culturally and linguistically sensitive environment. However, it is important to not neglect a student's first language. Continuing to develop native language at home does not interfere with English language acquisition. In fact, the research shows that it helps the process.
There are many benefits to knowing more than one language. Economically, there is an increased demand for bilingual employees throughout the world. Socially, the United States is a diverse society with many languages and cultures represented. In addition, research indicates that knowing more than one language increases a person's thinking abilities. Bilingual and bicultural students have greater cognitive flexibility, and that flexibility can transfer into academic success.
How long does it take to learn English?
Basic Interpersonal Skills (BICS) - from one to three years
Cognitive Academic Language (CALPS) - from five to seven years
Factors that influence second language learning are many and varied. The following factors are important and will impact student learning:
Proficiency in native language
Quality and amount of education in the home country
Economic and political situations of the family
Personality of the student
Student perceptions and feelings about coming to America