Pinkerton Elementary Language Policy
Pinkerton’s goal is for all learners to develop a love of language and become literate adults with excellent critical thinking skills. We acknowledge that each learner comes to school with a set of unique experiences and skills that when shared with others, enrich the social, cultural, and educational environments of our classrooms, schools, and communities.
At Pinkerton, we believe:
- all educators are considered teachers of language and are committed to providing the communication skills necessary for learners to become caring, globally-minded citizens.
- language instruction encompasses all modes of expression (oral, written, visual representation, signs and symbols) and reception (reading, listening and viewing).
- language is a major connecting element across the curriculum. Therefore, the focus is not only on language and literacy, but also on its application across all subject areas and throughout the transdisciplinary program of inquiry.
- educators are role models for using and learning language and can foster a positive attitude toward language and literature.
- teaching learners to respect diversity in language and literacy enables them to remain in touch with, and maintain esteem, for the language, literature and culture of their home country.
SCHOOL LANGUAGE PRACTICES
All learners at Pinkerton are instructed in American English, using the following techniques:
- Language instruction is embedded across all subject areas as students listen, speak, read and write in authentic learning experiences.
- Inquiry-based learning incorporating class conversations, reading and writing responses, and problem solving activities.
- Differentiation of content, learning process and products (guided reading, Istation, Imagine Learning, DRA, and Reader’s Workshop Model)
- Opportunities for frequent learner reflection
- Use of formal and informal assessment data to drive instruction
- Peer-to-peer and learner-to-teacher talk
- Providing additional programs for language development for learners needing specialized support, such as speech, dyslexia and special education services.
All learners in K-5 at Pinkerton receive weekly Spanish instruction:
- Grades K-2: 3o minutes per week
- Grades 3-5: 30 minutes per week
- Learners not only learn to speak the language, but they also learn about language (how it works, similarities and differences between languages, etc) and they learn through language as they explore the cultures of the world.
- Spanish instruction centers around the Five Standards of Foreign Language Learning from ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages): Cultures, Communication, Connections, Communities, and Comparisons.
- Where relevant and authentic connections can be made, the Spanish educator is purposeful about supporting and enriching grade level units of inquiry. Spanish is also visible throughout the school as educators display Spanish classroom labels, and utilize useful phrases that are taught and disseminated to the entire school. Spanish, as well as additional languages of our families, are included in the daily announcements along with cultural tips and highlights,
ENGLISH as a SECOND LANGUAGE (ESL) INSTRUCTION
All students who are identified as speaking languages other than English will be screened for English as a Second Language services upon enrollment at Pinkerton Elementary as required by the state of Texas. All currently employed educators are ESL certified and will provide content based instruction to learners that qualify. Additionally, the ESL facilitator will provide support to educators and learners in various capacities. The LPAC committee will determine learner placement in the program or reclassification at the end of the school year.
MOTHER TONGUE SUPPORT
Pinkerton learners are encouraged to preserve their cultural identity through the use of their mother tongue (native language) at home and school. Students are also encouraged to share their culture and language within their classroom and school learning communities through presentations, our Arts and Culture NIght, and a variety of other formal and informal opportunities. We also value our parents who speak other languages and utilize their knowledge as resources and guest speakers. The library houses a collection of books in multiple languages that support both second language acquisition and mother tongue development. As our language program develops, we will seek more opportunities to highlight and support other mother tongue languages.
Language will be assessed based on our current assessment policy.
Parents are encouraged to support language development at home through reading with their child on a regular basis, discussing and elaborating on writing, and speaking with their children in their mother tongue and their second language if possible.
LANGUAGE POLICY REVIEW
We will provide an opportunity to review our language policy annually with both new and returning staff. At the start of the school year, the vertical team will review the policy to maintain up-to-date practices and then share it with all staff. Additionally, the language policy is posted on the school’s website for all stakeholders (staff, parents, district personnel, and community members) to access at any time.