English Language Arts Department K-12

At Shen, our ELA curriculum is based on the the New York State Standards. ELA or English Language Arts encompasses reading, writing, listening, and speaking. These skills are the foundation for learning for all students in all disciplines. At Shen, we are committed to and strive for excellence in ELA for all students.

The standards are robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills needed for success in college and careers.

Research Curriculum Gr. 6-12

The English Language Arts standards encompass the following strands:

  • Reading Literature
  • Reading Informational Text
  • Foundational skills (K-5 only)
  • Writing
  • Language
  • Speaking and Listening

 

NYS Assessments

New York State Assessments are being aligned with the Common Core Learning Standards this year for the first time. As school districts have already begun instituting Common Core instruction in their classrooms, sample common core questions were developed to assist in the understanding of the increased rigor required by these standards.

All students in grades 3 through 8 are required to take the NYS assessment in ELA to identify students who are not meeting the state standards and provide those students with the help they need to be on grade level. These are typically given in April.

NYS English Regents Exam is typically taken in gr. 11. For a Regents diploma, students must achieve a minimum of a 65 on this exam.

Elementary School ELA and Literacy

At Shen, the Language Arts—Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening are a major part of our elementary program. Students are expected to master more complex material in these areas as they progress through the grades.

Our elementary ELA curriculum is based on the New York State ELA Standards:

  • Standard 1 – Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding.
  • Standard 2 – Students will read, write, listen, and speak for literary response and expression.
  • Standard 3 – Students will read, write, listen, and speak for critical analysis and evaluation.
  • Standard 4 – Students will read, write, listen, and speak for social interaction.

In elementary school, students are given the Fountas and Pinnell reading assessment in grades 3-5 to evaluate reading and comprehension ability and to determine each child’s instructional needs. Every student is assessed at the beginning and end of the school year. Additionally, students receiving AIS or Special Education services are assessed mid-year. The assessment helps teachers to group students for instruction, select texts best suited to a child’s needs, identify students who need intervention, and document progress over time.

Students who demonstrate higher abilities in ELA are challenged through enrichment options. In gr. 4 and 5, the district has an enrichment program called QUEST. 

Middle School ELA

At Shen, our middle school ELA curriculum is based on the the New York State ELA Standards and we are in the process of aligning our instruction with the Common Core Standards.

In middle school, students are given the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) assessment. SRI is a research-based, computer-adaptive reading assessment program for students in  that measures reading comprehension. It is aligned to state tests and it provides the ability to administer fast and reliable assessment to inform instruction and make accurate placement recommendations.

  • Grade 6 is tested in the Fall.
  • Grade 8 is tested in the Spring.

Students demonstrating a high ability in ELA are challenged through a wide range of honors, enrichment and acceleration options. In gr. 6, there is an enrichment program called Critical Inquiry. Beginning in grade 7, there is an honors level for ELA. Middle school students can be evaluated for possible acceleration in ELA beginning in Grade 7.

 

High School ELA

Shenendehowa High School offers a variety of courses and sequences for ELA to challenge students’ within their abilities. We provide a strong foundation for students so they are well prepared for college and/or a career.

At the high school, students are challenged in ELA through a wide range of honors, acceleration and Advanced Placement courses.

In high school, students are given the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) assessment SRI is a research-based, computer-adaptive reading assessment program for students in  that measures reading comprehension. It is aligned to state tests and it provides the ability to administer fast and reliable assessment to inform instruction and make accurate placement recommendations.

  • The SRI is administered to 9th and 10th graders in the fall and spring.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate with a Regents/Advanced Regents diploma, students must take and pass four units (year-long course) of English.

In order to graduate with a Regents/Advanced Regents diploma, students achieve a minimum score of 65 on the English Regents Exam.

 

Students struggling in ELA

For learners struggling with grade level expectations, the district uses a Response-to-Intervention process that matches instructional interventions to students’ specific skill deficits. Progress is closely monitored and changes in instruction are based on data collected from on-going assessment. Academic Intervention Services (AIS) are provided to any student who does not meet or is in jeopardy of not meeting the state standards. Students are identified for AIS in ELA based on several points of data which include but are not limited to their performance on the gr. 3-8 state exams, standardized assessments and locally developed assessments. 

 

Textbooks

  • www.classzone.com  
  • There are access codes to view the full version of the textbook that the students must get from their teacher.

 

Summer Reading Lists

Summer reading lists are compiled by Shenendehowa’s students, English teachers and Library Media Specialists. The utmost care has been taken to prepare lists with a large variety of books appropriate for high school students, but parents are urged to review the titles with their children and make choices as a family.

At the high school, students will be asked to read two books over the summer. This is strongly recommended because literacy research tells us that all students benefit if they continue to read throughout the summer. The English Department will post a list of suggested titles for each grade level on the Shenendehowa web site. Lists will also be available from teachers and at the local library. Some courses will have specific assignments: most Honors courses, World Culture and World Literature H, and AP English may issue books to students prior to the end of the school year.

At the middle school, summer reading is required.The requirement is different for regular, honors, Quest, Critical Inquiry and Acceleration. A letter is sent home to students in grades 6-8 with a list of recommended titles. It will also be posted on this web page.

At the elementary school, summer reading is not mandatory but strongly encouraged. The summer reading list provides reading recommendations from the librarians and activities to improve reading skills.