Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 1
New Member

St. Paul, MN, ELL Program
03142008, 11:04 PM


Several years ago St. Paul Public Schools moved away from the pull out model toward a model that is termed "collaborative." What this actually means is determined by the mainstream and ELL teachers involved, so there is a lot of wiggle room. In my building, where the ELL population is only about 20% of the total student population, we cluster ELL students in one room per grade level. My halftime colleague takes kindergarten and fifth grade and I take all the other grades. I give each grade one hour per day of service.
In first grade, I serve during reading time, and I take three different guided reading groups for slightly less than 20 minutes each, while the classroom teacher takes three other groups. We each work at a small table on opposite sides of the room. During our groups the rest of the kids have previouslyassigned seat work. Most of the kids in my groups are ELL kids. I "monitor" the ELL kids who are in the classroom teacher's groups. The reading groupings are flexible, changing every few weeks.
In second grade, I am in charge of a 15minute "word work" lesson which I plan, but which I discuss and agree on with the classroom teacher beforehand. Then I take two guided reading groups while the teacher takes other groups. As with first grade, most of the kids in my groups are ELL kids. I "monitor" the ELL kids who are in the classroom teacher's groups. There is some flexibility in the groups, but not as much as with the first grade.
In third grade, I take one group for about 45 minutes and help out for 15 minutes in the classroom. It just so happens that the lowest readers are all ELL kids, so I pretty much have had the same kids all year.
In fourth grade, I take one group all hour, pulling them out of the classroom. During this time, the classroom teacher takes the rest of the kids in the class as a group. Not everyone in my group is ELL, and the classroom teacher does have some ELL kids. As with the lower grades, I "monitor" the progress of the ELL kids  our district allows both "direct service" and "indirect service" (also called "support" service.
In sixth grade, there are only about six kids who still qualify for ELL, and I just go into the classroom and help them individually with whatever content area subject they need help with. I test the kids at intervals to keep tabs on their progress.
The types of service that I give really depend on the subject matter being taught in a given classroom as well as the personality of the classroom teacher and his or her comfort level in working with ELL kids as well as the comfort level in working with another teacher.
Keep in mind that my building has one of the smallest percentages of ELL students in my district. In some elementary buildings, ELL students comprise as much as 90% of the student body, while an average figure is more like 4045%. As of 20056 school year, the population of ELL students in K12 was just over 17,000 kids, about 40% of the total population of 42,000. Our students speak 103 different languages and dialects, but the top languages are Hmong: 10,600 kids, Spanish: 4,100 kids, Somali: 700 kids, Vietnamese: 335 kids, Burmese/KaRen: 250 kids, Amharic: 235 kids and, Oromo: 170 kids. (Numbers are approximate, of course.) We also have a fastgrowing Somali population. Our ELL students' test scores have risen steadily over the last five years, especially among those who speak Spanish, Hmong, and Somali. (Minnesota is now the home of the largest populations of Hmong and Somali people in the United States.) One other statistic: the ELL population in the St. Paul Public Schools makes up 27% of the entire ELL population of the state of Minnesota.
I've taught in St. Paul for about 16 years, now, and we did run a pullout program when I started in this district. However, I will also tell you that we had only about 6,000 ELL kids then, and even at that level, the population had just begun to explode. We realized that we weren't going to be able to cut it with pull out programs in which we could only see kids for a mere 30 minutes a day. A lot has changed since then. I really like the collaborative model, and would be glad to share more about it with anyone who is interested.
Mettahu
