Q & A
If you selected a language other than English on the Home Language Questionaire provided at enrollment, your child will be slated for an interview to determine if he or she should take the NYSITELL, the ENL diagnostic exam. If your child scores below the cutoff on the NYSITELL, he or she will become an ELL and will receive mandated ENL services until he or she passes the NYSESLAT.
ENL sessions typically last between 30 and 60 minutes and occur between two and five days per week. During these sessions, students work in a small group directly with their ENL teacher, or in a large integrated group with both their ENL teacher and their classroom teacher. In small group instruction, students work on literacy activities targeting close reading strategies, phonics and decoding, vocabulary building, composition and revision and background knowledge construction. In integrated instruction, students work on ELA activities modified for their ENL level with the support of their ENL and classroom teachers and their native-speaking peers. Beginning in March of each school year, ENL teachers begin explicit exam strategy instruction and practice to provide extra support in preparation for the NYS standardized exams and the NYSESLAT.
There are five ENL proficiency levels:
Entering: beginner ELL with little to no English exposure
Emerging: beginner ELL with some Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) in English, minimal Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP)
Transitioning: intermediate ELL with moderate BICS and CALP
Expanding: advanced ELL with approaching-grade level BICS and CALP
Commanding: Proficient Former ELL (F-ELL)
Each level comprises a different range of raw scores on the NYSESLAT exam. Students are expected to make progress from one level to the next each school year, with the goal of exiting the ENL program within 5 years. ELLs who remain in the program for 7 or more years are considered Long-Term ELLs and become eligible for additional targeted intervention to support their language acquisition progress.
NYSESLAT stands for New York State English as a Second Language Acquisition Test. It is a comprehensive exam consisting of a speaking subtest and three ssessions of Listening, Reading and Writing tests taken in April and May of each school year. Scores on this exam are calculated to correspond with one of five ENL proficiency levels (listed above). Once a student has earned a Commanding score on the NYSESLAT, he or she has "passed" the course and is no longer considered an ELL.
ELLs are entitled to time and a half on all tests, such that if an exam is scheduled for 3 hours, an ELL would receive 4.5 hours to finish. They are also entitled to test in a separate location from the rest of their mainstream class, and to have a glossary or translation in their home language available on any exams except for those that specifically test language and literacy skills (ELA, foreign language, NYSESLAT).
No. Once a child is designated as an ELL by their score on the NYSITELL diagnostic exam, they will remain an ELL and must recieve their weekly mandated service minutes until they achieve a score of Commanding on the NYSESLAT or a score of 4 on the NYS ELA Exam. However, it is extremely unlikely that a student without a Commanding score on the NYSESLAT will earn a 4 on the ELA Exam, so the main exit pathway from ENL is a Commanding NYSESLAT score.
Congratulations! If your child scored Commanding on the NYSESLAT, he or she is no longer an ELL and is now considered a Former ELL (F-ELL). Although no longer mandated to take the NYSESLAT annually, your child will still recieve 90 minutes of supportive ENL instruction each week and will be entitled to the same testing modifications as ELLs for an additional TWO years after becoming a Commanding F-ELL.
ENL seeks to confer English language proficiency using a maximum of 25% instructional support in ELLs’ home/native languages, usually at the beginning of their program, with the goal of 100% English instruction comprehension. Bilingual Education comprises a variety of dual language models, all with the intention of developing biliteracy in both the home/native language and English. The Transitional Bilingual model begins with 100% of instruction in the home language, and transitions incrementally to 100% English instruction. Other models support biliteracy through 50/50 instruction.
Cesar E. Chavez offers ENL to students of all five proficiency levels, with most ELLs functioning at Transitioning level or higher. However, Yonkers Public Schools also boast multiple Bilingual Education programs in other buildings. If you’d like to discuss program options, please contact the Cesar E. Chavez office, the ENL department, or the Board of Education for further information.