ESL Program

Amy Parsons

At GAIS we offer an ESL program to help support students who are new to the English language. Students who qualify will be given support both in and out of the classroom to help them improve their comprehension, speaking, reading and composition skills.

The goal of the ESL program is to ensure a successful transition into their grade level English program. Our philosophy is that students learn best when learning in an authentic environment. Therefore, after developing a good foundation, students will be transitioned into the classroom, where they will continue to have support from an ESL teacher. In this way, we ensure that students maximize their learning in a rich, English language environment, while continuing to have support.

If you believe that your child needs extra support in order to be successful in the English program, please read the information below and fill out the application online. If you have further questions, you are welcome to get in touch with our ESL coordinator, Amy Parsons.

Sign-Up Procedure

Sign-Up Procedure

  • To apply for admission into the ESL program, you first fill out an online questionnaire concerning your child’s background, home language and history. This questionnaire will be sent to the ESL teacher for review.
  • Next, the ESL teacher will take your child through a standardized assessment based on the European leveling criteria (see below) in order to determine your child’s English level. Based on this assessment, the ESL teacher and the homeroom English teacher will determine how much extra support your child will need. Students with the highest needs in English will be given priority in the ESL program.
  • At the end of the admission process, the ESL teacher will contact you and set up a meeting to discuss what further action should be taken.
  • An application can be filled out online here:
    Online ESL Request Form


Students will be assessed based on the European leveling criteria. Once your child’s level is determined, an appointment will be made to inform you of the next steps that will be taken.

To see the European Leveling Criteria List please click here:

European Leveling Criteria List

Steps in the ESL Program

Steps in the ESL Program

1. Reference from English teacher or parent

2. Initial assessment by the ESL teacher

3. Parent-teacher conference

The ESL teacher will inform you about your child’s English level, the expectations and day to day procedure of the program.

4. Pullout lessons

Students will receive one or two small group ESL lessons per week to develop basic vocabulary, listening skills and conversation skills. Homework will be assigned and assessments will be given on a weekly basis.

5. Classroom Integration

As soon as students have mastered a basic level of English (B1 on the European Framework), they will be integrated into the classroom, and continue to receive ESL support within the classroom in the form of one-on-one and small groups instruction and/or differentiation. The homeroom English teacher and the ESL teacher will work closely together in order to supplement and support the student in their learning.

6. Parent Conferences 

On the school’s Parent Conference Day, the ESL teacher will be available to meet with parents in order to discuss their child’s language development.

How to help your child at home

How to help your child at home

As a parent of a student who is beginning to learn a new language, it is important to supplement their learning at home. Students have six English lessons per week at our school, and will benefit greatly from outside activities that help them to build vocabulary and conversation skills in an authentic learning environment. Below is a checklist of ideas to help you support your child.

  • An after school English class is offered at GAIS (sign up in the office)
  • Many other after school activities offered by the school are taught in English
  • Community centers around the Bay Area offer sports and activity programs for children where they can meet other English speakers.
  • Set up playdates with other English speaking students from our school.
  • Ask a children’s librarian or your child’s English teacher for book recommendations.
  • Listen to books on CD from the GAIS or public library.
  • Singing along to popular music helps children build vocabulary and improve pronunciation.
  • Watch educational films in English