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RIS recognizes that one of the top priorities in a quality international education is the attainment of an academic-level of English fluency. In the English Language Development (ELD) Program, English language learners are designated by their level of proficiency, from beginner to advanced. Each level requires matched instructional strategies to facilitate rapid skill development. RIS strives to immerse ELD students in a rich English-speaking environment where they are enrolled in core mainstream subjects that give them frequent opportunities to interact with classmates and teachers.
The ELD program at RIS is tailored to each section—ES, MS, and HS—to meet the specific needs of students at different ages and developmental stages. ELD students receive individualized help in study support classes to accelerate their academic success. Small-group pull-out and language support classes provide specialized learning time where content instruction and the development of English skills are closely integrated. Push-in support gives English language learners help within mainstream classes. To track progress in English skill development, RIS integrates MAP, NWEA, and WIDA MODEL testing. Students who progress to higher English proficiency levels receive adapted curriculum and assessment accommodations based on their individual needs throughout the year.
In ES, the ELD program uses a push-in and pull-out model. The majority of ELD support occurs in mainstream classrooms with support provided by ELD teachers in collaboration with homeroom teachers. Pull-out lessons provide specialized time to reinforce understanding of key concepts, to pre-teach or re-teach essential vocabulary, to scaffold reading lessons, and to build essential language skills.
The ELD program in middle school follows the co-teaching model, with the ELD teacher working alongside the subject teacher. Through daily co-planning, the instruction is differentiated for optimal English language development. Students also have Language Support classes to address English learners’ needs. These classes provide additional time for extending learning, improving academic vocabulary, and focusing on the development of all four English skills—reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
In high school, the ELD program uses sheltered classes, study support classes, and classroom push-in services to help English learners. In grades 9 and 10, sheltered ELD English classes mirror the mainstream English classes. Sheltered social studies classes also ensure that English learners have access to the same background knowledge as the mainstream classes. HS study support classes are offered for English, social studies, and science. These classes help English language learners by reinforcing their understanding of core subject vocabulary and assignments.
ELD grade-level specialists may also adopt a co-teaching model that provides push-in support through collaborative planning and instruction with mainstream classroom teachers. All grade 9 and 10 students receive this type of coordinated academic and language support in their science and history classes. As indicated by their English proficiency level, students in grades 11 and 12 may enroll in IB English B support classes, which provide additional instructional support for accelerated English skill development. Grade 11 and 12 ELD students may also enroll in IB English B Standard Level or Higher Level courses, giving them access to the same rigorous and widely recognized IB curriculum offered by other top IB schools in the world.
All students vary in their level of ability, achievement, motivation, and interest. Some students may find it difficult to achieve success at school, which may lead to them developing negative attitudes about themselves as well as feelings of inadequacies among classmates or siblings. When a student has an identified learning difficulty in key academic areas such as reading, writing, or mathematics, the RIS Learning Support team provides help. The LS program supports students from Pre-K to grade 12 to access the general school curriculum, develop skills, reach their potential, and realize their ambitions so that they may feel more confident and successful.
Students are brought into the Learning Support program through a team approach that involves parents, teachers, the counselor, and the school psychologist, particularly when concerns about a student’s progress are raised. Upon referral, a full psychological and educational evaluation of the students’ academic, cognitive, and social-emotional strengths and needs is completed. The results are discussed with parents and teachers prior to a student being enrolled in Learning Support. Exiting from the program also requires a similar assessment.
The Learning Support program is focused on a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), which has been developed collaboratively with the student, parents, teachers, counselors, psychologists, learning support teachers, and speech therapist. Each student has a Learning Support teacher to keep track of their progress and to ensure that their needs are met in the mainstream classroom in collaboration with the core content teachers.
The primary goal of RIS’ school counseling services is to promote and enhance student learning through the three broad, interrelated areas of student development—academic, personal, and social. At RIS, school counselors spend time getting to know each child and how he or she learns best in conjunction with a Student Study team, which comprises teachers, administrators, and the school psychologist. When a student with issues related to academic achievement and/or behavior is referred by a Student Study team, the school psychologist carries out psychological and educational evaluations in collaboration with the student and his/her teachers and parents. These evaluations provide information about a student’s academic, cognitive, and social-emotional development, which then inform the development of an Individual Education Plan to support the student in any identified areas of need.
RIS school counselors also provide consulting services and welcome meetings with parents, teachers, and administrators to discuss and advise on any matter concerning a student’s personal and academic welfare. Counseling services include whole-class, small-group, and individual support. During individual sessions, a counselor and student work together one-on-one on a program or topic of interest. A face-to-face meeting with a counselor builds trust and allows a student to freely explore his or her ideas, feelings, and behaviors. The school psychologist also provides counseling and consultation services for teachers, administrators, parents, and students on matters concerning children and young people, family, and education. The school psychologist also works in collaboration with external mental health professionals from the wider community.