Students & Family Resources

We recognize the tremendous advantages of bilingualism and biculturalism, and we celebrate what our wonderful students and families bring to our community!  

How does the ESOL Program help English language learners (ELLs)?

The ESOL Program helps students to develop their proficiency in English, and to succeed alongside their peers in the classroom.  ESOL Staff look carefully at the strengths and needs of each individual student and plan ESOL services accordingly.  In many cases, this involves a combination of support within the classroom (called “push-in”), and focused instruction in the ESOL room (called “pull-out”).  While we emphasize vocabulary development, we address all language areas (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) in compliance with current research and all state and federal mandates. 

How can I help my child succeed?

YOUR STUDENTS WILL BENEFIT WHEN YOU…

Communicate with teachers!

Please come to school events when you can.  For Parent-Teacher Conferences, we will schedule an interpreter to be there if we know that you are coming, so that we can talk together about your student’s progress and answer any of your questions in whatever language you need.  If you would like to talk to your student’s teacher by telephone, we have a telephone interpretation service so that we can do this in whatever language you need.  We know that working together benefits your student in school.

 

Read with your child - in any language!

 We know that reading for fun helps children learn, by practicing vocabulary and grammar, by learning new words, and by learning about their world.  We also know that reading with family helps children learn when they talk together about the story, and when families share their own stories. 

We know that reading in ANY language helps children – When children read more, they read better.  Strong reading skills in one language lead to strong reading skills in a second language.  When children read more, they do better in school. 
So we’re growing a special library in each Berlin elementary school.  Our special library has books your children will want to bring home and read because…
  • Some of these books are set in countries you have come from
  • Some of these books have characters that look like your children
  • Some of these books are in English AND in your language
Your student can borrow these beautiful books from Mrs. Tokic at Hubbard, Mrs. Neilan at Griswold, and Mrs. DeRiu at Willard.

You can also encourage your student to login at home to Raz Kids.  With Raz Kids, they have online access to hundreds of books.  They can read a book, listen to the book, and answer some questions.  They win fun stars when they finish a task.  They can use these stars to “buy” things in Raz Kids, and decorate their virtual homes.

 

Spend time together, talking and experiencing the world!

 Students benefit the more time they talk – in any language! – and participate in activities with family members.  Activities and experiences will build your child’s background knowledge, which will help them make progress in school.  They can use this knowledge to help them make connections in the classroom, and to help them more easily understand what they read and learn in school.  So have some adventures together!

Here are some ideas for fun family experiences not far away:
FALL –

  • Go apple or pumpkin picking at Rose’s Berry Farm.  It is free to go there, and they charge you for the fruit you pick by how much it weighs.  It’s great fun! 
  • Go through the corn maze at Lyman Orchards.  With more than two miles of twisting and winding pathways carved within four acres of towering cornstalks, a hundred decision points, and just one way out, getting lost in their annual corn maze will be a lot of fun, and it's all for a great cause! $1 of every admission is donated to the American Cancer Society. Lyman Orchards also has apple picking, pumpkin picking, and many other fruits.
  • Go hiking up Talcott Mountain.  This is free.  You park at the bottom and walk up a great path to the top, where you’ll find Heublein Tower.  Bring along snacks and have a picnic up there.  The view is amazing!
WINTER –
  • Visit the local Audubon Society.  Explore the Discovery Room with hands-on exhibits, wildlife mounts, interpretive natural history exhibits, a diorama of Connecticut River’s Great Meadow, and small live animals.  During Fall, Spring, and Summer, the grounds surrounding the Center have a beautiful Wildlife Garden, a bird-feeding station, and a picnic area.  The Center is next to a giant park, Earle Park, with its forest trails and scenic views of Tom’s Pond, meadows, and bluffs overlooking the Holland Brook river.  The park also has trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding.
  • Go ice-skating at Newington Arena.  Even if you fall down a few times, this is a great winter activity.  Check the schedules at their website for what days and times they have Public Skating, because sometimes the two rinks are used by different teams and lessons.
  • Visit the New Britain Museum of American Art.  You might be surprised at the truly amazing art collection at this nearby museum.  There is also a gift shop and café.  The museum also offers different programs for children.
  • Visit the Wadsworth Atheneum.  You will find contemporary art, 20th century European art, and 18th and 19th century American art, including a collection of Hudson River School paintings.  The second Saturday of every month is free admission!
  • Visit Kidcity, a children’s museum and play center in Middletown.  This is a fun, indoor place for children ages 1-8 to explore interactive exhibits.
  • Visit the Children’s Museum in West Hartford.  You can spend a whole day here for sure.  It offers hands-on fun with science and nature for younger children and families – with interactive labs, workshops, multi-sensory exhibits and demonstrations, a live wildlife sanctuary, state-of-the art digital science dome planetarium shows and movies.  They also have school vacation camps. 
SPRING/SUMMER –
  • Go hiking at the Old Cedar Mountain Hiking Trail, behind the Humane Society on Russell Road in Newington.  This is a great place to go walking.  The trail has a sign at the front entrance and leads to a couple of connector trails that are outlined with heavy branches and covered with mulch.  Continuing on the main trail will eventually lead to the "outlook."  This outlook area offers a scenic view of the area for miles from Cedar Mountain.
  • Go berry picking!  Lyman Orchards and Rose’s Berry Farm have strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and more.  It’s free to go there, and you pay based on the weight of what you pick.  Check the picking calendar at their websites to see which fruit is ready for picking on the day you choose to go.  Rose’s Berry Farm also has a terrific Sunday breakfast (8:00 – 1:00).
  • Go to the Beardsley Zoo.  Spend an hour or the whole day and see more than 300 animals.   There’s also farmyard area with goats, cows, pigs, sheep and other barnyard critters that you can touch.  Ride the carousel, and have lunch at the Peacock Café or the picnic area.
  • Go to the New Britain Youth Museum at Hungerford Park.  You will find farm and exotic animals, wildlife, a trail system for walking, a pond, and gardens.  They also have changing exhibits on science, natural history, geology, agriculture.  Enjoy the picnic area, playscape, and gift shop.
  • Visit Roaring Brook Nature Center.  It offers environmental exhibits, nature programs, concerts and acres of outdoor hiking, bird watching, and winter cross-country skiing.
FAVORITE VENDORS FOR PURCHASING BILINGUAL & MULTICULTURAL BOOKS & MORE...

Language Lizard    

Lee & Low Books

 Barefoot Books     

 Culture for Kids

Do you have questions?

Please feel free to contact Jean Borrup, District ESOL Coordinator, at jborrup@berlinschools.org at any time.  If you like, Ms. Borrup can arrange a telephone call in whatever language you wish.  In your email, please suggest a few times that are convenient for you, please provide a telephone number where you can be reached, and please tell the name of your child.

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