English Language Learners
Who we Are
The English Learner Education program has existed in its current form since 2006.  That year, we served 196 students in the nine schools, with a staff of eight licensed ESL teachers. Today, we have over 375 students, an instructional staff of 13, along with department support. 

While our commitment to students is as strong as it has always been, our requirements have changed dramatically.  The district’s mission to ensure that all students learn and achieve academic success has meant that ESL teachers are integral to the process of reaching students who are struggling or who are at risk. Today, although many of our students excel in their classrooms, we must ensure that struggling students succeed, as well.  District resources allow us to assess for academic progress and collaborate to provide targeted intervention, with the expectation that all English learners will reach the same high standards as their English-speaking counterparts.

To this end, we give screening assessments, participate on data teams, on student support teams, consult with teachers, act as liaison for new families, assist with the identification of students who may require special education, arrange for translators…all in addition to teaching children to speak English!

With the steadfast support of the district, our students are exposed to rigorous, researched-based instruction, using a wide variety of content materials, enabling students to learn the academic language structures that are so vital to success in the classroom by focusing on academic language and writing (as outlined in the WIDA standards and in the Common Core).    To enhance our instruction, we make extensive use of technology, both in our instruction and for student learning, to support the development of the 21st century skills, ensuring that the children perform at the highest levels academically.

Our teachers are dedicated professionals who are expert in the language acquisition and acculturation process, who continuously expand their knowledge and hone their practice by participating in countless courses, workshops, and conferences.  Even as they attain impressive results in the classroom and gratitude from the parents of our students, they continually strive for improvement. They are at the heart of what makes this department so well regarded.

About the Program
The English learner education program educates more than 350 students in all nine of Lexington's public schools, representing 5.6% of our student population. Over 21% of Lexington's students come from homes where the primary language is not English.  This diverse population is an important part of our community and our schools.

Students in the program, speaking over 45 languages, typically receive daily English as a second language (ESL) instruction from certified teachers, in addition to sheltered English instruction (SEI) in their content classrooms from teachers who have had training in teaching second language learners.

Students in the English learner program are provided with instruction that stresses academic language, in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  Department staff work closely with classroom and content teachers to "shelter" content instruction, that is, provide instruction in a way that makes it more comprehensible to the student, who must learn the subject content while learning English.  To this end, our English instruction is taught using grade-level subject matter materials, in an effort to expand the students knowledge base in English.

Since students come to our schools with varying levels of English proficiency, and with different language aptitudes, the time spent in the program varies.  Most students are classified as proficient in English in under three years, although research shows that achieving academic language proficiency can take five to seven years.  Before exiting a student from the program, we make every effort to ensure the student's success in the classroom, and consider many sources of student achievement in making the decision.

Lexington is fortunate to have a wide array of resources to meet the needs of our students and their families.  We are building libraries in each of the schools that assist students in their classes, consisting of native-language novels, non-fiction books written about topics taught in science or social studies, and books on tape.   We use a variety of technology to help students develop the 21st century skills they will require in today's global society.

For more information, you are invited to contact the English as a Second Language teacher at your school, or me, at the number listed below.

Coordinator - Robyn Dowling-Grant, Ed.M.
Central Office
146 Maple Street
Lexington, MA  02420
(781) 861-2580, ext. 238

ESL Instructional Staff

Deirdre Schadler - Bridge Elementary School  
phone: (781) 861-2510
email: dschadler@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us

Yuiko Shimazu - Bridge Elementary School
phone: (781) 861-2510
email: yshimazu@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us

Elsa Mendez-Khawja - Bowman Elementary School
phone: (781) 861-2500
    email: emendezkhawja@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us

Katherine Gerlich - Bowman Elementary School
Phone:  (781) 861-2500
email:  kgerlich@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us

Laura Davidian - Clarke Middle School
phone: (781) 861-2450
email: ldavidian@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us

Carolyn Hine - Estabrook Elementary School
phone: (781) 861-2520
email: chine@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us

 AnneMarie Roche - Estabrook Elementary School
phone: (781) 861-2520
email: aroche@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us

Lonamae Shand - Diamond Middle School
phone: (781) 861-2460
email: lshand@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us

Catherine Murphy - Fiske Elementary School
phone: (781) 541-5001
 email: camurphy@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us
Mona Bouhafs - Fiske Elementary School
phone: (781) 541-5001
email: mbouhafs@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us
Marilyn Friedman - Harrington Elementary School
phone: (781) 860-0012
    email: mfriedman@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us

Cecilia Franzel - Hastings Elementary School
phone: (781) 860-5800
email: cfranzel@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us

Barbara Adolph - Lexington High School
phone: (781) 861-2320
    email: badolph@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us

English Learner Education Office  (781) 861-2580, ext. 238
- Department Secretary