Cushing's ESL program is designed to prepare non-native speakers of English for equal participation with American students in all school activities - both in and out of class. The program aims at developing students' proficiency in four major areas: reading, writing, speaking and listening comprehension. Although grammar is primarily introduced in the writing classes and vocabulary in the reading classes, unfamiliar words and grammatical structures are explained and practiced in all ESL courses as needed. Writing is practiced in all classes as well.
In addition, students learn academic skills such as library, computer and dictionary use, note-taking, paraphrasing, outlining, test-taking strategies, effective notebook-keeping and time management. Recognizing the special needs of international students, ESL teachers provide support and guidance in areas of cultural adjustment, homesickness and academic advising as students get accustomed to the U.S. educational system.
When non-native speakers of English enroll at the Academy, they take a series of tests designed to determine their proficiency in the English language. They are then placed into the appropriate sequence of ESL classes and closely monitored. Extra Help in ESL exceeds the usual 30 minutes per day, and teachers in the program schedule appointments during their free time to meet with students needing additional support.
Cushing offers two levels of ESL instruction:
Advanced Intermediate Level
Students typically take a writing/grammar course, a listening/speaking course, Reading II (literature), and standard math and science courses. Occasionally a student may take World History instead of a science, and those whose reading skills are more refined take a more challenging reading course, Literary Studies, instead of Reading II.
Advanced Level students are mainstreamed in three courses and take two periods of English as a Second Language per day, Literary Studies and Advanced Grammar and Composition. They also take standard math, science and history classes. These advanced level classes are critically important for students to refine their grammar, writing, reading, and listening/speaking skills before heading into mainstream English classes with native English speakers.
Cushing offers the following ESL courses:
• Advanced Intermediate Level
• Advanced Level
• TOEFL Review
• ESL US History
• ESL Support
• Other Support Services