Focus School: Shanghai Community International School

scis logoWhy Did you Start Using WIDA?

"Embracing the WIDA Can Do Descriptors helps facilitate a growth mindset in our students. Rather than seeing their English learning needs as a deficit, we look at what they can do and build upon it. Framing their learning through this growth-oriented lens helps them feel successful in our learning every day," - Jenni Marotto, SCIS EAL teacher.

Our journey implementing WIDA and the English as an Additional (EAL) Language Co-Teaching model began simultaneously with our journey towards becoming a certified I.B. World School with a Primary Years Programme (PYP). We have found that the conceptual and trans-disciplinary framework of the PYP provides the perfect vehicle for accelerated language growth when combined with the co-teaching model, as guided by WIDA tools and ELD and content-area standards.

WIDA supports our school's rich culture of collaboration, which also fuels our students' success. Grade level homeroom and EAL teachers participate in collaborative unit planning every four days, facilitated by our PYP coordinator. Additionally, EAL teachers and homeroom teachers co-plan at the lesson level each week. Together, they plan for meaningful and authentic learning experiences that are differentiated for individual English Language Proficiency levels and student interest. For example, the EAL teachers plot ELLs' four MODEL domain scores on the Can Do Descriptors, and use it as a valuable co-planning tool.

SCIS teachers have the following things to say about WIDA and Co-teaching in our PYP School:

"We went from the standards driving our instruction to student data and inquiry driving our instruction, based on the framework of the ELD and content area standards. We moved from the pull-out model to a co-teaching model last year. I saw significant growth with co-teaching compared to when we used to use the pull-out model when I compared the growth data from one of my grades," - Caitlin Sirkel, EAL Teacher

"Students' language learning is much more meaningful when it is contextualized in the content!" - Jenni Marotto, EAL Teacher

"My ELLs have improved so much and are becoming more verbal (since we began co-teaching). They're feeling more confident," - Vicki Duchac, 4th Grade Homeroom Teacher

"My EAL co-teacher has facilitated oral scaffolding for our entering ELLs. It created opportunities for them in class," - Jules DeVitto, 4th Grade Homeroom Teacher

"Both teachers (EAL and homeroom) are flexible with where a lesson goes. We adjust as needed," - Austin Wellman, 4th Grade Homeroom Teacher

Become a WIDA Focus School

two women reading a booklet together

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.