Focus School: NCIC Immersion

Submitted by: Keisha La Beach, EAL Coordinator, and Emily Cave, Director.

September 2019

Years of experience with WIDA assessments and resources by the founder and founding director of NCIC Immersion made it an easy decision to add WIDA to the school’s resources. The can do philosophy, standards, Can Do descriptors, as well as the WIDA MODEL have offered needed support as we serve our students. As a dual language-dual culture school, most of our students are language learners.

We have just over 400 students who are learning in two languages: Chinese and English and we are committed to their bilingual and bi-literate development. WIDA’s comprehensive focus gives us insights about how students interact with language throughout the day in the four domains, and across disciplines. The data provided by WIDA MODEL, and other WIDA resources, help us make decisions based not only on what our students need, but also highlights the assets students have and ways those can be leveraged towards continued growth.

a teacher and three students looking at an informational poster
Photo courtesy NCIC Immersion School

The WIDA MODEL is administered to all our students PY-G8 (Kindergarten - Grade 8). The WIDA MODEL Online is used for students in G1-8 and the WIDA MODEL for Kindergarten is done by our Preparatory Year students (kindergarten). WIDA MODEL is administered annually and the data gathered is used by teachers and administrators as we reflect on what students can do and then use this information to plan for next steps. At all levels within the school we look for patterns and trends, consider possible causal categories, and develop action plans. At the school level, the data will show us year-to-year growth and offer feedback on our program. At the class level, teachers are able to take intentional teacher actions using resources like the Can Do Descriptors.

Without the data provided by WIDA MODEL we would be guessing, or relying solely on data sets not focused on measuring English language proficiency. WIDA MODEL gives us the perspective which is invaluable to the work we do as a dual language school. It allows us to plan with both content and language in mind as we continue to develop our shared and common learning language.

two students giving a presentation to their class
Photo courtesy NCIC Immersion School

At NCIC Immersion, every teacher is a language teacher and there is a shared responsibility for the success of all our students. This makes having shared expectations and common language important. For example, our work with the WIDA Writing Rubric at grade levels and within Middle School teams has allowed teachers to engage in writing calibration sessions where subjective preferences can be set aside and understanding can be co-constructed. Collaboration is synonymous with our school as we embrace a co-teaching model. Chinese teachers and English Immersion teachers co-plan and co-deliver lessons. By collaboratively assessing and reflecting on student work they are able to create student profiles with the benefit of multiple perspectives. 

“Our work with WIDA helped my co-teacher and I to develop shared expectations for our students. It also gave us insights about scaffolds we could use to support individual students and our class,” – L. Barron

“As a school where our students are learning in two languages, WIDA has been helpful in providing data that we’ve been able to use to make decisions about how and what we differentiate so that we can better support our students,” – Y J Ku.

You can visit the NCIC campus on February 7-10, 2020, when they host a WIDA International Institute.

two women reading a booklet together

Become a WIDA Focus School

Tell us about the ways WIDA has helped your school discover what your learners can do. Please contact Jenny Hill-Wild at hillwild@wisc.edu to nominate your school – or a colleague’s – to become a Focus School for an upcoming issue of the WIDA International Newsletter.