What do cooking classes, former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, and Imagine Learning English have in common? For Principal Stephen Appea and his ESL teacher, Johane Bryant, they’re all part of an ambitious plan to help English learners race ahead.
At Dr. Rose B. English School PS/IS 327 in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Appea and Mrs. Bryant are using a multi-layered approach to educating the whole child that involves Imagine Learning English, extracurricular activities, and a technology integration program that former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein recently came to see for himself. And it’s an approach that’s helped them see amazing growth for their English learners.
When the school first started using Imagine Learning English in 2009, just 15 English learners were placed on the program. This year, all 40 of the school’s K–8 English learners are using Imagine Learning English.
“They love it,” says Mrs. Bryant, a dedicated ESL teacher who has created a classroom where new arrivals thrive. Her favorite thing about the program? It encourages students to practice reading and speaking out loud, which builds their confidence and prepares them to participate in class.
Mrs. Bryant recently used Imagine Learning English to help two eighth-grade students prepare to read aloud in front of the whole class for the first time. The students, who arrived in the United States less than two months ago, spent their time exclusively with Imagine Learning English until about a week ago when Mrs. Bryant asked them to read a passage aloud to the rest of the class.
“One student came in January and one came in December, and I put them on the spot. And slowly but surely they were reading. With the program, they’re building confidence,” Mrs. Bryant said.
To make sure her students are using the program consistently, Mrs. Bryant dedicates the first 30 minutes of every class to Imagine Learning English. By scheduling time with the program every day, she feels confident that her students are getting the personalized instruction they need.
“The idea of differentiated instruction, personalized instruction, and personalized learning is a core part of our mission and our vision, and that’s why we’re happy to partner with Imagine Learning,” says Dr. Appea, who works closely with Mrs. Bryant to ensure the success of English learners at their school.
In addition to using Imagine Learning English, Dr. Appea and Mrs. Bryant use extracurricular activities, like cooking classes, to help English learners develop fluency. Technology integration is another key component of the school’s approach to helping English learners succeed. In fact, former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein recently checked out the school’s technology integration programs when he visited in November 2010. Dr. Appea thought the chancellor would be impressed with Imagine Learning English, so he invited Chancellor Klein and Deputy Chancellor John White to visit Mrs. Bryant’s class.
When Dr. Appea, Mr. Klein, and Mr. White walked into Mrs. Bryant’s classroom, one of her students, a first-grader who had recently come to the United States from China, started singing along with the program. Chancellor Klein was impressed with the level of engagement and the immersion instruction he saw from Imagine Learning English. “He glanced over to Deputy Chancellor John White and whispered ‘Immersion learning’ with a gleam in his eye. So the chancellor himself recognized the transformative process that was happening for those students as a result of not only the program, but also the excellent instructional environment facilitated by the teacher,” said Dr. Appea.
Technology integration, extracurricular activities, and Imagine Learning English are all part of the school’s recipe for success for their English learners. “We want them to succeed, and we know that we have to work hard. Not only work hard, but work smart. And that’s where Imagine Learning English fits in with our philosophy and our vision of the school as a place where technology is used to help students succeed, guided by a personalization of the instruction,” said Dr. Appea.
To visit the Dr. Rose B. English school website, click here.
For more information about how Imagine Learning personalizes learning for English learners, click here.