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English Language Learners

Stokes uses a comprehensive approach to teaching students who are acquiring English as a second language. We value students’ language and cultural diversity, and we maintain high expectations for all students. Teachers facilitate language learning from explicit skill instruction, content-based instruction, and task-based instruction. Each fall, the ELL coordinator administers the ACCESS assessment to help teachers make plans to meet student language needs.  

In Pre-K, students receive instruction in the target language 90% of the time and English 10% of the time--both in small-group and full class settings. Scholars in kindergarten and above spend approximately 50% of their time in English and 50% of their time in the target language. 

The units developed in the target language are in alignment with the ACTFL Performance Descriptors for Language Learners. All lessons have both content and language objectives. Scholars at Stokes School develop a balanced bilingual ability. The learning experiences are designed to develop:   

  • Communication skills: interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational.     

  • Intercultural communication skills: investigation and interaction   


How Target Language Learning Works at Stokes

We offer a full immersion preschool program for children ages three and four in French or Spanish. From kindergarten through grade five, we deliver the rigorous, inquiry-based IB-Primary Years Program curriculum in two languages. All faculty are native speakers of the language in which they are teaching. 


We believe language is at the heart of learning and acknowledge that language acquisition and development is crucial for exploring and sustaining cultural identity, personal development, and intercultural understanding. We believe language and culture shape and inform identity. We commit ourselves to grow and change individually and together, to ensure every learner’s identity, language, and values are respected. 


Research shows that knowing two or more languages has tangible cognitive benefits. As one learns to switch between languages, one triggers--and potentially strengthens--the part of the brain that manages executive function.  

At Stokes School, we believe: 

  • Language learning is a continuum along which each individual progresses differently. 

  • Our diverse multicultural environment and language programs provide the foundation for intercultural competence.   

  • All members of our community are dedicated to language learning within the IB framework. 

Language Intervention

Stokes School employs a language interventionist in both French and Spanish. The role of the language interventionists is to assist students  to attain grade-level proficiency or extend their abilities. The Director of Language Acquisition and the language interventionists will work with families to support scholar language learning for students who are new to the school or the language, or who face other barriers.

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