Category Archives: Uncategorized

10 Tips for Empathizing with & Including ELLs

Check out these great tips from Edutopia for making ELLs feel welcome and included.



Culturefest 2014

Culturefest returns to the University of Maine at Orono campus on November 8!  


This is a fantastic free event for families featuring informational booths, children’s activities, food, traditional clothing, and more from a variety of countries. Don’t miss it!

Click this link to learn more.

Rock Around the World!

ImageJoin Portland Public Schools Multilingual & Multicultural Center for an evening of dancing at a global rock and roll extravaganza. Learn dances from different cultures.  Also, enjoy delicious international hors d’oeuvres, a raffle, and a silent auction of goods and services from Portland and around the world.

The extravaganza will be held at the Italian Heritage Center, 40 Westland Avenue, Portland on Friday, March 21, 2014 from 7-11:00 PM.  Tickets are $25 in advance.  Limited tickets for $30.00 will be available at the door. To order tickets, call the Multilingual and Multicultural Center at 874-8135.

Pre-K Enrollment Packets Available February 1

RSU 18 elementary schools will have pre-k enrollment packets available at all main offices beginning on February 1. If you have a child who will be four years old by October 15, 2014, your child is eligible for attendance in our pre-k programs.

img.phpEnrollment numbers are limited; therefore, please  return your packets as soon as possible. The placement process begins the first week in May, and by May 16 you will receive a letter indicating whether or not your child has been placed in our pre-k program by May 16, 2014.

Acronyms Explained

Aren’t all those acronyms confusing?!

Some of the ELL world’s most common

ACCESS – Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners – Name of the annual assessment given to English Language Learners (ELLs) in the state of Maine and other consortium states

BICS – Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills – language skills needed in social situations. It is the day-to-day language needed to interact socially with other people. English language learners (ELLs) employ BICs when they are on the playground, in the lunch room,on the school bus, at parties, playing sports and talking on the telephone. They occur in a meaningful social context. They are not very demanding cognitively. The language required is not specialized. These language skills usually develop within six months to two years after arrival in the U.S.   – courtesy

CALPs– Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency – CALP is the language used in formal academic learning. This includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing about subject area content material. This level of language learning is essential for students to succeed in school. Students need time and support to become proficient in academic areas. This usually takes from five to seven years. Recent research (Thomas & Collier, 1995) has shown that if a child has no prior schooling or has no support in native language development, it may take seven to ten years for ELLs to catch up to their peers.  Academic language acquisition isn’t just the understanding of content area vocabulary. It includes skills such as comparing, classifying, synthesizing, evaluating, and inferring. Academic language tasks are context reduced. Information is read from a textbook or presented by the teacher. As a student gets older the context of academic tasks becomes more and more reduced.The language also becomes more cognitively demanding. New ideas, concepts and language are presented to the students at the same time.  –courtesy

ELL – English Language Learner (i.e. Emily is an ELL.  There are 15 ELLs in our district.) or  English Language Learning (i.e. Mrs. Greeley teaches ELL.)  ELL, when referring to the teaching/learning program, has gained greater favor than English as a Second Language (ESL), as many learners are bilingual or multilingual and find the term ESL ill-fitting

ESL – English as a Second Language – refers to the program which provides appropriate educational supports to English Language Learners (ELLs) so they can become socially and academically successful in English-speaking environments

LAC – Language Assessment Committee – the ad-hoc committee, consisting of an administrator, a guidance counselor, the ELL coordinator, classroom teachers and parents of an ELL, who meet on a yearly basis to develop an individual English Language Learner Plan

W-APT – WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test – the screening tool used to determine English proficiency and placement within an ELL/ESL program