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Knowing Your Students and Resources

Before the beginning of a new school year, it is important to know who your students will be, what your staff’s expertise is and what resources are available. This information will help you make decisions about how to organize your school to effectively meet the needs of all students, including English language learners.

Gathering Data about the School’s English Language Learner Population

  • How many English language learners are in your school?
  • What are the students’ English language proficiency levels by grade?
  • What are the students’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds?
  • What are the students’ academic backgrounds? Have any of the students experienced limited formal schooling?
  • What are the students’ special learning needs?
  • What are the students’ interests related to complementary courses (if applicable)?

Gathering Data about School Staff

  • What are the school staff’s expertise and experiences related to English language learners?
  • How are staff assignments organized to support the instruction and assessment of English language learners?
  • Are staff designated to support English language learners during welcoming and registering, course selection and other administrative tasks (e.g., guidance counsellors)?
  • What types of professional development opportunities are available related to English language learning?

Gathering Data about Current School Organization and Resources

  • What is working for English language learners in the current organizational structure?
  • What needs to change to better meet the needs of these students?
  • What types of alternative programming are being offered (e.g., gifted and talented, arts-based, traditional learning, French immersion)?
  • Which of the existing courses or programs are appropriate for different English language proficiency levels?
  • What complementary courses are offered (e.g., CTS)?
  • If in a high school, are provincial English as a second language courses offered?
  • If in a high school, are locally developed English as a second language courses offered?
  • What co-curricular opportunities exist (e.g., clubs, support groups, study groups) that might support English language learners?
  • What teaching/learning spaces and facilities are available?
  • What learning/teaching materials are available to support English language learners (e.g., texts, manipulatives)?
  • What technologies are available to support English language learners (e.g., computers, software, assistive technologies)?
  • What opportunities to be involved in the school are available to parents of English languages learners?
  • What community services and supports can staff access (e.g., interpreters)?
  • What community services and supports can students and their families access (e.g., immigration support groups)?