English As a New Language

Students who enroll in NYC public schools often come from homes that speak language(s) other than English can qualify to receive additional assistance with attaining English Language Proficiency.  The ENL (English As a New Language) Program provides support for English Language Learners utilizing the Push In/ Pull Out models.  ELLs (English Language Learners) receive support during the school day with developing their Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing skills in English.   Students enrolled in the ENL program have the opportunity to receive small group instruction, participate in hands on and multi-sensory activities that target language development in English.  Each year ELL students demonstrate their progress with developing their English skills by taking the NYSESLAT exam.  Their English language proficiency levels vary from Entering, Emerging, Transitioning, Expanding and Commanding.  Students who attain a Commanding score on NYSESLAT exit the program.  

We are committed to providing our English Language Learners with a high-quality education that values their culture and prepares them for middle school, high school, and success in college and future careers. We work with families, communities, and other partners to ensure that students have equal access to programs that help them learn English—and achieve in all of their classes, including math, science, and social studies. Our goal is to provide English Language Learners with the skills they need to become leaders in a global society.

What is an English Language Learner?

An English Language Learner, or ELL, is a student whose native language is not English and needs support learning English. 

What kinds of programs and services are available to my child?

The New York City Department of Education offers three programs to English Language Learners: Dual Language, Transitional Bilingual Education, and English as a New Language. 

How does a school determine if my child is an ELL?

All parents and guardians of newly enrolled students are required to complete a Home Language Identification Survey that lets us know what language your child speaks at home. If the survey indicates your child uses a language other than English, he or she may be given the New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners. This test measures your child’s knowledge of English and determines if he or she needs support programs and services. If the test shows that your child needs support learning English, he or she is identified as an English Language Learner. 

What are the differences between these programs?

At the Children’s Lab School’s English as a New Language program, which used to be called English as a Second Language or ESL, we provide instruction in English with support in the students’ home language so that they can learn to read, write, and speak English. Students in this program can come from many different language backgrounds, and English may be the only common language among them. 

In Dual Language programs, students are taught in two languages: English and their home language, such as Spanish, Chinese, or French, among others. The goal of this program is for students to be able to read, write, and speak in both English and their home language. In Dual Language classes, the home language and English are used equally. 

Transitional Bilingual Education programs provide reading, writing, and other classes in English and in your child’s home language. As students’ English improves, time spent learning in English increases and time spent learning in the home language decreases. Once your child is no longer identified as an English Language Learner, he or she will exit the program. 

There are many benefits to English Language Learner programs:

  • Students are able to use their home language to learn English.
  • Students learn to appreciate different cultures. 
  • Students who speak two or more languages are valuable to future employers and have an easier time finding jobs.

Common ESL Acronyms and Terms:

BICS: Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills

Bilingual Instruction: Provision of instruction in school settings through the medium of two languages, usually a native and a second language.

Bilingual Language User:  A person who is skilled to some degree in two languages.

CALP: Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency

CM: Commanding Language Proficiency 

EFL: English as a Foreign Language 

ELD: English Language Development 

ELL: English Language Learner

ELP: English Language Proficiency 

EM: Entering Language Proficiency 

EN: Emerging Language Proficiency 

ENL: English as a New Language 

ESL: English as a Second Language

ESOL: English for Speakers of Other Language

EX: Expanding Language Proficiency 

Home Language: Language(s) spoken in the student’s home by significant others (e.g., family members, caregivers) who reside there.

Language Proficiency: The level of competence at which an individual is able to use language for both basic communicative tasks and academic purposes.

NYSESLAT: New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test

Primary Language: First or native language spoken by an individual.

Social Language: The aspects of language proficiency strongly associated with basic fluency in face-to-face-interaction; natural speech in social interactions, including those that occur in a classroom.

TR: Transitioning Language Proficiency