ELA (English Language Acquisition)
Merrill’s English Language Acquisition (ELA) Program supports international students who speak languages other than English at home. The program addresses speaking, reading, listening, and writing in English.
The ELA Program’s primary goal is to provide our international students with the English language skills they need to meaningfully participate in Merrill’s traditional curricular program so they can transition into traditional classes. Our faculty employs an ESL model in which students receive supported instruction in math, science, and social studies in English, along with daily intensive English Language Development scheduled for two hours each day.
A secondary goal of the ELA department is to promote positive and rich intercultural experiences for all Merrill students. Merrill provides these opportunities in integrated elective courses, collaborative academic projects, after-school programs and teams, and school leadership initiatives.
Leveled English Language Development Classes
English Language Development (ELD) courses for international students are differentiated by students’ English language proficiency. We provide leveled courses from beginning to advanced English that teach reading, writing, speaking, and listening through materials that are both academically rigorous and of high interest to middle school students. International students learn English and gain familiarity with America’s cultural heritage by reading many types of literature, and by writing for many audiences and purposes. All ELD classes provide instruction in the basic components of English expression, including vocabulary, grammar, writing, speaking, pronunciation, listening, and reading. In addition, ELA teachers use collaborative reading groups, writing to read activities, and other highly effective instructional strategies that are used in all Merrill classrooms.
The Newcomer Program
Merrill’s Newcomer Program is the first Newcomer Program for middle school students in the state of Colorado and is one of two in the entire district. This program serves students of middle school age who have had little to no formal schooling, or those who have had severely interrupted education. The Newcomer Program provides these students with intensive instruction in English literacy and sheltered instruction in all content areas. The program offers a low teacher-to-student ratio to meet the educational, social, emotional, and acculturation needs of the students.