Idlewild Elementary Language Policy

Idlewild Elementary Language Policy 2017-18


At Idlewild Elementary, we believe that all teachers are teachers of language. Language is fundamental to the need to communicate, supporting and enhancing our thinking and understanding. Effective language teaching and learning are social acts, dependent on relationships with others, with context, with the environment, with the world, and with the self. We believe that language instruction is not isolated; inquiry across disciplines provides an authentic context for learning language, learning about language, and learning through language. It empowers the learner and provides an intellectual framework to support conceptual development and critical thinking and plays a vital role in the construction of meaning. Additionally, we believe that the acquisition of a second language serves to enrich personal development and facilitate international-mindedness.

Current Language Profile

Upon enrollment at Idlewild, parents are asked to provide information about the primary language in the home as well as whether or not the student speaks the indicated language. Of the students currently enrolled at Idlewild, 9% of the students are exposed to a language other than English at home, representing 14 different languages. Those identified as needing support as an English Language Learner represent 6.3% of the student body. (updated Mar 2017)


English is the language of instruction at Idlewild Elementary. The primary goal is to integrate language (reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and presenting) across the subject areas and within the Programme of Inquiry.

Through intentional and collaborative teacher planning, students have ongoing opportunities to make connections, apply their learning, make generalizations, and transfer their conceptual understanding to new situations.

Instructional practices include but are not limited to:

  • Integrate reading, writing, and oral language across all subject areas.
  • Plan learning experiences to allow learners to develop language within meaningful and enjoyable contexts.
  • Expose students to quality literature in a variety of genres to support units of inquiry, reading strategy instruction, and written language proficiency.
  • Incorporate phonics and phonemic awareness instruction in Kindergarten through grade 2 and as needed in grades 3-5.
  • Build vocabulary through the use of a variety of researched-based strategies including total physical response (TPR), cognitive content dictionaries, thinking maps, word walls, and other targeted learning center activities.
  • Utilize a variety of practices for reading instruction delivery including whole group, guided small groups, differentiation through the use of leveled readers, and GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) strategies.
  • Encourage reading for information, reading for enjoyment, and reading to present (fluent/expressive reading).
  • Provide additional support for struggling readers and writers using a pull-out resource model.
  • Model oral and written responses to reading in order to foster and develop grade-level appropriate comprehension strategies.
  • Provide ongoing opportunities for students to discuss and respond to reading.
  • Model correct usage of conventions including spelling grammar, and punctuation both orally and in writing.
  • Use the Writer’s Workshop model.
  • Use the Writing Process (Prewriting, Drafting, Revising, Editing, Publishing, Evaluating).
  • Use the 6+1 Traits for Writing as a model for developing a quality piece of writing.
  • Provide opportunities for students to express themselves and develop writing skills in a variety of modes and genres, targeting different audiences.
  • Incorporate writing conferencing to allow for both teacher and peer feedback.
  • Provide opportunities for students to reflect upon and evaluate their own writing in order to recognize their strengths and set goals for improvement.

The instructional program resources used for reading and language have been evaluated and adopted at the district level, ensuring that the materials meet the required curriculum standards.  From 2012 onward, Clover Park School District is following the Common Core State Standards.

Current instructional district-adopted resources include:

  • Reach for Reading, National Geographic K-5

Professional Development

Due to the large size of the Clover Park School District, Idlewild is able to tap into literacy professional development offered through the district Teaching and Learning Department. The district provides in-service trainings and Teacher Academy sessions (after school and summer) in research-based, best practice instruction in the Language Arts which support the required Language Arts Curriculum (tied to the Common Core State Standards- CCSS). District Teacher Academies during the school year and over the summer offer extensive training in Project GLAD, which all Idlewild teachers are encouraged to attend. Teachers also participate in guided book studies, also supporting language instruction in the IB program.

Mother Tongue Support

At Idlewild, the vast majority of students speak English as their first language. There are however, a small number of students identified as English Language Learners (ELL) (6%), two of whom possess very limited English skills. For these students, English is not the primary language in the home. ELL students are identified for or exited from the ELL program through the use of the WELPA Placement Test and the annual ELPA21. Once identified, the ELL students are supported in several ways. Idlewild employs an ELL teacher who instructs students in a small group, pull-out setting as well as pushing into general education classrooms. Students receive language services for thirty minutes per day. The program is organized to complement the language acquisition instruction happening in the regular classroom.

ELL students also receive targeted support within the regular classroom. Over 50% of the staff at Idlewild have attended training for Project GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design). GLAD strategies are designed to promote English language acquisition, academic achievement, and cross-cultural skills. The integration of GLAD strategies into instruction across the content areas not only supports ELL and students with low academic language skills but also enhances the language and literacy development of all students.

Additionally, the Clover Park School District supports the school in communicating both orally and in writing with non-English speaking families through the use of in-person interpreters, an interpreter phone service, and translated written material as appropriate.

The library/media center continues to grow its collection of resources for other languages, adding books in new languages to meet the needs of new enrollment and to offer students access to cultures outside their own. The mother tongue languages represented in this collection of books currently include Russian, Tagalog, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, as well as a large number of books in Spanish. The local surrounding Pierce County Library branches have a wide variety of language books available for families to borrow. Finally, the Journeys reading program texts, magazines, and leveled readers are available online in Spanish at

The families of Idlewild students will be offered opportunities to share the students’ cultures during the school year to support the development of the IB Learner Profile and promote international-mindedness in students.

Second Language Instruction

Idlewild recognizes and acknowledges that every learner benefits from access to different languages and that acquiring a second language nurtures the attributes in the learner profile, particularly those of communicator and open-minded. Beginning in Kindergarten, all students receive regular instruction in Spanish.

The Spanish language teacher seeks to support Idlewild’s listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and presenting practices, the IB learner profile, and the PYP attitudes, in addition to supporting the Programme of Inquiry whenever and wherever appropriate. Students in third through fifth grade learn the world language through listening, speaking, reading and writing, and focusing on grammatical structure, while Kindergarten through second grade the focus is on developing their listening and speaking skills through growing a Spanish vocabulary base to become effective, multilingual communicators.

The Spanish language teacher uses the National World-Readiness goal areas-Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities, to guide the curriculum, instruction and assessment. Refer to

Appreciation for other cultures is promoted through the study of special celebrations, literature, traditions, and customs in Spanish-speaking countries. In addition, a growing collection of Spanish books are available for student check-out.

Updated Oct 2017