This year, students who come from 23 countries of origin and speak 17 world languages gathered at Spring Valley Academy for an intensive six week program. Five outstanding La Mesa-Spring Valley School District (LMSVSD) teachers helped design and facilitate instruction for students in their small classes over the course of Breakthrough English program.
LMSVSD English Learner Resource Teacher Kim Nisson and Director of Curriculum and Instruction Elisa Holston-Arteaga designed Breakthrough English to be a dynamic and engaging experience for students learning English. The program helps students who are learning English to develop their language proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
Small group instruction, real-world connections, and rich academic vocabulary and language instruction and practice have led to accelerated progress for the students learning English in this program. One student in the program said, “I like this program because I know my teachers care about me and I can learn fast with the other kids in the room.” Additionally, Nisson says that she has seen rapid progress from students who have attended both this year’s program and last year’s in their development of spoken and written English. She described one scenario giving a group of newcomer students a state test that had them in tears in English in their first month living here. After attending both sessions of Breakthrough English, this family of students learning English has gained proficiency to have rich conversations and engage in academic coursework. The gains are academic, social, and around improved confidence.
The students in the program will participate in a celebration assembly as part of their promotion from the program today in the Spring Valley Academy multipurpose room.