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  • About the Program

    As U.S. borders become more fluid, the ethnic make-up of American public schools changes. This year the number of Limited English Proficient learners in Virginia schools surpassed 30, 000. This does not account for students who are bilingual or no longer considered “limited” in English skills. As a result of this influx into Virginia public schools, methods of teaching and assessing children have changed. Burton Center provides a safe, stress-free environment for newcomers at the secondary level to receive instruction in basic English using academic content as the basis for learning.  In ESL class, students learn English as they are introduced to appropriate grade- and subject-level material in Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. In High School English 9, content area matter is taught using shorter texts so students can receive high school credit for this course. Currently, Roanoke County Schools serves Limited English students from 27 nations.

    ESL- The program provides students who are English Learners (EL) with extensive instruction in reading, writing, and speaking. The purposes of the program are to help students obtain rapid proficiency in English in order to make satisfactory achievement in the regular school programs and to provide instruction which satisfies cultural, as well as linguistic, needs of students with limited English proficiency.

    English 9 for ELs- English 9 for English Language Learners is a high school English course that fulfills a graduation requirement in English/Language Arts. Students will be responsible for demonstrating proficiency in the 8 state standards for course completion. The course uses modified texts and assessments as well as instruction.

  • Instructor

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    Margaret Whitt

    Started at BCAT in 2012

    Teaching since 1988

    BA in English, Russian

    MA ESL


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    Abigail Ferrell

    Started at BCAT in 2022


    Ann Shepherd

    Started at BCAT in 2023



  • Program Objectives

    Clear understanding of the culture of American schools and associated academic language


    Increased English proficiency in 4 domains: Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing

    Development of content language in 4 areas: Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies


    English 9 for ELs - successful completion of English 9 SOLs