Model Program


Welcome to the Rockaway Borough School District's English as a second language program, a model program resource center for The New Jersey Department of Education 2004-2006. The Rockaway Borough ESL program was awarded model status because of it's exemplary practices in standards driven second language instruction and assessment. Read below to find out about innovative and creative English language teaching.


What is Real Life Language?

English as a second language students in grades K-8 climb aboard a school bus every other month to engage in authentic and meaningful experiences as they visit places of interest in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. Field trips are incorporated into the curriculum to supplement classroom instruction and to expose the students to new and different real life experiences outside of regular classroom instruction. Field trips do not end once the trip is physically over, but continue into the classroom with follow-up activities. These follow-up activities include but are not limited to writing thank you letters to places visited, downloading digital pictures renaming them and then using them in stories and presentations, creating digital essays of the trip, giving oral reports to mainstream classmates about the trip, and creating bulletin boards. Parents of ESL students are also welcome on the field trips and the trips are offered to both the parent and child at no charge.

If field trips to a place are not feasible, try electronic or virtual field trips. There are some wonderful places on the Internet that the students can visit without leaving the classroom.

All of our students, grades K-8 are invited to go on field trips free of charge. Grant money is used to cover all of the expenses. All of the field trips are planned with two other school districts. This is a nice way for students to meet new friends.

Why take ESL students on field trips?

English as a second language students often come to the United States, settle in one area, and do not venture far from the area they are comfortable with. Parents of these students usually speak only their native language. This limits their children’s exposure to the English language. ESL students also lack the experiences of their American counter parts. Field trips engage the holistic child through visual, auditory, tactile and multi-sensory experiences to promote English language learning. The field trips are specifically identified to matrix with the core curriculum areas of Science, Math, Language Arts Literacy, Social Studies, Music, and Visual Arts. By providing these experiences outside of the typical classroom setting, field trips promote hands on, real life experiences that lead to faster English language learning and better retention of the English language. Additionally, these field trips are scheduled at intervals where follow-up in class activities support and reinforce the main theme of the objective under study.

Click here to see some of the places that we have visited.


ESL Summer Enrichment


English as a second language students tend to lose their English skills over the summer. As a result, when ESL students begin the new school year they tend to lag behind their peers. Summer Enrichment for ESL students is a great way to get the English language learner ready for the beginning of the school year.

The Rockaway Borough School district offers ESL Summer Enrichment to all ESL students free of charge. The program meets everyday for two weeks. .Students are divided into grade levels and each group meets for about one and a half to two hours daily. Students experience a wide variety of activites in summer enrichment class. These would include arts and crafts, games, computer activities, internet projects, collaborative projects, theme based activities, cooking, reading, writing, and math activites. All of these activities are geared toward getting the ESL student ready for the start of the school year.


The Digital Camera


The digital camera is a wonderful technology tool to use with ESL students. Students can take pictures as well as learn how to download, rename, save, organize, and use their pictures for writing and projects. With the help of PowerPoint students can also create presentations to be shown in the mainstream class. These are some ways that the digital camera has been incorporated into our curriculum:


-Students created a bulletin board-"People and Places in Our School"-using digital pictures taken of the principal, school nurse, special area teachers, lunchroom staff, custodial staff, etc. Students then wrote what each person's job is in the school.

-We have taken the digital cameras on field trips, taken pictures, and then back in the computer lab, the students downloaded and renamed their pictures(an excellent vocabulary lesson). The pictures were then used as writing prompts.

-Students created a digital fashion show using the pictures and PowerPoint software.

-Students created digital essays of a their day at school and digital essays of things important to them.



Internet Projects


Internet or online projects are an excellent way to integrate technology as well as the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing into the ESL curriculum. Online projects can be tied in with theme-based and content-based instruction. Other ways of integrating technology in the classroom include collaborative projects, use of email for penpals, chat programs for real-time communication, web page design, reinforcement of classroom material, and English practice games and activities. Below are some organizations that offer online projects.


Community Learning Network

Global Schoolhouse



Maintstream Teacher Information


English as a second language students may spend part of the school day in the mainstream classroom, studing content area subjects with their peers. This may pose a challenge to the classroom teacher, as most ESL students are not up to the academic level of the other students. English as a second language students need modifications and accommodations in the mainstream class in order to be successful. Research has shown that many classroom teachers have not had the training that is necessary to successfully teach these students in the classroom.

The link below contains classroom teacher resources for content areas teachers that have ESL students in their classrooms.

Classroom Teacher Resources


Parental Involvement


Parents play an important part in the success of the English language learner. Getting the parents involved in their child's education is a major step to success in the classroom. Parental involvement begins as soon as the student enrolls in our district. Parents are given an ESL School Handbook that details the school procedures and practices. The handbooks are written in simple English and contain pictures to further enhance readibility. Parents are also given the address of the class web site as a resource. Public library information is also given to the parents. The library offers many services, resources, and materials that may be helpful to new residents of our town. The library information is available in both English and Spanish, and we encourage all new residents of Rockaway Borough to take visit the pubic library, obtain library cards, take advantage of their services.

In October the Rockaway Borough School District holds an ESL Family Night. All ESL families are invited to come to the school and meet the superintendent, principals, Spanish teachers, ESL teacher, and basic skills teachers who offer in-class support to the ESL students in the mainstream class. Basic school procedures are gone over as well as informing the parents on the services that their child receives. Textbooks and class material is on display as well as student work. Guest speakers are also invited to educate the parents on the services that are offered in the town and school district.

During the school year parents are given the opportunity to attend student conferences with a translator if requested. Parents are also invited on field trips to chaperone when needed. Newsletters with school news are also sent home on a weekly basis. It is our hope that by involving the parents in their child's education, ESL students will achieve success in the classroom and parents will feel comfortable with the school community.


Theme Based Learning


Theme-based instruction incorporates content or subject material and the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing into the classroom. The curriculum is orgainzed around the theme while integrating language objectives into the unit. Using themes to teach English language learners promotes automaticity, meaningful learning, intrinsic motivation and communicative competence.


The web sites below offer a wide variety of themes that would be appropriate for English language learners.



Click here to see some of the themes our English as a second language students have studied.



Please visit the Rockaway Borough School District website.