The Amherst Public and Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools welcome students from over 38 different language groups who are learning English as a new language. Our school staff are dedicated to creating a high-quality, inclusive learning environment for all students that incorporates students’ linguistic and cultural backgrounds into their educational experiences. All languages spoken within the ARPS community: Adangme, Arabic, Bantu, Bengali, Berber, Cape Verdean, Chinese, Dutch, English, Estonian, French, German, Gujarati, Haitian French Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Igbo, Japanese, Khmer, Kinyarwanda, Korean, Kurdish, Lingala, Marathi, Mis, Nepali, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Rundi, Russian, Sinhala, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Tibetan, Tigrinya, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Wolof, Yoruba.
The district’s two pronged Sheltered English Instruction Program consists of high quality instruction in English Language Development provided by licensed ESL teachers, coupled with Sheltered Content Instruction provided by SEI Endorsed classroom teachers. Additionally, clarification in the native language is provided to beginning English Learners to assist their access to grade level content while they are learning English. The level of instruction in English and amount of clarification in the native language is determined by a student’s English proficiency. English Language Learners are supported throughout the program to learn English and academic content, as well as to be active and engaged members of our school community.
Students’ language learning needs are determined through the use of standardized and authentic assessments. These are administered upon enrollment, annually, and at transfer from the program. Staff from the English Language Learning Program administer these assessments and do so in compliance with Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s regulations about educating English Language Learners.
Students transition from the ELL Program in a carefully planned sequence and are monitored, according to state regulations, for a period of two years upon their transfer from the program.