[lg policy] Merrill Middle School Language Policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 22 15:11:57 UTC 2011

Merrill Middle School – An IB World School

Language Policy

The primary language of instruction for all students at Merrill Middle
School is English.
All students will receive instruction in a world language other than
their mother tongue.
School Language Philosophy

At Merrill Middle School, we believe that language is fundamental to
learning, thinking, and communicating. Language is an integral part of
each curriculum, meaning that all teachers at Merrill are language
teachers. Further, Merrill takes a holistic approach to literacy: We
allow students to demonstrate their language competency across all
curricula, and we believe that parents are a critical partner in the
development of language.

We believe in the acquisition of more than one language as a means to
enrich personal growth, enhance cognitive development, and facilitate
international understanding. In addition, Merrill promotes the
maintenance of mother-tongue languages to honor cultural identity.

Guiding Principles
 The Des Moines Public Schools literacy curriculum maps will serve as
a guide for English language instruction in listening, speaking,
reading, writing, and viewing at all grade levels.
 Instructional time is grounded in the literacy components of word
knowledge, fluency, writing, and comprehension.
 Teachers attend professional-development workshops to explore
current instructional practices.
 The library offers a variety of materials, instruction, and
technology to encourage language development and media literacy.
 A variety of texts, resources, and supplemental language materials
are used to meet the needs of all learners.
 Literacy instruction/learning leads to authentic experiences and
assessments. Continual formative and summative assessments monitor
literacy skills, including listening, speaking, reading, writing, and
 All students can learn a second language.
Language B: Spanish
 All students receive instruction in the world language of Spanish in
all three years of the MYP.
 World-language instruction is differentiated for the many levels of
proficiency in each grade.
 Students are held accountable for the acquisition of Spanish as an
academic subject.
 Incoming students take a placement test to gauge Spanish proficiency.
 The English Language Learners Program provides English instruction
for students whose mother tongue is not English.
 English language acquisition is assessed on a regular basis within
the performance expectations of each level of proficiency.
 ESL materials are available to all teachers, as needed.
 Professional development for the ESL teachers is provided by the Des
Moines Public Schools.
 Each student who receives ESL instruction undergoes a summative
assessment annually. The I-ELDA exam meets state and district
requirements for placement and proficiency.


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