Friday, August 28, 2009

What is LINK?

In the last post I referenced a program named LINK and since the post I have had several questions about LINK. Please keep the questions coming - I'm glad people are reading the blog!

LINK is Language Immersion for New Kindergartners. Nationally this instructional model is known as KLDM - Kindergarten Language Development Model, but we wanted a name unique to ISD 191 and something that was a little easier to remember.

LINK is focused on immersing our Kindergarten ESL students into an English rich environment so that we give them an instructional boost at the earliest possible opportunity. This program does not have a negative impact on non-ESL students; it is not costing anything extra or pulling staff from another program. In ISD 191 ESL teachers are staffed at a ratio of 40:1; 40 students to 1 teacher. During the 2008-09 school year we observed that there were approximately 20 ESL students in our kindergarten program and began to explore other instructional models.

During the 2008-09 school year Mrs. Gonzalez was working with 2-4 students at a time for approximately one 1/2 hour with each group. For our ESL students this meant they were in and out of their Kindergarten classroom and for the students in a half day program almost half of their day was spent out of the classroom receiving Title I asnd ESL services.

With the LINK program in place our ESL Kindergarten students will be in the morning Kindergarten classroom with Mrs. Peterson. They will stay in school for lunch and then move the LINK / ESL classroom for the afternoon. Instead of pulling the students out of the classroom for ESL and Title I services the students will be together in one classroom and all of the services will be provided there. This is not All-Day Kindergarten for free, but it is a creative way to deliver ESL services. The LINK students will only be in Mrs. Peterson's Kindergarten classroom for the half-day program and then they will be in the ESL classroom for the remainder of the day. I believe that if this program is successful we will see long term benefits for 1-6 classrooms, our ESL students and other students as this changes how our teachers teach.

I welcome your feedback on this exciting opportunity for our students.

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