English Language Learner (ELL) Program

Acaciawood School has been authorized by the United States immigration department (officially known as SEVIS) to issue I-20 forms so that foreign students may obtain student visas for studying at Acaciawood School. Beginning in 2003, Acaciawood School responded to a growing interest from overseas and admitted more foreign students than in the past. At that time, a formal ELL program was instituted. Minimum requirements for admission as foreign students include a class ranking in the top five percent of their school abroad and successful attendance at our one-month English language camps during the summer or winter. See the Foreign Student Requirements on this website for more details on requirements for admission to the school year program.

Focal Skills Approach

The ELL program adopted by AWS follows the Focal Skills approach for teaching English to foreign students. The FS approach was developed in the mid-1980s at the University of Wisconsin and used successfully by others like Ashley J. Hastings, of Shenandoah University and the ELL staff at the University of Dallas. The FS approach is based on the natural way all persons learn how to speak: beginning with audio-visual listening as a means of speaking a few words then sentences; adding reading to acquire more spoken language ability at an intermediate level; then integration of writing as a means of communicating at the advanced level; and finally total immersion and utilizing English in real life. AWS school ELL teachers have been trained by staff from the University of Dallas and have used the FS method since the summer of 2003.

Language Camps

Winter camp is held in January and summer camp is held in July. The one-month program consists of staying in an American home, formal English instruction in the mornings and afternoon cultural activities and outings during the week; and Saturday excursions to museums and amusement parks. More information about costs and enrollment in our language camps can be found in our brochure.

School Year Program

During the regular school year, AWS utilizes the FS approach for teaching English to our foreign students. The foreign students are given ELL instruction as needed by providing one or two periods of special English instruction during the six-period day. Foreign students are given ELL classes while their English-speaking peers are learning Spanish or sometimes math. During the other periods of the day, the foreign students learn English by the immersion approach by learning English, science, math, social studies, PE, and electives with their classmates. The grading of the foreign students is adjusted until their English language skills allow them to compete with their peers. These immersion classes are identified with an ESL prefix (e.g., ESL-Biology) until the foreign students are able to take the class as a regular class. The transition to a regular usually takes a semester or two at the most depending on the student.

2020 © Acaciawood. All rights reserved.