Language Learning Model
On August 20, 2020 Acero Schools Board of Directors adopted a resolution declaring our network as an anti-racist one. The network knows it has a lot of work to do, as outlined in the resolution. Our work is a big part of the solution. It begins and ends with Acero's language learning model. The foundational belief of the model is that all students are language learners and all teachers are language teachers.
Consider it. When did you last learn something new, even the most basic thing? Have you learned any new lingo or phrases lately? We all text, ask questions, sing, read things online, etc. Language is part of all that we do. In order to create the most welcoming and representative learning environment, it is imperative that we as a staff both acknowledge and engage with the understanding that language and culture are inextricably linked. Developing and committing to this environment will allow us to fully integrate cross-linguistic connections and sociocultural competence as the platform to both sustain and expand upon our students' linguistic and cultural repertoire.
Teachers - not regardless of but because of content area focus - are experts in the language of their content area. Students themselves are experts in the language of their generation. The word "goat" may mean one thing to you (the animal, right?) and another thing to a student (GOAT - greatest of all time). Language evolves and we are all learning it.
It is our responsibility to help students recognize key language embedded within our lessons and assessments. Students require repeated exposure to this language and will need opportunities to use the language themselves in various domains (reading, writing, speaking).
We use the Can Do Descriptors to help us identify what students - depending on their stage of English language development - can do in support of language learning. The support of language is woven into all instruction. However, support needs to be magnified for struggling students. We implement our school's data cycle and MTSS program to achieve this.
Students with an ACCESS Literacy Composite score of 3.4 or below receive targeted supports from the school's bilingual teachers, of which there are two. The bilingual teachers are considered the school's resident experts in language acquisition and development. The school's lead bilingual teacher (CPS term, "ELPT") participates as a member of the Instructional Leadership Team to serve as an advocate for all learners, but especially the most academically vulnerable language learners.