English as a Second Language
We proudly welcome qualified international and limited-English speakers and offer them the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the school community. The ESL (English as a Second Language) program is designed to meet the needs of non-native speakers of English for participation in our mainstream academic curriculum and school activities. As an important part of a successful transition to life in the United States, the ultimate goal of the ESL program is to prepare students for further study and success in English language universities.
Celebrating linguistic diversity and a multicultural student body, our ESL program provides special support for English Language Learners in a small, close-knit environment with much personal attention. Daily, intensive language instruction by a qualified ESL teacher is provided during the regular school day, and also in optional after-school tutorial sessions. Our ESL program assists in the adjustment process as students become accustomed to life in the United States. Whether students are living with their own family, or a host family, guidance and support in student/school/family communication in academic and cultural adjustment is a central focus.
Students are generally required to spend two years in ESL class. This immersion instruction in academic language, grammar, and social communication is structured around the four skill areas: listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Classes are small, and meet one period per day. Courses are taught using a functional approach, and students are assessed according to the standards of the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Students follow the mainstream curriculum for all other courses.
In addition to developing their skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking, students learn other skills that will benefit them in all their courses, such as understanding the honor code, using the student portal of the school’s website for syllabi and homework assignments, and online library resources.
Savannah Country Day School provides a wide range of sports, arts, clubs and activities in addition to its rigorous academic program. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in some of the many available options in order to integrate fully into the life of the school. We recognize that this can be a large time commitment, and students should keep this in mind when considering the school.
Before and during Orientation, new international students take placement tests in English and Math, which are designed to determine the appropriate sequence of classes.
Students accepted into the SCDS Lower School may enter at the novice level in English language, however they may be pulled-out for individual or small group instruction in English, following the mainstream curriculum the rest of the day.
It is recommended that Middle School students have had experience in English before entering SCDS.
Students enrolled in Upper School must be at least in the intermediate range to comfortably manage the rigorous curriculum in mainstream classes.
Upper School Academic Information for ESL Students
The choice of a one-semester period of pass/fail assessment is afforded ESL students upon enrollment at SCDS. In these cases, students receive their grades, but grade percentages are not calculated for Grade Point Average (GPA) until after the first semester is completed.
SCDS requires three years of a world language for graduation. While ESL classes are given credit toward graduation in student support, ESL classes are not counted toward the three-year world language requirement. English Language Learners may have all or part of the world language requirement waived on a case-by-case basis when the administration deems it appropriate/necessary.
English language learners are encouraged to use dictionaries or electronic translators as needed to facilitate access to the curriculum. In addition, ESL Students are granted additional time on quizzes, tests, and exams as needed.