English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
Alachua County's ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program provides academic, cultural, social, and support services to students in grades K-12 whose home language is not English. Comprehensive instruction is delivered in English to help the students develop language skills that enable them to actively participate in a student-centered learning process.
Students are screened for ESOL services based on responses to the Home Language Survey. The Survey questions are as follows:
- Is a language other than English used in the home? If yes, what language?
- Did the student have a first language other than English? If yes, what language?
- Does the student most frequently speak a language other than English?
Students who answer “yes” to any of these questions will take an English Language Proficiency test. This test is given at the student’s zoned school and measures proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. If a student passes the test, he/she will attend his/her zoned school.
If a student qualifies for ESOL, parents have the option of having their child attend the zoned school or an ESOL center school. At the zoned school, ESOL students take classes with all other students. All teachers who work with students who are not fluent in English will receive training in ESOL strategies and teaching techniques in order to ensure that instruction the student can understand is provided.
Students whose parents choose participation at an ESOL center school will spend part of the day in the ESOL language arts class and the rest of the day in classes with all other students. The ESOL teachers are specially trained to work with limited-English speakers. ESOL centers are located at three (3) area schools: Carolyn B. Parker Elementary School, Westwood Middle School, and Gainesville High School.
In order to meet the needs of ESOL families, the district website is equipped with an online tool that translates our website information into dozens of languages. Our schools and district offices have access to Language Line, a platform offering real-time translation of phone calls and in-person meetings in a wide variety of languages, and we are implementing other tools to communicate with non-English speaking families. Additionally, the district employs two ESOL family liaisons and a Spanish-language translator through our Communications and Community Initiatives Office to assist parents in supporting their students.
For more information on the ESOL program, call (352) 955-7622. To reach the translator in our Communications Office, call (352) 955-7636.