[lg policy] Boulevard Elementary School Language Policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 12 17:03:23 UTC 2011

Boulevard Elementary School
Language Policy

At Boulevard Elementary School we believe that language plays an
essential role in all learning. Students engage in learning activities
through reading, writing, asking questions, researching, exploring the
Internet, giving verbal answers to questions, listening to teacher
lectures and student presentations, participating in whole-class and
instructional peer group discussions, developing vocabulary, and so
on. Additionally, language is a medium of inquiry and central to each
student’s intellectual, social and emotional development.
Language plays an essential role in all learning. The following
statements define what we believe about language and language

 We believe that all faculty, staff, students and parents play a key
role as language teachers.
 We believe that language has a purpose and function and is acquired
through meaningful use and interaction.
 We believe that language and culture are interrelated; to learn
language is to learn culture.
 We believe that a student’s mother-tongue or dialect is an important
part of his or her identity and we respect and appreciate the various
languages and dialects within our school community.
 We believe that the mother–tongue languages and dialects at the
Boulevard enhance and enrich the learning environment and the school
 We agree to foster the development of a language-rich environment at
 We agree to foster a love of words, both written and spoken in order
to facilitate the development of language.
 We believe that both written and spoken languages are essential
tools for successful communication and necessary in order to make
sense of the world.

The Language of Instruction

 The language of instruction at Boulevard is English for all students.
 Language instruction provides students with the vital communication
skills needed to be academically successful in the classroom.
 Language instruction provides students with the essential skills
needed to socially integrate into the school community.
 Language learning takes place in authentic contexts across the curriculum.
 Language instruction is aligned to Ohio Academic Content Standards
and the Common Core English Language Arts Standards.
 The language arts curriculum is literature-based and utilizes the
guided reading and writer’s workshop methodology.
 Language instruction is differentiated to meet the needs of all learners.
 English Language Learners’ (ELL) receive services through the ELL
Program. The program provides services based on student’s individual
language needs while simultaneously supporting the content learning
which takes place in all classes.
 ELL students are taught using a variety of research-based methods
and strategies.
 Families are encouraged to borrow a variety of materials from the
ELL teachers such as dictionaries, electronic dictionaries, LeapPads
(an interactive reading system) bilingual books, books on tape and CD,
and flash cards.
The Additional Language at Boulevard Elementary School is Mandarin Chinese.
 All students in grades 1-4 receive Mandarin Chinese instruction from
a native Chinese teacher (45 minutes per week for grade 1, 60 minutes
per week for grades 2-4.)
 Visual labels in Chinese characters are used throughout the school
to reinforce Mandarin Chinese instruction.
 The Mandarin Chinese classroom and our school library have books
about the country of China, Chinese/English dictionaries and bilingual
books written in Chinese and English. This collection continues to
 The Mandarin Chinese teacher provides links to resources for parents
and students to access at home for further Mandarin Chinese language
development. These resources include a district Moodle website and a
teaching blog which includes songs, chants and video clips that
reinforce Chinese language development and Chinese culture.
Additionally, vocabulary flashcards and various game websites are
 Morning announcements include Mandarin Chinese phrases to reinforce
the students’ comprehension skills and oral fluency.
 Chinese/English picture dictionaries are available to students in
classrooms for further research and enjoyment.
Mother-tongue Language
Children from over 30 different countries attend school at Boulevard
Elementary in Shaker Heights. Approximately 30% of the 350 students at
Boulevard are international. The emergence of Boulevard as an
international school community has roots in the schools proximity to
the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University Hospitals of Cleveland and
Case Western Reserve University, which attracts medical and research
talent from around the world. Many of our international students know
little or no English when they arrive. As children are instructed in
learning the English language they are also supported in continuing
learning in their mother-tongue language.
Mother-tongue Language Definition: The first language learned at home
in childhood and is typically the preferred language spoken in the
student’s home.
Advantages of Supporting Mother-tongue Language Development:
 Promotes skill-transfer between languages
o Students who have a solid foundation in their mother-tongue develop
stronger literacy abilities in the school language as knowledge and
skills transfer across languages.
 Affirms cultural heritage
o Maintains cultural link with home country
o Prepares for return to home-country school
 Strengthens self-worth and family connectedness
o Increases confidence to take important language learning risks in
new language and new culture
o Promotes parental ties, family membership (Wong-Fillmore, 1991)
 Promotes international-mindedness in the school setting
o Affirms cultural diversity and cultural awareness (Sylvester, 1998)
o Encourages open and respectful attitudes to other cultures (Beus &
Spoon, 2006)
o Promotes additive bilingualism and biculturism, a goal of
international education (Gallagher, 2002)
Although it is not feasible for Boulevard Elementary to offer courses
for all mother tongue languages that are in our school community, we
strongly believe that students should continue to develop their
mother-tongue skills while learning in an English language school
environment. To that end we have put the following supports in place:
 Students are provided with time in school to read for pleasure in
their mother-tongue language
 Books are continually added to our mother-tongue language
collections and represent the best in literature of a given language
as well as books that are popular with children.
 Students are encouraged to bring books in their mother tongue
language from home to read while at school.
 Students are encouraged to communicate in their mother tongue at
school and at home.
 Students are encouraged to share their mother-tongue language with
class and schoolmates through morning announcements, oral presentation
and written communications.
 Volunteer interpreters are available to facilitate communication
between home and school.
 Community resources are made available to families.
Boulevard Language Policy Annual Review:
 The Boulevard Language Policy will be reviewed annually.
 The Building Leadership Team will conduct the annual review of the
Language Policy and provide each staff member with the opportunity to
provide feedback.


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