School Language Philosophy
At Hill-Freedman, we place great importance on students’ language development and maintenance. This allows students to become better thinkers and communicators, as they learn to express themselves in their mother tongue, and that learning a second language also helps them become more open-minded, as they learn about other cultures. Finally, language is also the main tool that students use to build their knowledge of the world and their place in it.
At Hill-Freedman World Academy, it is understood that:
- “Language is central to learning,” therefore “all teachers are, in practice, language teachers.”
- All teachers, regardless of the IB discipline or group, must pay close attention to the language mastery of students.
- Mastery of one’s primary language is the fundamental basis for higher levels of thought and knowledge
- Learning a language is a life-long process that encourages students to be better thinkers and communicators
School Language Profile
The majority of students at Hill-Freedman World Academy have English as their mother tongue.
In addition, some students speak other mother tongues, including: Spanish, Wolof, Fulah, Vietnamese, Creoles and pidgins, Tagalog, Swahili, Portuguese, Khmer, Chinese (Yue/Cantonese), Chinese (Mandarin), Urdu, and Arabic.
According to the School District of Philadelphia: “each student’s English proficiency level is determined by the W-APT/WIDA Screener, or the yearly administration of the ACCESS for ELs assessment. Based on the student’s performance on the language proficiency assessments, he/she will be assigned one of the following levels of English Proficiency:
Level 1 – Entering: Student does not understand enough oral and written language to perform in English.
Level 2 – Emerging: Student is able to produce isolated words and may be able to understand visual universal symbols and graphics associated with text in English during academic content instruction. Listening and speaking skills are limited in both social and academic language.
Level 3 – Developing: Student uses single words and/or simple phrases to communicate basic content area concepts in English; is able to read and write simple phrases. Oral skills are more developed than reading and writing skills in both social and academic language.
Level 4 – Expanding: Student is becoming comfortable with social language and with routine academic language functions; usually understands English texts in subject areas quite accurately when structures and topics are familiar; and is able to understand and respond to reading and express ideas in writing with some errors in writing conventions.
Level 5 – Bridging: Student is able to speak English with fluency and use some figurative language and idiomatic expressions; can read a variety of grade-appropriate English texts in subject areas with considerable comprehension and speed; and shows an understanding of sentence structure and close to grade-appropriate composition skills.
All of our students have either exited the program, or are at Level 4-5. According to district guidelines, “Students at this level should be programmed into general education” and these students perform on a level that does not require additional services.
While Hill-Freedman does have admission criteria, none of these criteria are related to language use and proficiency. Students of all language backgrounds and proficiency levels are welcome to attend Hill-Freedman and participate in the IB Diploma program.