English Language Learner (ELL) students range from those who do not speak or understand any English, to those with limited English abilities. Currently, more than 65,000 students in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) are considered English Language Learners. CPS identifies ELL students by testing each student’s listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.
At both the elementary and high school level, all ELL students receive daily English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) instruction in the Transitional Bilingual Education Program or the Transitional Program of Instruction. ELL students are eligible to apply to schools and programs other than their neighborhood school.
Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE)
Offered in schools with 20 or more ELL students who speak the same language, the Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) model uses ESL as an essential component of daily instruction beginning on the first day of school. In the TBE model, the student’s first language is used to provide instruction in CPS’ core curriculum to ensure students continue to learn at grade level while developing their English skills. The amount of instruction in the native language and in English varies according to each student’s progress. The goal of the program is to help the student develop academic skills in English within three years.
Transitional Program of Instruction (TPI)
In schools with 19 or fewer ELL students who speak the same language, the TPI model is used. Students receive English instruction from an ESL -approved teacher. Daily ESL classes are usually part of a pull-out program, meaning that students from different language groups may participate in the same ESL class, according to their age and language level.
Whenever possible, the student’s first language is used for clarification in the classroom when aides or volunteers who speak the student’s language are available.