The Shelby County Schools’ ESL Program has been recognized
at both the state and national level for outstanding programming.
Our most recent honor was the selection by the U.S. Department
of Education as one of the 20 Model Language Instruction English
Programs in the country.
Eight cornerstones have contributed
to the success of our organization in promoting student English
English Language Acquisition‐ The
SCS ESL Program has focused on explicitly building English
language acquisition by incorporating the Tennessee ESL
Standards into the teaching of content. Teachers are
aware of the different functions of the English language,
how those functions connect with classroom content, and
how to teach the forms needed to comprehend and express
new learning in both the ESL and regular classroom.
Academics‐ The SCS ESL Department assists in
helping families and students register and acclimate
to the American school system. While time is spent teaching
BICS, or Basic Communicative Language Skills, the primary
focus for all students, even newcomers, is to provide
background knowledge, academic vocabulary and language,
and literacy skills so that English learners can profit
from and participate in their regular classroom setting.
Literacy‐ Because many of the new English
learners come to the district with limited English literacy
skills, the district uses a research‐based literacy program
(SIPPS) that quickly and systematically builds phonics,
decoding and encoding skills, sight words, English language
structure, and vocabulary.
A Vibrant Regular Classroom and ESL Teacher
Partnership‐ ESL teachers regularly communicate with
classroom teachers in order to support students emotionally,
socially, and academically. Regular communication also
ensures that ESL teachers can frontload, or preteach,
new vocabulary, language structure, and background knowledge
that students will be studying in the near future. Frontloading
prepares English learners to more fully participate in
their regular classroom program and reduces the need
Communication‐ The ESL department communicates and meets
formally and informally to share new research, examine
student data, teaching strategies, and hone instructional
practices. These meetings strengthen our effectiveness
at each school site district wide.
Curriculum Autonomy‐The needs of every English learner
are taken into account as ESL teachers plan and implement
their teaching program. Because ESL teachers have autonomy,
they can better match language acquisition to the regular
classroom content goals of each student. This careful
planning and implementation supports more rapid growth
in English language proficiency while simultaneously
building academic content knowledge.
Immigrant Support‐ Shelby County Schools is the only
district in the State of Tennessee that has a facilitator
assigned directly to work with immigrants. The district
immigrant facilitator works closely with new students,
parents, teachers, and other community agencies to participate
more fully in the American education system.
SCS ESL Web Site‐ The Shelby County Schools’
ESL Program features a comprehensive website for ESL
support for local schools. This website is also used
nationally and internationally as a resource tool by
other ESL programs and school districts.
English As A Second Language Staff
Todd Goforth, ESL Supervisor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steven Baade, ESL Instructional
Abasi McKinizie, Immigrant Facilitator