International School Manila (ISM) is a culturally and linguistically rich school that celebrates over 60 nationalities. Honouring and promoting mother tongue and leveraging what learners can do has been a big part of our journey to become more inclusive. WIDA has been a key resource in supporting our multilingual learners. ESL is an integral part of each grade level from grades 1-10 and ISM supports a sheltered immersion model in which teachers work collaboratively to ensure that the curriculum is accessible to all learners and intentionally integrates language and content instruction.
Since we started using WIDA in 2010, it remains one of our anchor data points. Our biggest area of growth has been moving from using WIDA as an assessment tool to an instructional tool. With the WIDA Screener and WIDA MODEL assessments, teachers have actionable data that enable them to more effectively differentiate instruction and create appropriate scaffolds based on levels of language proficiency. The Key Uses and Can Do Descriptors have allowed us to develop a common language around what English language learners are able to do at each level of proficiency and write language targets aligned with content standards to progress academic language. Student profiles and progress are shared with both teachers and parents to keep the lines of communication open and transparent. We have found that this empowers educators to make data informed decisions and advocate for instructional equity for emergent bilingual learners.
We are looking forward to the release of the WIDA ELD Standards, 2020 Edition, and digging deeper into these resources.