English Language Development
For questions, comments, or concerns regarding special education or Section 504 plans, please contact:
Dr. Creighton Helms
Director of Student Services and Federal Programs
(503) 792-3803 x4010
The English Language Development (ELD) program provides specialized English language instruction to students who are not yet fluent in English.
- Our Goal. In the Gervais School District, one out of three students receive ELD services, with nearly an additional 75 students in monitoring status. The majority of our ELs are our youngest learners: 168 of those students are at Gervais Elementary School, whereas 120 EL students are at Gervais Middle and High School combined.
We have two urgent imperatives as educators in this district regarding ELD: (1) To provide each one of them, as individual learners, with the tools they need to access grade-level instruction and equitable opportunities for both core and elective classes; and (2) To design and implement an ELD plan that makes the greatest long-term use of our resources in a way that provides ELL students with the best opportunities for language acquisition as early as possible in their educational experience with us. We believe in the body of research that suggests there are a greater number of predictors towards English language proficiency for early-stage learners than late or long-stage leaners. In other words, we believe the most critical stage of language acquisition for our ELs is when they are in their elementary-aged years, most notably Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd-grade. Our district data over time supports this belief: for our ELLs who do not pass the ELPA before the exit GES, the likelihood of them passing it before they graduate reduces dramatically.
Therefore, it is critical to the success of our district that we have both a viable ELD plan that is (a) grounded in best-practice strategies; (b) sustainable with short- and long-term support plans; and (c) malleable to ever-changing needs of our student body and instructional staff.
- Our Plan. Our program is designed to provide systematic English language instruction, using Oregon’s English Language Proficiency standards.
The Gervais School District is and will continue to be an EL Achieve Partner District. You can think of EL Achieve as a provider of curriculum (à la McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin, etc.). However, unlike traditional curriculum companies who provide curriculum that can be taught “out-of-the-box” and in the absence of ongoing professional development, EL Achieve takes a near-opposite approach. Leveraging regular professional development and a district’s committed desire to reflect ELL instruction best-practices in lesson planning and pedagogy, EL Achieve becomes part of who we are and not just the material we use. You are encouraged to learn more about EL Achieve by going to https://www.elachieve.org/ or reaching out to me. EL Achieve is made up of two elements, both of which we use in different capacities: Systematic ELD and Constructing Meaning.
Flashlight360: the district has adopted an online learning program called Flashlight360 this year. This program was developed specifically for ELLs, K-12, and focuses on six key areas to help them succeed: interpretation, fluency, vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and writing. Of note, this program gives ELLs frequent opportunities to record their own voice, hear their recording, and write about what they’ve read, as well as providing teachers, building administrators, ELD teachers, and Dr. Helms with formative assessment results throughout the year that is expected to be highly ELPA-predictive. You can watch a video of what Flashlight360 may look like for an Emerging ELL by clicking here.
At Gervais Elementary School, students will receive ELD support two different ways: (a) during the entire day, through their core content instruction, by way of EL Achieve Constructing Meaning (non-evaluative) and other ELD instructional strategies; and (b) a 30 or 45-minute block, clearly designated on the master schedule, to address ELD and intervention needs for target students, taught by ELD-specific teachers.
At Gervais Middle and Gervais High Schools, students will also receive ELD support two different ways: (a) all students, during the entire day, through their core content instruction, by way of Constructing Meaning (non-evaluative) and other ELD instructional strategies; and (b) targeted students who are rostered in ELD-specific classes with ELD-specific teachers.
Read full details about the Oregon Department of Education’s English Learner State Report here.
- Services for ELD Students and Families
The ELD Program also provides the following free services that benefit ELD students and families:
- Our Welcome Center is a resource for ELD families and students to receive information and support in Spanish.
- Interpretation services are available for parent communication.
- Evening classes and meetings for parents and family members throughout the year. Please contact the Welcome Center for information regarding these meetings.