South High School

Where the World Gathers to Excel

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English Language Acquisition

Newcomer Center

Purpose:

  • Part of English Language Acquisition (ELA) Program.
  • Designed for eligible students new to Denver Public Schools (DPS).
  • “Newcomers” are English Learners new to the country.
  • Have limited or interrupted education and minimal literacy skills in both native language and English.
  • Students served for one or two semesters to prepare them for participation in an English as a Second Language (ELA) program.

Instruction:

  • Students receive English instruction that focuses on listening, speaking, reading and writing improvement
  • Low student-adult ratios and state-of-the-art computer systems.

Identifying Students:

  • History of interrupted or limited formal education.
  • Student has minimal literacy in his/her native language and English).
  • Has, at the time of initial placement, been enrolled in a school in the United States for two or fewer semesters.

Transportation:

  • Given DPS does not provide high school students with school bus transportation, the majority of Newcomer students rely on public transportation. South uses its own funding to purchase RTD passes.

English Language Acquisition (ELA)

Purpose:

  • Teach non-English speaking students how to understand, speak, read and write in English.
  • Help other students whose language skills are hindering academic progress because a language other than English is spoken at home.
  • Also learning math, science and social studies.

Instruction:

  • Two methods of instruction: Transitional Native Language Instruction and English as a Second Language.
  • When students have proved successful in reading, writing, listening and speaking English, they exit ELA, receive regular English and integrate into other mainstream classes, including honors and advanced placement.
  • English language learners are expected to meet the same math, science and social studies standards as mainstream students.

Snapshot

  • Of South’s student body, 42% are either in the ELA program or have exited the ELA program.
  • South has had 47 Newcomers this year.
  • Students represent more than 60 countries, speaking 72 languages. Many students speak 4 to 5 languages.
  • South students from all races, backgrounds and cultures come together for classes, sports and clubs.
  • South’s paraprofessionals speak Arabic, Somali, Swahili, French,Burmese, Karen, Nepali, Spanish and Amharic and Tingrinyato help students and families.
  • South has one of the most successful graduation rates for ELs, at over 80%.
  • Students who transitioned out of the ELA program have received thousands of dollars in college scholarships.