Immersion at NCPA
NCPA is an immersion school aimed at developing students' English proficiency. For us, language happens in context, all the time. Students are expected to engage in rigorous, grade-level, academic coursework while developing their language abilities through intentionally structured learning experiences. This ensures that students achieve academically at a range of English proficiency levels, while acquiring language specific to academic disciplines and uses.
Achieving this objective requires deep collaboration amongst our staff. Content teachers and EAL specialists are assigned to work with each other to build learning experiences that meet the needs of our students in the worlds of both content and language.
The following video presents an example of how this can happen:
ELL Strategies: Graphic Organizers and Sentence Frames from NCPA.
Additionally, to ensure students maintain and continue to develop foundational literacy skills that are transferable to their English ability, NCPA offers rigorous, mandatory Chinese courses across all grade levels. This helps us achieve our objective of supporting students as bilinguals, navigating their home language and culture as well as that of English flexibly.
NCPA has adopted Stanford University’s Six Key Principles for Teaching English Language Learners as the cornerstone of our program. These principles guide our entire faculty in ensuring that students successfully meet the rigorous demands of standards-based instruction while supporting English language acquisition:
Instruction focuses on providing ELLs with opportunities to engage in discipline- specific practices which are designed to build conceptual understanding and language competence in tandem.
Instruction leverages ELLs’ home language(s), cultural assets, and prior knowledge.
Standards-aligned instruction for ELLs is rigorous, grade-level appropriate, and provides deliberate and appropriate scaffolds.
Instruction moves ELLs forward by taking into account their English proficiency level(s) and prior schooling experiences.
Instruction fosters ELLs’ autonomy by equipping them with the strategies necessary to comprehend and use language in a variety of academic settings.
Diagnostic tools and formative assessment practices are employed to measure students’ content knowledge, academic language competence, and participation in disciplinary practices.
Our pursuit of research-based principles leads us to use instructional strategies like those below:
ELL Strategies: Freewriting from NCPA.
ELL Strategies - Socratic Seminars from NCPA.
Learn more about Stanford's Six Principles: http://ell.stanford.edu/content/six-key-principles-ell-instruction
NCPA uses the WIDA MODEL test as a 3rd party tool for program evaluation. The test is administered every year, and results are used as entry points for discussion over program effectiveness and student progress.
Learn more about WIDA: https://wisc.wceps.org/