English Language Learners striving for success at Tartan!


Schneader Abanei

Established in 1963 in Florida, the English Language Learner or otherwise known as ELL is a program that helps students who are learning English as their second, third, or fourth language. Students who are in an ELL class are not always immigrants, they might’ve been born in the U.S. but speak another language at home. A student will join ELL if they don’t meet the reading and vocab standards. Tartan has EL teachers who co-teach students in classes using strategies that help the student better learn the content and material in class.

When non-native English speakers move to the U.S. they are placed in beginner EL where they get to learn the basics of English until they are confident to be in a class with one of the EL teachers guiding them. In addition, they work with students who speak a variety of languages such as Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Arabic, Vietnamese, Karen, Twi, Tigrinya, Amharic, Oromo, Chinese, Urdu, Swahili, Nepali, Tagalog, French, Khmer, etc. It is important that non-native English speakers have an opportunity to get free education in America.

EL teachers not only teach, but they help the students be confident and proficient in grammar and vocabulary in life when speaking English. ELL helps form a strong diverse community. ELL students get the privilege to learn about other cultures and perspectives. This makes them culturally rich in knowledge and helps them understand their peers better.

Unfortunately, ELL students sometimes feel misunderstood by American society. The school community can do a better job by validating ELL student contributions to our Tartan community and being more inclusive and welcoming all students to Tartan. There certainly should not be a stigma against ELL classes or students. These multilingual students may need extra time and support to process information in order to be successful.

Many students do find joy in learning English and meeting people who had similar struggles as them in their ELL classes. These students from all over the world come to Tartan sometimes with little to no English. ELL programs help these students be better at English. “I like when we do reflective worksheets, and icebreakers about our culture, ” says a student. Classes like ELL can help break down language barriers.

Tartan’s ELL staff includes Mrs. Sundermeyer, Mrs. Aadland, and Mrs. Dietz. They help non-native English speakers in their journeys, which helps make their journeys a little easier. They dedicate their job to helping students be successful. However, the learning goes both ways, “I like learning from multilingual students-they are very smart and have unique perspectives,” says Mrs. Sundermeyer. Mrs. Aadland likes learning about ELL students’ culture. Teachers love watching their students progress into the real world.