Lynn Public Schools, Middlebury Interactive Languages Provide New Model for English Language Learners

Innovative immersion Academy gives students access to top language instruction, cultural awareness
 

Lynn, MA - Lynn Public Schools and Middlebury Interactive Languages have partnered to create the Lynn Summer English Language Academy (LYSELA), an innovative new English Language Learning (ELL) model designed to help Lynn students gain the English skills to succeed in school and careers.  The month-long day academy, held at the Lynn Vocational Technical Center, is modeled after Middlebury Interactive’s immersive world language summer academies and has been tailored for non-native English students.

Today, Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, Superintendent Catherine Latham and Middlebury Interactive’s CEO, former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift, met with students to celebrate the success of the academy at Lynn Public School headquarters.

“The LYSELA program is a shining example of what can be achieved with true, meaningful partnerships,” said Mayor Kennedy. “Thanks to the resources provided by the Executive Office of Education and Middlebury Interactive, and the expertise of our talented teachers, the students participating in this program are being given a unique opportunity that will greatly benefit them in and out of the classroom.”

LYSELA is a four-week intensive program that provides a project-based curriculum for 29 middle school students.  All of the students are early language learners, with first language backgrounds in Arabic Nepali, Spanish, and Portuguese, and most have taken less than three years of English in Lynn. 

“We are extremely pleased that our middle-school students have been given the chance to participate in this excellent program,” said Dr. Latham.  “Not only are they gaining valuable English-language skills, they are also experiencing a variety of enrichment opportunities that will serve them well as they advance in school. We are very grateful to the Executive Office of Education and Middlebury Interactive for providing the support necessary to give our students this incredible opportunity.”

LYSELA is a collaborative venture involving multiple community-based organizations, including LPS, Middlebury Interactive, Endicott College, Gordon College and Centerboard of Lynn.  Middlebury Interactive provided the theme-based curriculum for the program, extensive professional development with experts from Middlebury College, and onsite coaching for the staff involved in the program.  The program is funded via a Gateway Cities grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education.

“We have been delighted with the level of excitement for the academy among students, parents, teachers and the school district,” said Swift.  “The atmosphere for learning has been tremendous and students are gaining not only language skills but the cultural awareness to use those skills in context.  This is a very promising model and the experience in Lynn shows that summer academies like this can make a real difference in helping ELL student thrive.”

As part of the program, field trips to Fenway Park and Essex River Cruises were integrated with the curriculum, and the students had two weekend overnights at Endicott College.  The goal was to provide students with a rigorous academic curriculum but also the ability to use language in real-world situations.

Swift noted that the program has the added component of providing the parents of participating students with free access to Middlebury Interactive’s online ESL courses (which can be accessed at home, public libraries, community centers, etc.).  The goal is to not only provide parents the language skills to better compete in the economy, but to help them become more engaged in their children’s education. 

Not only are [our students] gaining valuable English-language skills, they are also experiencing a variety of enrichment opportunities that will serve them well as they advance in school.
- Catherine Latham, Superintendent for Lynn Public Schools