ALAS Team Presents at Seidlitz Conference
On January 26, 2017, the ALAS team at Success High School presented at the “What’s working for ELLS in Texas” conference in Austin, TX. ALAS (Academic Language Academy at Success High School) was launched in the Fall of 2014 at Success High School . The program is designed for students in 9th and 10th grade. The students must be beginner or intermediate in their acquisition of the English language based on TELPAS (Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System) scores. Students in the program have been in U.S. schools for less than three years. Students meeting the program requirements are identified in May and their parents are contacted by Success High School staff and invited to an interview to determine interest in the program.
Members of the ALAS team include ESL Lead Teacher, Kinzie Morgan, Social Studies Lead Teacher, Leo Castro, English Teacher, Andrew Barba, Math Teacher, Joseph Furtsch and Science Teacher, Zachery Murton. The team is supported by Success High School Principal, Thomasine Stewart, Assistant Principal, Marie Banzon, Counselor Alberto Perez and Round Rock ISD ESL Instructional Coach, Dianna Allen.
At the conference, the ALAS team shared the success of the program with teachers and administrators from Texas and the United States. Each team member shared how their common planning time and relationship with the team and students has contributed to the success of students. ALAS teachers also shared classroom strategies and projects that have helped students. Key to the success of the program is the planning time the teachers are given each six weeks. ALAS teachers take the Round Rock ISD aligned curriculum scope and sequence and realign it so that topics are cross-curricular. STAAR preparation is embedded into the activities to ensure that common vocabulary is spiraled across subject areas and support students with academic language acquisition. Students are often given choice in how they present their knowledge. This allows students to be creative and reflects their personality and skills in other areas such as speaking, acting, music and art. When you walk into an ALAS classroom it is evident that collaboration and student learning is taking place. The students are supportive of each other and their teachers. The ALAS team also exposes students to field experiences outside the classroom. Students are given opportunities to design and create during Maker-Space activities in the library.
Congratulations to the ALAS team for their successful presentation and for making a difference in the education of our English Language Learners.