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Summer ESOL Program
West Hartford School District

English Language Learners grades K - 8.

This is a four-week, half day program serving English Language Learners grades K-8.  The focus of the program is language development with daily blocks built in for math and literacy instruction.

Successful of Innovative Elements

  • High school volunteers support teachers and also serve as role models for students
  • Through Continuing Education Adult Ed. Program, the continuing education instructor works with parents while students are in class three days a week.

Measures of Accomplishment

  • Attendance
  • Sustained levels of academic achievement from spring to fall (no summer “slide”)
  • Increased language proficiency over the summer, when many students spend more time in home environments where English is not spoken

The District ESOL Curriculum Specialist works with building based ESOL Teachers who recommend students on their caseload for the program.  Teachers inform parents about the program and assist in collecting registrations.  

The Office of Curriculum and Instruction sends out a district wide application to teach at the program or to serve as a paraprofessional.   The District ESOL Curriculum Specialist in collaboration with the Office of Curriculum and Instruction also works to identify good-fit candidates for staffing, giving encouragement to apply.  Preference is given in the hiring process to teachers who have demonstrated experience working directly with English Language Learners.

Enrollment - K-64 in 6 classes, 1-38 in 4 classes, 2-25 in 2 classes, 3- 37 in 2 classes, 4-19 in 1 classes, 5-22 in 2 classes, 6-8 15 in 2 classes   total 220

Class sizes are small (ranging from 7-14 this year).  Kindergarten and Grade 1 classes are 10 students and under.  Students are grouped first by grade level and then sorted into classes taking their language level and reading level into account to create groups with similar linguistic and academic needs.  

The daily schedule typically includes:

  • Morning meeting with oral language focus
  • Literacy block including comprehension skills, vocabulary development, background building, decoding/phonics and writing instruction
  • Math block including a focus on math language and “number talks”
  • Brain breaks/SEL interspersed throughout the day


  • Strategies from Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) are used during instruction including:
    • Posted learning targets
    • Intentional planning for student interaction
    • Comprehensible input (use of visuals, appropriate rate of speech, gestures, background building videos)
    • Modeling and increased opportunities to practice new skills
  • Fundations “Ready to Rise” materials used for grades K-1 for literacy instruction.
  • Focus on hands-on learning relevant to students lives
  • Weekly thematic units to promote engagement and improved language development


  • A daily breakfast/snack is provided to all students by the WHPS Nutrition Services Department. Families may send in their own snack if they prefer to do so. We will not be serving lunch. A school nurse will be available for consultation during program hours.
  • Clerical paraprofessional operates the school library where students can check out books for use during the school day.  She also makes calls to absent student families so that attendance and transportation issues can be resolved.  
  • 4 instructional paraprofessionals hired to support classroom instruction.
  • High school students (currently 12) recruited to volunteer as student helpers in the classroom.  These students are recruited by the District ESOL Curriculum Specialist in partnership with High School administrators.  Frequently, the students are also English Language Learners (intermediate to advanced levels).  Students share a special connection with these helpers who may share similar experiences of learning the language and a new culture.

Program Contact
Ryan Cronin   |