The English Language Learners department, often shortened to ELL, is built on the foundation of English-speaking levels. “We're looking at the four language domains, which are reading, writing, listening, and speaking. We wanna see their English language proficiency grow each year,” explained Jennifer Haas, a new ELL department hire.

Recently, the ELL department has had a shake-up with many teachers leaving and joining. One of the new hires is Brian Sou. Joining MHS at the start of the year, Sou had been teaching at the Salemwood elementary school in Malden for about seven years. Sou said, “I think it's time for me just to move forward, and follow my students forward as well. To just make a different transition, different impact and grow more.”

He also went on to state that the jump from Salemwood to MHS was relatively easy. “To be honest, it was not that difficult because I have a strong bond with the kids from Salemwood, so the kids already know me prior. With me being in year seven of teaching, it's been a lot easier transitioning from elementary and middle school to high school.”

When asked about the movement from her old school, Lawrence, to MHS, Haas said, “They’re both urban schools, and they're both big, but I guess a difference about the two is in Lawrence, each grade was its own academy and within that grade, you had your own principal and vice principal. So in Lawrence, I only taught seniors but here my classes are by reading level so it is mixed by grade, so I’ll have freshmen with seniors, which is very different.”

Haas also stated that “[Stephen] D'Entremont has been a wonderful help, especially this year as I get acclimated to the school. We actually teach Flex Block together. Last year, [Judy] Cummings and I had to co-teach… ESL math together briefly when a staff member left, and she was so helpful, all of them have been helpful, including [Eun] Han as well. And then my mentor was [Patrice] Duggan, who's no longer at this school.”

The ELL department’s main goal as a whole is to be as proficient as possible at helping their students graduate past each reading level. Hass said, “Generally if I have a student…we're looking at the four language domains, which are reading, writing, listening, and speaking. So, generally, each student is different."

Hass explained that "you might have a student who's really strong in writing, but then might be struggling with their reading or vice versa… We want to see their English language proficiency grow each year. A lot of times, especially at the level I teach, I teach level four, which is the highest level we have before you exit the ESL program. A lot of times students at this level plateau. They have a lot of the basic language, and now what I try to do is I'm trying to get them to… use the academic language so that they can exit the ESL program.”

The ELL department is continuing to work to provide for their students in order to ensure that they have the best opportunities to succeed.

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