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English Learners Program

About EL

The English Learners (EL) program provides English language instruction and support for students K-12 who are unable to communicate fluently in English. Through development of listening, speaking, reading and writing (including vocabulary and grammar skills), students are assisted in becoming independent English speakers and learners. English Learners meet with EL staff on a regular basis for instruction. Materials and methods are appropriate to the grade, age and language levels of students.

EL Mission

The intent of the EL program is to ensure successful academic achievement for all TCAPS students with a primary language other than English.

EL Goals

  • To provide quality English language instruction for all English Learners (EL) in grades K-12 so they may become proficient in the four domains of the English language: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • To assist all students in accessing content-area instruction while learning English, so that they can work towards or remain at grade level and make progress toward grade level competencies in content areas.
  • To familiarize the EL student with the varied cultures and customs of the United States while promoting their own ethnic pride through cultural diversity and sensitivity.
  • To assist English Learners and their families in becoming participating members of the Traverse City Area Public Schools community.

In addition, Traverse City Area Public Schools' EL program maintains follow-up on students who have exited the program. This process ensures that all Former English Learner (FEL) students are monitored through collaboration with the EL teaching assistant and the classroom teacher, in addition to the district EL coach.

More About EL

English Learners are students who come from a home where a language other than English is spoken primarily. Such students may be immigrants from other countries.  Others may be U.S.-born students who come from non-English speaking homes. 

All K-12 students who have a primary language other than English spoken in the home are required to complete the WIDA online screener. The purpose of this assessment is to properly identify students who qualify for English language support services.

Once identified, our program connects English Learners with additional supports available. The TCAPS English Learners Program serves students coming from any country speaking any language. We are proud to currently represent students speaking over 26 languages. 

How Long Does It Take to Learn a New Language?

  • Social Proficiency (informal language at school, home, the playground): 1-3 Years
  • Academic Proficiency (content-based language of the classroom): 5-7 Years

Interpreter/Translation Services

Interpreting during any meeting or translation of any documents will be provided for any parent who requests interpreting or translating. The process to request these services is:

  • Contact your school and make a request. The school will then make the request through the Human Resources Department, and an interpreter will be provided.
  • A school may use the Tele-Interpreter Service if no interpreter is available, or if interpreter/translation services are an immediate need.

For More EL Program Information

Contact Heidi Maltby-Skodack, Director of School Improvement, at 231.933.1782 for more information.