Focus School: Shekou International School

Shekou LogoWhy Did you Start Using WIDA?

At Shekou International School, our English language learner population enriches the cultural diversity of our community. By differentiating for various levels of English proficiency, our rigorous curriculum provides challenging, authentic and personalized opportunities for our learners to access the high academic content in our classrooms. As SIS continues to grow into its sheltered immersion and inclusive practices, the application of WIDA as a tool to foster such inclusion has guided the support provided for students within classrooms at all grade levels.

We started implementing WIDA's Can Do Descriptors a few years ago to support our growth-mindset approach to supporting English language learners. WIDA MODEL has served mainly as a screening and admissions tool to track our ELL demographics. The data gathered from the assessment allows us to heterogeneously build class groups which neither exclude nor segregate our ELL populations across all divisions.

At the Elementary level, WIDA MODEL is also used as a tracking tool. This has guided our instruction as we are able to determine where the majority of the support is needed, as well as which language domain to target in our support. At the Middle and High school levels, the WIDA Can Do Descriptors have played a huge part in the language used to refer to our ELLs in collaborative conversations as well as report card narratives. We have had much success in the way we discuss student support through can-do statements. We have also used WIDA's philosophy to empower our SIS staff in the idea that we all support the development of language in our ELLs.

As SIS' inclusive model evolves, the SIS EAL team continues to find ways in which support for ELLs is not only in the classrooms but also in the training of our entire staff as teachers of learners of English. We plan for the WIDA framework to continue guiding us on how best to support our ELLs and teachers through this model.

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.