Accelerated Language Academy

Professional Development Resources:

Classroom Instruction Resources

ALA Exit Criteria Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Who will implement the Accelerated Language Academy in 2015-16?

All schools will fully implement the Accelerated Language Academy in TK through 2nd grade. Ross will also implement ALA in grade 3.

Will 3rd-6th grade teachers implement ALA in 2016-17?

For now, the goal is for our district to implement a highly effective ALA program in grades TK-2nd to prevent the majority of students from needing it in upper grades.

3rd-6th grade teachers are implementing a new math program in 2015-16. For these grade levels, Math will be the professional development focus for 2015-16. In 2016-17, 3rd-6th grade teachers will receive professional development in the ELD Standards and the language strand of their specific grade level’s ELA standards, but will not necessarily implement ALA.

Why now?

It is the law. Structured English Immersion is a legal obligation. We have an ethical and legal obligation to provide instruction that accelerates language development so that our students will have reasonable fluency in English.

Does the ALA program replace Language for All instruction?

No, the ALA program is strictly a change of priorities during the ELA block. Designated ELD teaming using the Language for All programs continues as-is at all grade levels.

Is the Accelerated Language Academy a remedial program to teach the intensive students?

No, students qualify for ALA strictly based on their English proficiency, not their academic levels. ALA teachers will have students of all levels: challenge, benchmark, strategic, and intensive just like ELM teachers. The goal of ALA is to accelerate a student’s acquisition of English so that they have reasonable fluency as soon as possible. The highest performing subgroup of students in ACSD are our FEP students. Students in the ALA program are our future FEP students, some of which will also be our GATE students.

What makes the Accelerated Language Academy different from the English Language Mainstream program?

The only differences take place during the ELA block. Since language instruction is the priority for students in the ALA program, every day teachers prioritize language instruction by teaching three lessons before anything else during the ELA block:

  1. ELD Links (a new program that teaches the Common Core ELD Standards)

  2. Elements of Reading – Vocabulary

  3. language standards

With the remaining time during the ELA block, teachers provide a balanced literacy program over time including Reading Foundational Skills and the Common Core Units.

Is the purpose of the ALA program to provide students with scaffolded instruction?

No, both the ALA and ELM programs are designed for English learners.
Both programs include scaffolded instruction
in all subject areas. The difference between the two programs is the priority and the quantity of explicit language instruction, not scaffolding.
Scaffolded instruction and frequent opportunities for listening and speaking should be provided in both programs.

How does assessment differ in the ALA and ELM programs?

ALA uses the ADEPT test as a formative assessment of oral language. It also uses a writing rubric that is based on relevant ELD Standards rather than based on writing standards. ALA has its own distinct assessment calendar which prioritizes language assessments and reduces literacy assessments.

Will students be moved midyear from ALA into ELM when the results of the new CELDT scores are released in January?

No, research shows that learning a language to full proficiency typically takes 5-7 years. Even students who are responding well to the instruction will benefit from a full year program prioritizing their language development.

How will students graduate from ALA into ELM?

The criteria to graduate from ALA into ELM is based on multiple measures of language proficiency. Graduating into the ELM program is not dependent on CELDT scores since annual CELDT results are outdated by the time schools form next year’s classes.

How are classes formed in Kindergarten – 2nd grade?

English learners whose most recent CELDT score includes a 3 or lower on either listening or speaking meet the criteria for placement into the ALA program. English learners whose most recent CELDT score includes both a 4 or better on both listening and speaking meet the criteria for placement into the ELM program. EOs and FEPs automatically meet the criteria for placement into the ELM program. Program and Evaluations will provide site administrators with a spreadsheet to help sites easily form these classes.

Should ALA classes be formed so that one teacher has all the beginning students, one has all the early intermediate students, and one has all the intermediate students?

No, the schools that piloted the ALA program felt that it was better to place a mix of students of CELDT level 1, CELDT level 2, and CELDT level 3 in each class with the ALA program. This better facilitates the PLC process because all ALA teachers in the same grade level will have a similar context. As much as is feasible, classes should be formed to teach only ALA or ELM. Of course, since students rarely come in neat groups of 30, one class per grade level is likely to have students of both programs.

How are classes formed in 3rd – 6th grade?

At most sites including all new ALA sites, there is no change in how you form 3rd-6th grade classes. ACSD is focussing on implementing ALA in TK-2 so that as many students as possible will enter 3rd-6th grade with reasonable English fluency.

How will administrators decide who will teach which classes?

Administrators choose who will teach each class. All ACSD teachers have the correct certification to teach ALA classes; CLAD, BCLAD or an EL Authorization.

If an administrator assigns a teacher to teach ALA, can they choose a voluntary transfer if they do not want to teach an ALA class?

A teacher can always request a voluntary transfer. However, the deadline to submit a voluntary transfer request is April 15, 2015. If a teacher submits a voluntary request, they remain in their current assignment until they have been offered and have accepted a transfer.

How do you determine what is the instructional priority if a class has students in both the ALA and ELM programs?

Students rarely come in neat groups of 30. This reality often necessitates that one teacher per grade level will likely teach students both in the ALA and the ELM programs. Such teacher will meet with the principal to analyze the classes data to determine to what degree will language instruction be the priority and to what degree will literacy instruction be the priority.

How will the implementation of ALA be different in multi-track schools?

If there is more than one teacher for a grade level on a specific track, then ALA implementation will be the same as single track schools. For example, if there are two first grade track C teachers, then one teacher will have students in the ALA program and the other teacher will have students in the ELM program. If the ELM teacher does not have enough students to fill up the class, then that teacher will teach a group consisting of students of both the ALA and ELM program.

If there is only one teacher for a grade level on a specific track, then that teacher will likely have students in both the ALA and ELM programs in the same class. See the question above on how to determine the instructional priority for a class with students of both EL programs.

What about TK?

TK will implement ALA. TK has two areas of focus: social-emotional development and language development. At most sites, there is only one TK teacher which means that this teacher will likely teach students in both the ALA and ELM programs (read the question above for more detail.) Keep in mind that while TK will teach both the ELD Links Program and Language for Learning, TK teachers do not teach the vocabulary program or the language standards.

What professional development will the district provide teachers?

All teachers K-2 will receive a 3 day ALA Initial Training that will be offered during the summer and the first month of school. It will cover topics such as the purpose of ALA, the ADEPT test, the ELD Links Program, how to incorporate more listening and speaking opportunities into content instruction, and how to plan for a balanced literacy program over time. TK teachers will have a special day of ALA training unique to their needs.

In addition to the three day initial training, there are two days of training that pertain equally to the ALA and ELM programs for K-2 grade teachers: ELD Objectives and the Common Core Language Standards. Some teachers have already taken the Common Core Language Standards training through the SMART Pages.

All teachers will receive the training, including teachers of the ELM program. It is important that each grade level colleague fully understand and be ready to teach both EL programs.

What professional development will teachers from the sites who have already implemented ALA receive?

These teachers will receive a one day training focused on incorporating listening and speaking opportunities into content instruction and planning a balanced literacy program over time. They will also receive a one-day training on writing ELD objectives based on the ELD Standards.

Do Dual Language Immersion students participate in the ALA program?

No, the Dual Language Immersion program is an alternative to the ALA program. However, keep in mind that both programs exist in sites with Dual Language Immersion. The ALA program is taught by teachers who are not Dual Language Immersion teachers. English learners in these schools who are not part of the DLI program will be placed into the ALA or ELM programs just like at non-DLI sites.

Accelerated Language Academy Was Last Modified: August 12, 2019