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World Language

Language Philosophy

New Lebanon School believes that language is the basis for all learning. We believe that language is embedded in all areas of primary education. Language permeates all subject areas and also plays a major role in social learning and development. Language is also essential for acquiring intercultural awareness and for communicating effectively in a multilingual world. All teachers at New Lebanon School are teachers of language and believe language is an integral part of the IB philosophy. We collaborate and work towards developing the skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing and researching for each child.

Given the individual journey that each child is on in acquiring language, we differentiate the support and level of scaffolding that we provide to each student. New Lebanon also understands the importance of developing another language in addition to English. We are committed to provide a learning community that supports first and second language development for all our students. Our primary language of instruction is English. Spanish is taught as an additional language from grades Pre-K through 5th. In this way, students are exposed to the many riches of other linguistic cultures, which connects them to the international community. At our school students are also encouraged to maintain and develop their home language since we believe that our learning community is strengthened by our students’ diversity.

The teachers at New Lebanon School believe that communication is best instructed via an inquiry-based technique. Students are also encouraged to develop and build their communication skills across the curriculum. The importance of communication extends beyond the school parameter. Teachers are dedicated to sharing their ideas and lessons with each parent and caregiver, keeping the lines of communication open between caregiver and child.

Languages of Instruction

English as a Second Language (ESL)

New Lebanon offers a robust English Language Learning (ELL) program to a diverse group of K - 5 students, representing a variety of cultural backgrounds and circumstances: immigrants, families on temporary foreign assignment, refugees, or native-born Americans of different language heritages. The New Lebanon ELL staff provide comprehensive, sheltered English language instruction targeting speaking, listening, reading and writing as well as critical thinking skills. They also provide content area instructional support in the ESOL and mainstream classrooms, customized to students’ linguistic proficiency and specific academic needs. Our goal is to foster English Language Learners’ (ELLs) social and academic language acquisition and cultural awareness, so that they can become successful, open-minded thinkers, inquirers and communicators, essential traits of an International Baccalaureate (IB) learner.

Spanish as a Foreign Language (FLES)

At New Lebanon School Spanish is taught through the FLES (Foreign Language in Elementary School) model. All instruction is delivered entirely in the target language with emphasis in speaking and listening in grades pre-K to 2nd, and adding reading and writing skills as students become more proficient in grades 3rd – 5th.

FLES teachers base their instruction on social studies and science themes that correlate with the regular curriculum and enrich many of New Lebanon’s IB units of inquiry. The content serves as a springboard for communicating in Spanish. The language teacher either introduces new material, reviews lessons already taught, or extends students’ knowledge in the target language. Once students demonstrate an understanding of the core concepts related to the content unit, they move forward to work on communicative activities that are connected to the content, and to students’ personal lives and experiences.

Spanish instruction is delivered 4 to 5 times a week to provide students daily or close to daily interaction in the target language. Spanish instruction is differentiated for the multiple levels of proficiency in each grade. All students are assessed on their progress and held accountable for their learning in the second language. Spanish is reported on the report card and discussed during conferences with parents.

Spanish Language Arts for Native and Heritage Speakers

Recognizing the specific needs of our Hispanic population, New Lebanon School has introduced a Spanish Language Arts program for students who are native or heritage Spanish speakers in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. The goal of this program is to develop literacy skills in Spanish and to facilitate the transference of language skills between English and the target language. In the Spanish Language Arts classes, students read age-appropriate fiction and non-fiction, and learn to write non-fiction prose as well as poetry and other creative forms of personal expression. They also work on oral presentational skills in formal settings and the development of a sophisticated, academic vocabulary nurturing a positive cultural identity and pride in their bilingual abilities.

Other Languages

Teachers understand the linguistic variations for our population of students. At appropriate times, the teachers will incorporate words and phrases from various cultures of our student populations.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

New Lebanon School offers a unique Spanish language and literacy development bilingual program in K-2, as part of its ESOL services. Students who qualify to receive ESOL services and display a higher Spanish language oral proficiency are eligible to participate in the Spanish literacy development bilingual program. This program begins in kindergarten and continues through second grade for 40 minutes daily. In kindergarten, bilingual students begin to learn Spanish phonemic awareness, the phonetic system and emergent reading skills. In first grade, bilingual students continue to develop their Spanish reading skills. Instruction is primarily delivered through guided reading using Spanish leveled books and shared reading experiences. In second grade, students continue to develop their decoding and comprehension skills during a 25 minute instructional period, 4 times per week. In many cases, bilingual students in 2nd grade finish off the year, completely bilingual and biliterate. Year after year, students who participate in this Spanish literacy bilingual program often times surpass their English language learning peers who are only focused on learning English. The majority of the students in the bilingual program successfully exit ESOL services at the completion of their 1st or 2nd grade year.

Saturday Programs

Seguimos Adelante


  1. To teach parents literacy strategies they can use at home to foster their child’s language and literacy development.
  2. To provide students with extra practice on reading comprehension strategies in English

Target Group:

Spanish-speaking families with children in 1st or Kinder


Teaching parents in their native language (Spanish) in order for parents to access the curriculum and feel comfortable participating

Teachers involved:

  • ESL and Literacy Specialist work with the parents
  • Classroom Teacher and ESL Aide works with children

Duration: 4 Saturdays in March from 10:00 am-12:00pm


Students receive a literacy kit including white board, crayons, journal, 1 book

Home visits:

ESL teacher and reading teacher visit students’ homes to learn more about the families’ beliefs on literacy and make suggestions for creating a homework area or study place for children to do their work at home. Parents also fill out a post-survey about the program.

Passport to Learning


  1. To provide parents and children an opportunity to learn and work together.
  2. To provide families with an opportunity to visit a community _______ and learn how these rich experiences can build background knowledge and enrich their lives

Target Group:

English language learners in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade and their siblings

Method: teaching parents and children through hands-on, interactive experiences

Teachers involved:

  • ESL teacher
  • ESL aide
  • 2 classroom teachers

(1 primary, 1 intermediate)

Duration: 3 Saturdays (classes at NL) 10:00 a.m -12:00 p.m

1 Saturday (field trip)


  • Students and parents go on a fieldtrip and use what they learned in their classes leading up to the trip to have conversations with their parents.
  • Parent-Child interactions: last hour of the class.

After School ESOL Supplemental Programs

The staff at New Lebanon School offers several different supplemental programs at varying times in the school year.

In the past, these are some of the programs that were designed to help our ELLs develop their academic and oral language skills:

  • Bilingual Book Club (Spring 2008): ESOL/FLES collaboration in which students read and then wrote their own bilingual stories.
  • Math Vocabulary (Spring 2009): provided newcomers with extra math support and opportunities to learn specific math vocabulary
  • English to a Beat (Spring 2011): provided primary grade English language learners an opportunity to listen to different folktales from around the world and develop their oral language skills.

Parent Information Meetings

DRP/CMT Meetings:

The ESOL and reading specialist for grades 2-3, designed an information meeting for parents to become acquainted with the CT Mastery Test. Parents were given the option to attend the English or Spanish speaking meeting. Parents were shown sample test questions to better understand the 2 types of formats, multiple choice and open-ended response.

ESOL Open House:

Parents of ELLs who are new to our school are invited to attend an ESL Open House to learn more about our ESOL program. It usually occurs before the regular Open House when parents come in to meet their child’s teacher and learn more about the grade level curriculum