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International House

What is the International House?

The International House for English Language Learners is a program at James Madison High School for students whose primary language is not English. The purpose of this program is to immerse students in the language and culture of the United States of America while also fostering a deep appreciation for the diverse cultures of the world. Students will benefit from the support of an instructional program focused on developing literacy and language skills. Through participation in ESL classes and by participating in language workshops and tutoring, students gain the confidence to communicate and read effectively in English.   

Why join the International House?

When enrolling their child in a DOE school, parents and guardians must fill out a Home Language Identification Survey (HLIS). If parents indicate that a language other than English is spoken in their home, their child is given a test called the New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners (NYSITELL), which is designed to determine language proficiency. Those students who score below a State-determined level on the assessment become ELLs. During the spring of each school year, ELLs in grades K to 12 take the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT), which is designed to measure language development. Students remain current ELLs until they earn proficient scores on the NYSESLAT; those students who pass the test are considered former ELLs. Students in the program benefit from the support and guidance of their teachers as well as the International House Coordinator, whom oversees their overall progress in the program and is available to answer questions.
Just over 41% of the students enrolled in New York City public schools speak a language other than English at home. That means that there are 438,131 students living in households where English is not the primary language spoken. To contextualize this number, think about it this way: the number of students who speak a language other than English at home is larger than the population of 41 state capitals, and it’s nearly half of Delaware’s entire state population.  


What is the NYSESLAT?

The New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) is designed to annually assess the English language proficiency of all English Language/Multilingual Learners (ELLs/MLLs) enrolled in Grades K–12 in New York State schools. The test provides the State and schools with important information about the English language development of ELLs/MLLs, and is part of the State’s compliance with federal laws that mandate the annual assessing and monitoring of the English language proficiency of all ELLs/MLLs.

What is the NYSITELL?

This test, titled the New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners (NYSITELL), is based on and is similar to the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT), but abbreviated in length. The NYSITELL will replace the Language Assessment Battery-Revised (LAB-R) as the approved means of initially identifying ELLs in New York State. As with the NYSESLAT, students receive scores of Entering (Beginning), Emerging (Low Intermediate), Transition (Intermediate), Expanding (Advanced) or Commanding (Proficient).

What ENL (English as a New Language) courses does Madison offer?

English as a New Language instruction is required by the State to be offered through two settings:
Integrated ENL/ESL: ESL methodologies in content area instruction, including ELA and Social Studies, co-taught or individually taught by a dually-certified teacher.
Stand-Alone ENL/ESL: ESL instruction with an ESOL teacher to develop the English language needed for academic success.

What is the exit criteria and how does that affect programming?

Exit criteria allows qualified students to exit ELL status in one of two ways ways:
Option #1: Scoring at the Commanding level on the NYSESLAT
Option #2: Scoring at the Advanced/Expanding level on the NYSESLAT AND a score of three (3) or higher on a grade 3-8 ELA assessment OR a score of 65% or higher on the Regents Exam in English.

How can students volunteer to serve as translators?

Bilingual students possess a highly desirable skill for colleges and employers. Students may earn service credit by serving as language translators for school staff during parent-teacher conferences, during school days and at any other time deemed necessary by the school staff. This experience helps prepare students for careers which require bilingual employees.