Language Policy

Harrison Prep Language Policy

Middle Years Programme (MYP) Grades 6-10

Diploma Programme (DP) Grades 11-12

The Harrison Preparatory Mission and Vision state that:

Students at HP will graduate as caring, curious, confident, and college-ready young people who have respect for multiple cultures and perspectives. Teachers at HP will design standards-based challenging learning experiences enriched through technology, community partnerships and personal projects. Staff at HP will foster meaningful and personalized relationships preparing students for global citizenship.

We believe that the study of languages provides a powerful means by which one gains understanding of other cultures and that being able to speak a language indicated deep respect for that culture.

In addition, we believe strongly in preserving and developing a student’s native language, should this not be English, for three reasons:

  • Encourages a celebration of diversity and develops cross-cultural awareness and understanding
  • Enables the development of higher order cognitive thinking skills
  • Enables students who are members of small cultural subgroups within the school to better maintain and transmit cultural identity within our multicultural society.

Language Philosophy: Harrison Preparatory School recognizes that language is central to learning and that all teachers are language teachers. We are committed to providing access to all students, regardless of cultural, linguistic, and social backgrounds. We actively support the diverse families in our school community. Students learn reading strategies in all subject areas. Harrison Preparatory School hopes to learn about various cultures and languages from our own diverse population, as well as those in our local and global communities.

Language Profile: Students from our school come from a diverse background. The student population has diverse home languages including English, Korean, Spanish, German, Samoan, Tagalog, Punjabi and other languages.

Languages of Instruction

Language A: The language of the school and instruction is English. All teachers support English language literacy. The language of instruction is English for all students. Language A is taught every other day formally for 85 minutes. Language A teaching, however, is not limited to that block of time because additionally, the students engage in discussion and written assignments in other disciplines, which have incorporated language rubrics as well. Students enrolled in the Diploma Programme take English A: Literature (HL) in both years of DP.

Features of the Language A curriculum include grammar, writing mechanics and organization of content. Classes typically read works of literature as well as other texts as needed to support their Units of

Inquiry. Oral communication in English, as well as listening skills, are emphasized through individual student reports and presentations.

Above and beyond the impact the classroom teachers have on their students through direct instruction, we consider language as something taught across the board, by all teachers. It is trans-disciplinary in nature and touches upon all aspects of expression and communication. Language is a component of our assessments and is built into our practices.

Language B: Spanish is the Language B offered at Harrison Preparatory. All students in grades 6-12 are expected to study Language A English and Language B Spanish. Students learn Spanish beginning in sixth through twelfth grades. Whenever students enroll in school, they are placed in the appropriate language level, or as closely as we have available within the constraints of our master schedule. Harrison Prep offers Spanish as the world language and students in the DP are able to participate in Spanish B SL, Spanish HL, or Spanish ab initio SL. DP Spanish B placements are made with regard to the student’s ability as well as input from the student, the student’s families and teacher input when necessary.

Mother Tongue Support: We support the development of students’ mother tongue languages by encouraging multilingual students in a variety of ways: demonstrating that we value languages of origin, along with culture; acknowledging vocabulary in the mother tongue languages; offering books and magazines in multiple languages; and learning about cultures and languages in the classroom. In addition, our school district offers informational materials in multiple languages for communication with parents.

Currently, teachers make accommodations as needed for students who have limited language skills in English. There is one student who receives additional help during class time with an interpreter, but that is the exception to the rule. Usually students who need extra assistance will be pulled out during a specified time in order to be tutored in English.

English Language Learners: At Harrison, we have only a part-time ELL teacher and para-educator who meet with our students. The other portion of their time, they are working at other schools in the district. Students whose home language is other than English are assessed and the district decides if we have enough services to support them at our school. After it is determined that we meet the need, then students are given “pull-out” time with an ELL teacher.

Because of this limitation, if a student who asks to be enrolled does not have enough language skill to succeed relatively well in a mainstream classroom, s/he is asked to attend a different school that has better accommodations for ELL students.

Equity of Access: In addition to students with an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) or a 504 plan, all students have the opportunity to learn and communicate their learning in different ways.

Additional Language Study: Our goal is for all students to become proficient by grade ten in a second language. By grades nine and ten, we have students with a wide variety of background in second language study, depending especially on whether they have progressed from our middle school or have entered the school later. As a result of this fact, the school recognizes that we must be flexible in our student groupings in the MYP years and provide classroom settings that match as closely as possible the level of proficiency of the students. For example, in Spanish by grade ten, we will routinely have cohorts of students at levels II, III and IV.

Policy Review and Communication: This policy will be available to the Harrison Prep community on the school website in the IB section and individual requests for the policy can be sent to the IB Coordinator. The Harrison Prep Language Policy will be reviewed regularly by HP staff, leadership, and other relevant stakeholders in accordance with the MYP and DP Self-study process every five years. Once reviewed, the policy will be submitted to the HP Site Council for approval. It is the responsibility of the IB Coordinator to coordinate the policy review as outlined.