Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Limited English Proficient Students

Los Angeles Pierce College Academic Support for ESL Students

Title: Academic Support for ELL Students

Los Angeles Pierce College

6201 Winneetka Ave. Woodland Hills, CA 91371

Contacts: Dorothy Rupert 818-719-6401 ex. 4151 rupertdw@piercecollege.edu

Larry Andre 818-710-2892  andrell@piercecollege.edu

Target population: The program serves primarily international English Language Learner (ELL) students and English language development students who need additional instruction is reading, speaking, and writing to reach a college level.

Goals: The goals of the program are to provide support to the ELL students by:

· Allowing them to stay in mainstream courses

· Build long-term skills

· Providing assessment and referral services

· Supporting their emotional well-being, and

· Reducing the stigma associated with being an EEL student.

Description: The program coordinators operate on the basis that the student knows what it is that s/he needs and the program is there to meet the needs if possible. The program offers a host of services. Staff works with the students to develop or negotiate academic and career plans. The plans are based on a series of assessments, clearly identified goals, and. the principals of scaffolding.

The assessment tools used are the System of Multicultural Pluralistic Assessments (SOMPA). This system evaluates the students abilities, skills, academic plans, medical and emotional well being, psychosocial issues (i.e. if they are a nontraditional student, getting a divorce, facing family resistance etc.), and where in their past have they been successful and what techniques were used to reach that level of success. The program coordinators ask students to answer the questions: “Where am I? Where am I going? Where do I want to go?” From the answers to these questions and assessment tests, a plan is developed with the student that encompasses both life plans and academic plans.

The program addresses test taking, time management, health care options, learning skill, etc. The academic work is self-paced, individualized, and begins with the basics so the students do not feel as though there are gaps in their knowledge.

Staffing: The program counts on a comprehensive college team effort to meet all the needs of the student. The program employs three full-time professionals as well as eight tutors.

Facilities, equipment, materials: There is a lab with thirty-two computers with Plato, Deep River, and prescriptive programs designed to track attendance and record skills learned. Additionally, there is a center with study areas, and cubicles for small group study.

Costs, funding source: The program is funded out of a variety of grants and the VTEA program. There is a fund set-aside to serve only the career and technical education students. On average, the program receives $250,000 with five percent being set aside for the CTE students.

Outreach and marketing: The program is marketed via the class schedule and college catalog as well as at high schools in the area, and at the Guadalupe Center. Additionally, alumni frequently refer to the center and act as word-of-mouth advertisers for the English learner community. Success breeds success, when the students see the alumni’s success, they can see themselves there as well.

Evidence of effectiveness: At the beginning of each semester, a baseline of academic knowledge is set for each student. As the semester progresses the staff and coordinators can check on the progress made by each student. As each student checks into the computers, a program records their attendance and academic progress. On average, 500 students are served annually.

Suggestions for replication: Provide professional development to assure the cooperation of faculty who may not believe in the program initially. In the times of lean funding, resistance from faculty members or programs who are competing for scarce resources can be a problem.

The ELL students who attend the program are quick to feel dismissed. Therefore, it is imperative to have adequate funding and staffing to serve the students. Additionally, a phone and email network is necessary to maintain contact with current students as well as make contact with students who have stopped attending the classes and program.