[lg policy] Metropolitan Learning Center Language Policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 8 16:02:29 UTC 2011

Metropolitan Learning Center Language Policy


A language policy is an action statement … It is concerned less with
where the students in a school are
going, and more with how they are going to get there. Language Policy
in School, Corson (1999)
A language policy is derived from the school’s language philosophy and
is a statement of purpose that
outlines goals for language teaching and learning. It is constructed
around pedagogical and learning
beliefs and is therefore also a statement of action describing
practices for achieving and evaluating
goals. Guidelines for developing a school language policy, IBO (2008)


At Metropolitan Learning Center it is our belief that the ability to
communicate in more than one
language is critical in fostering international understanding,
intercultural awareness, intellectual
growth and open‐minded global citizens for the 21st century.
We believe learning language, learning about language, and learning
through language are the most
effective approaches to teaching students. We believe that the
acquisition of language is a life‐long
process that permeates all learning and is a key factor in developing
intrapersonal and interpersonal
skills. We believe that all teachers are language teachers who share
responsibilities in facilitating
communication. Furthermore, we believe that all students should have
the opportunity to learn and
use a second language. This, in turn, enables students to have better
understanding of the world in
which we live, and promotes a global perspective and internationalism.

Language Profile

Metropolitan Learning Center is public, interdistrict magnet school.
Students enroll in MLC from a large
number of sending districts through a state‐run lottery system. The
mother tongue of 99% of MLC
students is English, but many need support with literacy. When
students enter MLC, parents and
students are asked to complete a form indicating which Language B
(Spanish or Chinese) they prefer to
study. Students study one Language B continuously throughout all five
years of the MYP program, and
beyond (i.e. from grade 6 to grade 12.) This ensures continuous
learning of a second language and
fulfillment of MLC’s oral proficiency graduation requirement and the
state of Connecticut’s high school
graduation requirement for second language acquisition.

Language A (English)

At the Metropolitan Learning Center, the language of instruction is
English, the mother tongue of 99%
of the students. MLC is a public school which must comply with all
local, state and national regulations
regarding language of instruction and services for English language
learners (ELL). Additionally, MLC
serves a predominately underserved population of students who come
from a large number of school
districts and who have had widely varying experiences with literacy in
their mother tongue of English.
To compensate for this, Language A (mother tongue support) classes are
offered in both Reading and
in Language Arts in Years 1‐3. For the very small number of students
whose mother tongue is not
English, specialized ELL classes are offered for those students who
are identified by state and national
mandates to receive it.

The MLC IB‐MYP curriculum contains themed, interdisciplinary units
that address major global issues.
Language A classes include works of literature, non‐fiction texts,
articles and poetry in support of these
globally‐focused units and the Reading classes support literacy in the
mother tongue through a variety
of strategies using resources connected wherever possible to the
curriculum. MLC students are
expected to effectively communicate orally and in written form and
demonstrate this through
individual, group and whole class activities as well as on
state‐mandated literacy tests. MLC exceeds
the state average in reading and writing across all grade levels and
has met and exceeded AYP as
mandated by the U.S. Department of education each year.

Language B (Spanish, Chinese)

At Metropolitan Learning Center, Language B instruction plays an
important role. All students take
Language B. MLC believes that learning a second (or third) language
enhances students’ awareness of
learning styles, strategies and study skills as well as greater
awareness and understanding and empathy
for other cultures. All MLC students are expected to reach a measured
oral proficiency level to qualify
for graduation. The Oral Proficiency Check (OPC) serves as the
mechanism for assessing student
development in Language B. The OPCs are articulated across all levels
of instruction and were
developed by the world language department using ACTFL guidelines that
align nicely with the IB‐MYP
Language B standard level criteria.

ELL (English Language Learner) & SEN (Special Education Needs) Support

The English Language Learner (ELL) Program is a service provided to
students who speak a language
other than English as the mother tongue. At MLC less than 1% (7‐8
students) of the student population
is identified as non‐native English speaking. The majority of these
non‐native English speakers have
Spanish as their mother tongue, while Polish and Russian make up the
balance of mother tongue
languages spoken among this group. MLC also provides comprehensive
services for students with
special educational needs that allow them to participate fully in
Language B instruction.
The Metropolitan Learning Center, as a public school, is required to
comply with state and national
requirements regarding services for students whose home language is
not English as well as for
students who are identified as needing special educational services.

All parents of incoming students complete the Home Language Survey,
which consists of three
questions. When two or more answers indicate a home language other
than English, a screening letter
is sent home, and then, if necessary, the student is assessed using
the Language Assessment System
(LAS) to determine English proficiency. Should the student show
limited English proficiency, ELL
services may begin after parents/guardians are notified of the
results. According to state law, parents
are entitled to interpretation and translation services as needed. ELL
students are given the LAS
annually in order to track their progress. English Language Learners
are supported by support staff in
the learning of the required skills in classes taught in Language A as
well as Language B classes and
receive support in their mother tongue as resources allow. Students
are exited from the ELL Program
when they have achieved a 4, Proficient level, on the LAS. In
addition, students must also meet state
ELL standards on CMT/CAPT to exit

Students identified as having special educational needs with
Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) are
served by a special education department (see MLC’s Comprehensive
School Services document) which
includes modifications in Language A and Language B as necessary. Both
ELL students and students
with Special Educational Needs are supported through inclusion in the
content areas, including
Language A and Language B, with specialized individual and small group
instruction guided by the
appropriate staff as necessary

Student support staff members (ELL teachers and Special Education
teachers) deliver the majority of
services in the general education environment by working directly with
all teachers to ensure that all
students have full access to the MYP program and curriculum. Student
support staff members work
directly with the students to ensure full participation and engagement
in the MYP programme of
studies while meeting the needs of the identified learner. The IB
learner profile and approaches to
learning are used in developing IEP’s and in planning instruction.

Sources: Guidelines for developing a school language policy IBO 2008
Handley School ( Saginaw, MI ) IB PYP Language Policy 2009
Rufus King International School ( Milwaukee, WI ) IB Language Policy 2008
Atlanta International School ( Atlanta, GA ) Language Policy 2008
Anglican International School ( Jerusalem, Israel ) School Wide
Language Policy 2008
International School of Latvia ( Jurmala, Latvia ) Language Policy 2008
International School of Western Australia (City Beach, Australia )
Language Policy 2009


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