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English Learners [EL]


Welcome to the English Language Learner (ELL) Department at Stamford High School.

The ELL Department is dedicated to assuring that our English language learners enrolled in our school receive the best education possible. The ELL and general education teachers work hard together to build students' content area knowledge and language proficiency.

Stamford High School currently has more than 200 ELLs enrolled in our school who speak more than 20 languages. 44% of our ELLs have a native language of Spanish, and 39% speak Haitian Creole. Our next major language groups are Ukrainian, French, and Portuguese. We are certainly a richly diverse and multi-cultural school!

Thanks for visiting our website. We are in the process of posting valuable resources for staff, students, and parents, so please check back often for updates and new information.


ELL Overview



The population of ELL students in Stamford High School has grown dramatically in the past several years. We recognize this diversity as a resource for our school and we celebrate it. Our ELL students come from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances: some are immigrants, some are on foreign assignments, some are refugees and some are native-born Americans of different language heritages. Some come with extensive formal academic experiences and others with interrupted or delayed school background.

To meet the needs of our students, the ELL program at Stamford High School:

  • Promotes growth in English language proficiency.
  • Enhances cognitive development.
  • Facilitates academic achievement.
  • Encourages cultural and social adjustment.

We provide:

  • Comprehensive English Language Development (ELD) instruction in all language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking, critical thinking.
  • Content area instruction that is academically challenging and integrated with the SPS content curriculum but tailored to the student’s linguistic proficiency, educational background and academic needs.
  • Professional learning for all staff members to help them facilitate the academic growth of linguistically and culturally diverse students.

If you have further questions, please contact Kristina Lawson, Department Head of ELL and WL Programs by email.


How are students placed into the English Language Learner (ELL) program?


 Identification as an ELL and Placement into classes with supports for ELLs is determined by a student's performance on a combination of language assessments. When initial placement assessments are conducted, students will be asked to demonstrate their skill in: conversational English, writing, reading, listening, editing, vocabulary and grammar.

If you are a student who speaks a language other than English and you know that you are going to enroll in Stamford Public Schools, please contact the Stamford Public School's ELL Department to schedule an appointment to take the language assessment. You may reach Mrs. Lemus, OSS for the ELL Department at (203) 977-4825 or Mr. Garlet, ELL Assessor at phone number: (203) 977-0868. You may also reach Mr. Garlet by sending an email. The District's ELL office is located centrally, at the Stamford Government Center, 888 Washington Blvd.


How does a student exit the ESOL program?


 Students must meet English Mastery Standards on both the LAS LINKS (English language proficiency test) and the CMT (grade 9) or CAPT (grade 10 and above) state mandated assessments.

Student's Grade Level

Linguistic Assessment

Content Area Assessment

Grade 9

LAS Links overall score of 4 or higher

Minimum CMT overall score of 3 in Reading, 3 in Math and 2 in Writing

Grades 10-12

Minimum CAPT score of 2


How is grade placement determined for students transferring into Stamford High School from other countries?


During the initial intake interview, ELL staff and guidance counselors will evaluate the transferring student's official school transcripts and translate them into International Carnegie Units, or other determination. The International Carnegie Units will be used to determine grade placement.



What do parents / students need to bring to the initial placement interview?


 It is necessary for a parent or legal guardian to be present at the initial intake interview. Official school transcripts, from the student's home country, must be available for translation into International Carnegie Units.



What kind support or coursework will a student receive in the ELL program?


 The level and type of support depends on the level of the learner and the language the learner speaks. Stamford High School offers bilingual support for students with low / beginner proficiencies whose home language is Haitian Creole who begin school prior to October 1 of their sophomore year. We also offer ESL to students who have a English-language proficiency of 3 or lower (as determined by the LAS Links). The third type of service we offer is sheltered instruction classes. We have sheltered coursework in every core content area to support ELLs academic language needs.


Students who meet the criteria of (1) home language of Haitian Creole, (2) entered Stamford Public Schools prior to October 1 of their sophomore year, and (3) have a low - mid English language proficiency as determined by the LAS Links assessment have the opportunity to elect to receive bilingual instruction. This class is offered in addition to other ELL supports.

English as a Second Language (ESL) Courses:

Stamford High School offers three levels of ESL classes, which align to the level of language proficiency in English of the learner.


Level English Proficiency

English Proficiency Level

Number of Class Periods


Level 1

Newcomer / Beginner

2 class periods


Level 2

Intermediate Low

1 class period


Level 3

Intermediate Mid

1 class period

Sheltered Content Courses:

Identified ELLs may elect to take their content delivered using sheltered instructional strategies. Sheltered course work is offered in all content areas.

Academic Area



Sheltered Algebra 1

Sheltered Geometry


Sheltered Physical Science

Sheltered Biology


Sheltered English 9

Sheltered English 10

Sheltered English 11

Sheltered English 12

Social Studies

Sheltered World History

Sheltered Modern World History

Sheltered Civics

Sheltered US History




What kinds of standardized tests are ELLs required taking?


 This depends on the grade level of the student. Identified ELLs, who are in the 9th grade, take the off-year version of the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT). High School students in grades 10-12 are required to take the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT). All identified ELL Students in the state of Connecticut, whether or not they are enrolled in classes which provide ELL support, are required to take the LAS Links Assessment. The LAS Links Assessment is given annually, usually in late January / February.