SHS program benefits students learning to speak English


Photograph by Elisa-Marie

Students in the ESL program conduct a hands on learning activity.

Elisa-Marie Rivera, Staff Writer

Stroudsburg High School has an English Language Development program known as ELD (English Learning Development). Ms. Jocelyn Ross is the teacher for this program.

Previously, Ross was a science teacher at the Stroudsburg Junior High School for almost 15 years before adding her ELD certification. She has been teaching ESL for five years at the Stroudsburg Junior High, Chipperfield Elementary, and now the Stroudsburg High School.

Ross says that the ELD program is committed to helping ELD students succeed academically and socially. The ELD program helps students develop survival and academic language skills, listening skills for comprehending English in conversations and academic settings, writing skills, and much more.

Students in the ELD program speak another language besides English as their primary language.  When these new students enroll in the district, they must take a home language survey. The survey results are then sent to Ross, and so are their past grades and standardized test scores. Ross then communicates with the family in order to gain a better understanding of how to best serve the needs of the student.

“If it seems the student may have difficulties with English, they are tested in the four domains of listening, speaking, reading and writing. The score determines whether the student is placed in the program,” said Ross.

In the ELD program, there are currently 18 students. Ross says the number of students varies every year. Typically, a student spends about three to four years in ELD classes before they become fully proficient in English. Students come from many different countries as well — Vietnam, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela just to name a few. In the past couple of years, students from India, Poland, Albania, and Colombia have been enrolled in the program.

“I really enjoy teaching ESL (English Secondary Language),” said Ross. “I learn so much from the students from other countries – they have such interesting stories and perspectives that are different from American students.”

Students in the ELD program also receive credits. Their credits and diplomas are the same as any another student in Stroudsburg High School. All ELD students also take a regular English class with their grade level English teacher. All the teachers are responsible for making sure the students are being helped and understand since they are English language learners.

Students seem to really enjoy and benefit from the program.

I really like that program,” said senior Luis Francisco, a former student in the ELD program. “I think I couldn’t have a better teacher. I benefit from the program, and my English is better since I joined the program.”