English as a Second Language - ELL Supports

English Language Learners

English Language Learners (ELLs) may be foreign-born or Canadian born to parents who primarily speak another language or hearing children of Deaf parents. They may also include First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students where traditional languages or multiple languages are spoken at home.  

ELLs who are learning English as an additional language must be able to do more than just talk to friends, buy things at a store, or find their way around the city. Students need to understand different ideas and be able to read, write, and talk about the ideas. This is called Academic English.  Along with the support of our school's English Language Learner Leader Teacher, our staff offers many different kinds of programming and supports to assist learners to develop English skills while also advancing academically.

Understanding Your Child’s Growth in English

Teachers in Elk Island Catholic Schools use a tool called the Alberta K-12 English as a
Second Language (ESL) Proficiency Benchmarks to record the level of a student’s progress in
learning English. Teachers use these Benchmarks to make decisions about instruction, resources and supports for your child.

The following four areas of language learning are measured:

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Writing

There are five language proficiency levels:

  • Level 1 - Beginning: New to English. Often little or no exposure to English as a foreign language classes.
  • Level 2 -Developing: Beginner with some prior English instruction. The student has limited English proficiency.
  • Level 3 - Expanding: the student is able to use an intermediate level of English in social situations and some of the academic language of the classroom.
  • Level 4 - Bridging: the student is becoming more comfortable with using the academic language of the classroom.
  • Level 5 - Extending: the student is able to understand and use an advanced level of English.

Please note that these levels are about ‘language learning.’ They are not ‘grade levels.’ Students learn a language at different rates. It usually takes 2-3 years to be able to communicate well in social situations and can take 7 or more years to master the academic language of the classroom.

You can access more information about the Benchmark here: