Glenwood Springs Elementary School in Colorado, where almost half of all students enter as English language learners, recently implemented an intervention program to help the ELLs keep up with their native English-speaking peers. The program uses Longman Cornerstone, an ELL elementary curriculum from Pearson, and already shows signs of success for the district.
The program is part of a state-mandated effort to close the achievement gap between ELLs and native speakers. District ELL Director Sharon Moya applied elements of the Response to Intervention model to create a procedure for progress monitoring and worked with Pearson to implement the program.
GSES students that used Cornerstone showed significant improvements, and the program’s success has led school officials to implement the program in every K-5 ELL class, district-wide, for the 2009-2010 school year.
When tested in September 2008, 70 percent of first graders were reading below benchmark and 30 percent were reading at the expected grade-level benchmark, based on Pearson’s Developmental Reading Assessment. After five months, the number of first grade students reading below benchmark decreased by nearly a half, and 48 percent of students were reading above benchmark.
Teachers at GSES like the way Cornerstone integrates phonics and oral language skills with higher-level critical thinking skills. Students are also proud of their success—Jairo Pelac, a fourth grader who used Cornerstone for the first time this past school year said “I feel proud of myself because when I came here I didn’t know English and now, I do.”