Multilingual Learners Program
Wellington Catholic welcomes all new families into the Catholic community. The WCDSB school board aims to provide all Multilingual Learners (MLs) opportunities to successfully develop their skills in English, while learning the curriculum in all grades.
Educators and students work together to link concepts and cultures to new learning. Each newcomer brings a wealth of expertise and experiences to the classroom environment. All the students in the class gain the opportunity to listen, interact and learn from one another. In this way everyone benefits by expanding points of view and developing the character traits of respect, patience, acceptance and inclusiveness. Multilingual learners are assessed by trained teachers to establish the student's level of English proficiency. Families will register at their home school and initial assessments will take place on site. For their first few years in Ontario schools, many multilingual learners take one of two distinct language-support programs, where they receive direct support from teachers who specialize in meeting their language learning needs:
English As a Second Language (ESL) programs provide support for students born in Canada or newcomers whose first language is other than English or is a variety of English significantly different from that used for instruction in Ontario schools.
English Literacy Development (ELD) programs are for newcomer students whose first language is other than English or is a variety of English significantly different from that used for instruction in Ontario schools. Students in these programs are generally from countries in which their access to education has been limited, or where they may have had limited opportunities to develop language and literacy skills in any language. They arrive in Ontario schools with significant gaps in their education.
Wellington Catholic DSB uses Steps to English Proficiency (STEP) to support English Language Learners (ELL). STEP is a resource to help multilingual learners learn English and succeed in school. Teachers use STEP to assess and monitor how students are progressing in their language learning and literacy development across the Ontario curriculum.
Multilingual learners (ML) who require support during the elementary school years are placed in their age-appropriate grade level and attend the school closest to their home according to district boundaries. ELL Resource Teachers offer weekly, direct support to small groups of students who are at the early stages of learning English based on their initial assessment. Once MLs are at STEP 3 on the STEP Continua, they will no longer receive direct support. Classroom teachers confer with ELL Resource Teachers with regards to support and resources for all multilingual learners. Instruction for multilingual learners is generally content-based and linked to grade-level curriculum expectations. These expectations are adapted according to the students' step of English language proficiency.
At the secondary level, Our Lady of Lourdes Secondary school offers language learning programs to students who are English language learners. ESL credit courses (ESLAO to ESLEO) and ELD credit courses (ELDAO to ELDEO) are available to students on the ESL and ELD credit pathways. Up to three ESL or ELD courses can be applied to the four compulsory English credits required for diploma purposes. These courses are designed to support students as they develop cognitive academic language proficiency in various content areas. These courses are credit bearing for diploma purposes. Our Lady of Lourdes also offers foundational courses in Literacy, Science and Mathematics for Multilingual Learners. Newcomer students at STEPs 1 to 3 are encouraged to attend Lourdes as dedicated ESL/ELC courses are provided. If students are out of boundary the board provides bus passes.
These courses are designed for English language learners who have had opportunities to develop language and literacy skills in their own language appropriate to their age or grade level. Most English language learners are in this group. These learners may be entering secondary school from elementary school alongside their English-speaking peers, or they may be entering secondary school in Ontario having recently arrived from other countries. They can read and write in their own language within the expected range for students of their age in their own country. They can build on their existing first-language skills when learning English in an ESL program.
ESL credit courses (ESLAO to ESLEO) are available to English language learners on the ESL credit pathway. Up to three ESL language courses can be applied to the four compulsory English credits required for diploma purposes. There are five ESL courses based on levels of language proficiency in English. Depending on a learners’ previous experience with English, students may be placed in ESL Level 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5. For example, a student who has been in full-time education in his or her country of origin but who has never studied English would be placed in ESL Level 1. A student who has been in full-time education in his or her own country and has studied some English might be placed in ESL Level 2 or 3 on the basis of the initial English language assessment
ESLAO – English as a Second Language, Level 1
1 credit, Open, Prerequisite: None
This course builds on students’ previous education and language knowledge to introduce the English language and help students adjust to their new cultural environment. Students will use beginning English language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing for everyday and essential academic purposes; use basic English language structures and simple sentence patterns in short conversations; read short adapted texts; and write phrases and short sentences. The course also provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to begin to adapt to their new lives in Canada.
ESLBO – English as a Second Language, Level 2
1 credit, Open, Prerequisite: English as a Second Language, Level 1
This course expands students’ listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in English for everyday and academic purposes. Students will participate in conversations, in structured situations, on a variety of familiar and new topics; link English sentences to compose paragraphs; read a variety of texts designed or adapted for English language learners; and expand their knowledge of English grammatical structures and sentence patterns. The course also supports students’ continuing adaptation to the Ontario school system by expanding their knowledge of diversity in their new province and country.
ESLCO – English as a Second Language, Level 3
1 credit, Open, Prerequisite: English as a Second Language, Level 2
This course extends students’ skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing in English for a variety of everyday and academic purposes. Students will make short classroom presentations; read a variety of adapted and original texts in English; and write using a variety of forms of text. Students will also expand their academic vocabulary and their study skills to facilitate the transition to the mainstream school program. This course also introduces students to the rights and responsibilities inherent in Canadian citizenship and to a variety of current Canadian issues.
ESLDO – English as a Second Language, Level 4
1 credit, Open, Prerequisite: English as a Second Language, Level 3
This course prepares students to use English with increasing fluency and accuracy in classroom and social situations and to participate in Canadian society as informed citizens. Students will develop the reading, writing and oral presentation skills required for success in all school subjects. They will study and interpret a variety of grade-level texts; extend listening and speaking skills through participation in discussions and seminars; write narratives, articles, and summaries in English; and respond critically to various print and media texts.
ESLEO – English as a Second Language, Level 5
1 credit, Open, Prerequisite: English as a Second Language, Level 4
This course provides students with the skills and strategies they need to make the transition to college and university preparation courses in English and other secondary school disciplines. Students will be encouraged to develop independence in a range of academic tasks. They will participate in debates and lead classroom workshops; read and interpret literary works and academic texts; write essays, narratives and reports; and apply a range of learning strategies and research skills effectively. Students will further develop their ability to respond critically to print and media texts.
Immigration Services and/or the County of Wellington settlement workers provide assistance to newcomers in the areas of translation, employment, housing and advocacy as required. Wellington Catholic DSB has a partnership with Settlement Workers in Schools. (SWIS) Settlement Workers assist newcomer families as they settle in Ontario. Each school site has a SWIS that can facilitate schools in welcoming and supporting newcomer families.
For more information on government funded programs and initiatives, please visit:
A practical guide for Ontario educators
Grades 1 to 8
|English Language Learners ESL and ELD Program and Services
Language Learners with
Limited Prior Schooling
A practical guide for Ontario educators
Grades 3 to 12
English Language Learners
A practical guide for Ontario educators
For more information on the Secondary Curriculum for ESL and ELD please visit: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/secondary/esl912currb.pdf