English for Speakers of Other Languages
Ms. Lauren Leach, ESOL Specialist
Lauren Leach is excited to be returning to AST as the ESOL specialist for her fourth year! Lauren has eight years of experience teaching English as a Second Language. Prior to AST, Lauren taught in the Czech Republic and South Korea. Lauren earned her B.A. at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in English. She is currently pursuing her M.Ed in Teaching English Learners and is passionate about learning and applying strategies to best support language acquisition and literacy development. Lauren grew up in a small town in Alabama, but was bitten by the travel bug early. She has traveled to over 30 countries and looks forward to exploring more. She also enjoys composing and performing blues and folk music on guitar. Lauren is looking forward to another great year at AST!
AST students will use English proficiently in social and academic environments and become prepared for the language demands of the American university system. The ESOL program is designed to support students to reach grade-level expectations in English speaking, reading, writing, and listening.
ESOL Program Model
- ESOL class sizes are limited to 10 students to quickly advance students’ English skills. The small class size allows teachers to work with students individually on specific skills he/she needs to advance to grade level English proficiency. Teachers use assessments to guide this targeted instruction in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
- The ESOL program is based on the WIDA Language Proficiency Standards. These standards support college and career readiness goals in all subjects including mathematics, sciences, and language arts.
- Academic vocabulary is emphasized as well as language forms and functions.
- At the elementary level, a combination of pull-out (separate class) and push in (co-teaching with the language arts teacher) models are used. For early elementary, there is a strong emphasis on phonetic development and literacy. Students will build foundational skills in phonics, literacy, and reading comprehension. The upper elementary coursework includes grammar and writing workshops, as well as comprehension skills using online reading programs.
- At the middle school level, students in the ESOL program are required to participate in a self-contained ESOL elective course. Credit is received for the course. Students develop reading and writing skills with fiction and nonfiction texts. There is a strong emphasis on writing skills, including one-on-one feedback and targeted instruction. Additionally, extra practice is given to developing speaking and listening skills.