Submitted by Madeleine Bystrom
Ruamrudee International School (RIS) is a PreK through grade 12 school that offers an international standards-based curriculum. Its high school offers both the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and Advanced Placement courses. Founded in 1957, RIS is well known throughout Thailand and serves both the local Thai community (approximately 80% of its students) as well as expatriate families in the greater Bangkok area. There are currently around 1,100 students enrolled with a majority of them being English language learners.
The ELD (English Language Development) program at RIS has evolved over the years and is very much focused on the needs of its students. In 2015, RIS joined WIDA’s International School Consortium in an effort to create aligned systems across all school sections and to provide common vocabulary for all teachers and administrators to use. RIS also adopted the WIDA Screener for placement accuracy and consistency and uses the WIDA MODEL for ongoing assessment. In addition to funding teachers to attend the WIDA Institute and Symposium, RIS requires all of its teachers to be trained in WIDA’s CLIMBS course (Content and Language Integration as a means of Bridging Success). Being knowledgeable about best practices regarding strategies and foundations of language learning has provided a framework for RIS teachers to continue to be aware of how to reach all students.
The ultimate goal of the ELD program at RIS is to provide English and academic language support for English language learners so that these students are able to successfully access mainstream classes and curriculum. WIDA has helped RIS do that by placing students where they will get the support they need and then helping inform students and teachers about what students “can do” and where they need to go to move forward. Teachers collaborate with a shared understanding of skills and concepts while using common vocabulary. Darcy Coonan testifies that “As an ELD specialist, the WIDA framework has helped me better communicate with my co-teachers about students’ abilities and areas of growth. It has given my planning and teaching a clear direction. I can have conversations with my colleagues in middle school and high school about specific students and provide those students with a continuity that we didn’t previously have.”
Please join Ruamrudee International School on October 8-11, 2019 when they host a WIDA International Institute. You can visit the WIDA International Institutes page for information about this professional learning event.