English Language Learners (ELL)

North Kansas City Schools currently serves 1,222 students, grades K-12, in the ELL Program, with 872 elementary students, 166 middle school students, and 184 high school students receiving ELL services. Many different nationalities and languages are represented, with 110 different languages being spoken by these students. Top languages are Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Somali, Pohnpeian and Karen.

At the elementary level, services are provided in most students’ home schools and focus on developing language through integrated reading, writing, listening, and speaking instruction by English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) certified teachers. ELL paraprofessionals provide additional support to assist students with acquiring language and content. ELL teachers follow the district’s Balanced Literacy Units of Study for Readers and Writers Workshop, either pushing in to grade level classrooms for in-class support or pulling students out for more intensive support as needed.  

The District offers before- or after-school tutoring at ten elementary schools with high ELL populations. Tutoring consists of 40 minutes per day, three or four days a week, utilizing Imagine Learning, a research-based language and literacy software program. Imagine Learning is also used as a strategic intervention to provide additional support to those students who need it during the school day.

Additionally the District offers a seven-week extended summer learning program to students at the lowest levels of language proficiency. This program has proven very effective in combatting summer language and literacy loss for these students during the summer.


At the secondary level, the ELL instructional model is site-based with most students being served in their home schools. Students new to the United States or with limited formal schooling receive their instruction in intensive Newcomer/Beginner programs at Maple Park Middle School and North Kansas City High School. ELL paraprofessionals provide support to individual students or small groups of ELLs in the ELL resource room or in the general education classroom, often providing reinforcement of concepts and vocabulary from students’ content courses.

ELL instructional services in grades 6-12 focus on developing language through integrated reading, writing, listening and speaking instruction by ESOL certified teachers utilizing Pearson-Longman's "Keystone" or Scholastic’s “English 3D”, a program developed specifically for the needs of long-term English learners. Intermediate and advanced ELL students are scheduled for at least one block per day for language instruction during their English Language Arts (ELA) block.  ELL Flex or Advisory classes provide High School ELLs with additional support for their content area studies.

Newcomers and Beginners receive more intensive instruction in English language development each day, utilizing Keystone Keys to Learning or Building Bridges for ELA and sheltered content instruction in math, science and social studies via dual-certified teachers. One high school utilizes Scholastic’s Read 180, which provides additional language and literacy support to students at lower literacy levels.  

After-school tutoring and summer school opportunities are also available for secondary ELLs.

For more information about English Language Learners in NKC Schools, contact Coordinator Laura Lukens, (816) 321-5590.


© 2014 North Kansas City Schools       2000 NE 46th Street       Kansas City, Missouri 64116-2042       P: (816) 321-5000      F:  (816) 321-5001

Nationally & State Accredited

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