English as a Second Language
The English as a Second Language program is offered to children whose native language is not English from grades K-12 at all schools in Lawrence Township. When you register your child for school, you complete a home language survey. If you answer that your home language is not English on the home language survey, you and your child will be contacted by an English as a Second Language teacher to evaluate your child’s proficiency in English. The teacher will interview and assess your child to determine if he or she should be placed in the English as a Second Language Instructional Program.
As we honor, respect, and support our children’s native languages, traditions, and cultures, it is our goal to prepare students to be academically successful as students acclimate to the school environment. To that end, we provide our English Language Learners with daily instructional programs that are age-appropriate and that support them at their level of English language proficiency. As the State of New Jersey prescribes, we use the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) English Language Development Standards as a basis for our instruction and move students towards the expectations of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards as appropriate for their grade level. If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), improvement in his or her ability to speak, read, and write in English will help your child meet the objectives of the IEP.
Students are assessed throughout the school year using the WIDA Can-Do descriptors as a guide, which provide educators and families with expectations of what children can be expected to do well at a particular point in their language learning journey. In March, our students are assessed with the ACCESS for English Language Learners test; the results of this assessment are used to determine a child’s placement or exit in the English as a Second Language program for the next school year.
We recommend that all children who are found eligible for English as a Second Language Services participate in our English as a Second Language instructional program. Parents may refuse services at any time; they must communicate this refusal in writing to the Office of Instructional Services.
The chart below outlines the instructional program at the schools throughout the district:
Ben Franklin Elementary School
Your child will receive approximately 40 minutes of English language instruction each day. The English as a Second Language teacher will work with your child in a small group setting or individually during the school day. Depending upon the level of the child’s ability, the teacher may push-in to your child’s classroom.
Eldridge Park Elementary School
Lawrence Elementary School
Slackwood Elementary School
Lawrence Intermediate School
Lawrence Middle School
Your child will receive English as a Second Language services as one or two of his or her classes, and, depending on your child’s proficiency level, he or she may also be enrolled in an English class.
Lawrence High School
There are many resources available online, in Lawrence Township, and in Mercer County to support you and your child. Each page on the school’s website can be translated using Google translate by clicking the icon at the top of the screen.
Many of our teachers communicate with our English as a Second Language families through Talking Points. Talking Points is an app that you may download to your phone or tablet that will send messages to you in your native language.
Here are some other helpful resources for families of English Language Learners, including links to local providers of adult ESL classes.
- Colorin Colorado! A Bilingual site for educators and families of English Language Learners.
- NJ Department of Education: Title III and ELLs
- Edutopia: Resources for Teaching English-Language Learners
- Community for Accredited Online Schools: ESL/ELL Resources to Succeed in School
- Mercer County Community College: English as a Second Language Program
- NJ State Library: New Jersey Social Services: Literacy and ESL
- Princeton, NJ: Language and ESL Classes
- The Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. Adult Education
- YWCA of Princeton: Literacy Programs