Most students at Timber Creek speak English as their first language, or their native language. For many, it’s the only language they know. It is what they have grown up learning in school and communicating with at home. But that’s not the case for everyone.
For some students here at Timber Creek, English is not their first language. For these students, the state of Texas formed a program called English as a Second Language (ESL).
The ESL program serves the ELL (English Language Learner) population starting as young as kindergarten and continuing through high school. ELL academic interventionist, Tara Cargill, coordinates the ESL program here at Timber Creek and expresses how it supports the students in a classroom setting.
“It levels the playing field so to speak where they are not walking in with base knowledge and then learning in the classroom, we have to bring that level up for them and so we do that through accommodations. Through the interventions we are building that language over time and making it more accessible to the student and for the teacher in the classroom.”
There are 24 languages represented and 189 students in the program at Timber Creek as well as around 60 students known as ESL monitors. These are students who have technically exited the program by scoring fluent in language acquisition but are still followed for two to four years. Junior and ESL student, Eddie Torres has been in the program since he moved into Keller ISD in 4th grade.
“They really help you. They really get to know you. Its not just a program that you come in here and you sit down and do work,” Torres said. “You actually have a relationship with the teacher. They help you a lot and I really like it.”
Torres’ first language is Spanish and says he wouldn’t have the level of English he has and the friends he has now if it weren’t for the ESL program.
And ESL support doesn’t stop once they leave the classroom. Students get to participate in college visits, college and career days as well as getting involved in clubs around school to better their social language. The ESL program strives to aid all ELL students in their academic careers.