The Morris School District provides targeted language instruction for over 900 English Language Learners and immigrant students in grades K-12 who speak over 40 languages. We offer a full-time transitional Spanish bilingual program and English Language Learning (ELL) classes for all students in the program.
Why does the ELL/Bilingual Program exist?
Our purpose is to provide equitable linguistic and sociocultural access to every opportunity and advantage that the Morris School District has to offer, and beyond.
What are the core values of our program?
- We have an unwavering belief in the potential of all students to excel at high levels;
- We understand the need for adaptability and flexibility in order to meet the diverse needs of the students that we serve;
- We are committed to efficacy and a growth mindset.
What do we do?
We prepare students to excel, independently, in English, in both social and academic settings.
How will we succeed? How will we make decisions in a purposeful, intentional, and unique way that will allow us to maximize the success of our students?
- We will construct a professional development plan including the establishment and rollout of a cohesive language framework for 2020-2021;
- We will collaborate with professional colleagues;
- We will advocate for and "create an environment that the brain perceives as safe and nurturing so it can relax, let go of any stress, and turn its attention to learning" (Hammond, 2015, p.50);
- We will be intentional about the use of data to inform and shape instruction;
- We will proactively communicate and collaborate with families and the local community.
Paulo Freire declared in his seminal work that "education either functions as an instrument that is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes 'the practice of freedom', the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world".
The instructional philosophy of the ELL/Bilingual department is one that acknowledges that learning does not happen in a vacuum, but instead within a greater sociopolitical context that requires building trust with students, "knowing how to strengthen and expand students' intellective capacity..., [and] creating an environment that feels socially and intellectually safe..." (Hammond, 2015, p.19).
The instructional philosophy of the ELL/Bilingual department is one that sees students as creative and critical thinkers who are fully capable of participating as independent co-constructors of their learning, and which sees teachers as facilitators, rather than transmitters, of learning experiences.
We are committed to helping our students to navigate, redesign, and create rather than conform, and to actively participate rather than passively abstain. Jean Piaget asserted that "each time one prematurely teaches a child something [s]he could have discovered [herself or] himself, that child is kept from inventing it and consequently from understanding it completely".
We are committed to fostering independence in our students so that they are owners of their learning, interdependence so that they are empathetic members of a community, and discovery so that they have total access to every 21st century college and career opportunity, including those that do not yet exist.
Director of ELL/Bilingual Programs K-12
Lafayette Learning Center
31 Hazel Street
Morristown, NJ 07960