English Language Learners Benefit from Dimond ELL Classes

Dimond High School is one among many schools in the Anchorage School District that has a program for students who are from other countries in which a language other than English is spoken.


“The English Language Learner program or ELL, at the Anchorage School District is required by law,” according to the Anchorage School District website.


The purpose of the program is to teach English and other academic needs to students who are from other countries.


ELL classes are smaller than normal-size classes. In these classes students will have more opportunities to speak and use English.


Students who are from another country are required to take a test called WIDA. WIDA stands for “Wisconsin, Delaware and Arkansas, the three states that are involved in the original testing grant,” said Denise Roselle, Dimond ELL Social Studies Teacher.


WIDA consists of four sections:  listening, speaking, reading and writing. The test has five levels of evaluation: entering, emerging, developing, expanding and bridging.


The WIDA test will determines where students are in their English abilities.


Students whose score is at  the ‘entering’ level, will be go to the “Newcomer Center”. This is where they will attend classes that require a lower level of English.


The test takes place every year to see if the students are improving. Those who want to leave the ELL program, score to ‘expanding’ and ‘bridging’ in all four test sections.


The ELL program starts in from elementary school and continues up to high school.


Students who leave the ELL program will be monitored by the Dimond ELL staff.

The staff includes Andrea Hale, ELL English; Denise Roselle, ELL Social Studies; Karen Bronczyk, ELL tutor; and Tracia Ashman, ELL Counselor.


At Dimond High School, there are only two classes that are for ELL students, Social Studies and english. In these two classes, students are required to do more reading, speaking and writing to help them improve. This is called “special training acquisition”.


Since there are only two ELL classes for at Dimond, students who are taking normal classes like science, math and others are able to be tutored by Bronzyk.


At Dimond, 67 students are currently in the ELL program and there are about “233 former ELL students. This makes nearly one in five students at Dimond who were once ELL students,” explains Farson Philip, K-6 ELL staff.


In the Anchorage School District there are currently 6,200 students who are receiving ELL services and another 4,400 who are no longer receiving services from the program he said.


“The number of ELL students in the Anchorage School District is growing by about 3 percent every year districtwide. One in four seniors was once an ELL student.” said Philip


ELL programs give students an opportunity to better their English and reach the same level as students whose first language is English.


Dimond student Melody  Otaegui , from Peru, said, “ELL classes are really helpful because you can communicate with other students who don’t know as much English, and we can learn together without being judged because we don’t speak English as well as others.”


As the number of immigrants grows, so does the number of ELL students. In the future, more ELL teachers will be needed.