World Languages Department » World Languages and ELL Services

World Languages and ELL Services

Our approach to World Language instruction is firmly rooted in the evidence based principle that children acquire second languages much more quickly than adults.  Early exposure to foreign language instruction can have many benefits. 

According to the New Jersey Department of Education, “New Jersey citizens are part of a dynamic, interconnected, and technologically driven global society centered on the creation and communication of knowledge and ideas across geographical, cultural, and linguistic borders.” 

Our District shares in the belief that “an education in world languages fosters a population that:

  • Communicates in more than one language with the levels of language proficiency that are required to function in a variety of occupations and careers in the contemporary workplace.
  • Exhibits attitudes, values, and skills that indicate a positive disposition and understanding of cultural differences and that enhance cross-cultural communication.
  • Values language learning as a global literacy as well as for its long-term worth in fostering personal, work-related, and/or financial success in our increasingly interconnected world.  (NJDOE) 

Our Elementary Spanish and French language program is intended to create positive attitudes toward the culture of study, improve linguistic proficiency, and prepare students for more rigorous language study in middle and high school.  Students with the capacity to speak multiple languages develop global literacy and possess a highly marketable skill set that can be useful in any professional pathway in the future. 


World Language Program of Study


Upon entering kindergarten, and through third grade, students will receive French language lessons once per 6-day cycle. In fourth grade, students will transition to Spanish language study, and will participate in lessons twice per 6-day cycle. At the end of fourth grade, all students will be asked to choose either Spanish or French language studies and will remain on this track until eighth grade graduation. In fifth grade, the student participates in Spanish or French lessons twice per 6-day cycle. In sixth grade, students will participate in Spanish or French every other day. In seventh and eighth grades, the study of a language is a core content class; students participate in their selected language study every day for the full year.


Students are evaluated based on their progression in proficiency according to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines are a description of what individuals can do with language in terms of speaking, writing, listening, and reading in real-world situations in a spontaneous and non-rehearsed context. For each skill, these guidelines identify five major levels of proficiency: Distinguished, Superior, Advanced, Intermediate, and Novice. These Guidelines present the levels of proficiency as ranges, and describe what an individual can and cannot do with language at each level, regardless of where, when, or how the language was acquired.



ACTFL Levels




Spanish Program of Study


Students are encouraged to participate in the Spanish language as often as possible. Each quarter, students will be assessed in three different ways, through new vocabulary, oral language usage, and written language usage.  Students will also be encouraged to embrace new cultural experiences through exposure to various aspects of daily life, focusing on the Spanish speaking world. The expectation for student performance is at the Novice Low to Novice Mid Levels.


Novice Low: Students communicate using words and phrases that are memorized and practiced when talking about very familiar topics related to self, family, friends, school and home.


Novice Mid: Students communicate using memorized words and some phrases to talk about familiar topics related to school, home, and the community.


Spanish Flexible Grouping Model, grades 7 & 8


Seventh grade students enrolled in the study of the Spanish language at the Cranbury School are leveled in two groups. The Flexible Grouping prepares students for the expectations of the leveled classes in high school programs, and to differentiate their learning. Students will begin the year in either the novice or intermediate class based upon their performance on the two formal assessments. The flexible grouping model, which allows for students to move from one level to another during the school year, is designed to foster student progress in an immersion setting at their current level of language proficiency. Throughout the year, the student proficiency rubric will be revisited to evaluate student performance. 


Eighth grade students continue through either the novice or intermediate leveled class. Students in the intermediate level course prepare to enter the Advanced Placement track in High School.


French Program of Study


Kindergarten, First, Second and Third Grade


At Cranbury School, students have the opportunity to learn French beginning in Kindergarten.  Kindergarten, first, second and third graders participate in a 40-minute French class once a week.  These French classes are designed to foster in each child a sense of success and accomplishment essential to the development of a positive attitude toward French.  


In keeping with the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standard for World Languages, students in Kindergarten through third grade learn to use memorized words and phrases to talk about familiar topics.  Through an engaging curriculum comprised of thematic units, students develop their knowledge of French with short guided conversations, songs, repetition (with lots of visuals and miming), stories, games, and simple projects.  While Kindergarteners are not graded in French, first, second and third graders earn a participation grade each trimester.  


Fifth Grade French


After exposure to the Spanish language in fourth grade, students have the opportunity to return to French in fifth grade through eighth grade.  Fifth grade French class meets for 40 minutes twice weekly.  The curriculum is aligned to the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for World Languages at the novice-mid level.  By the end of the year, students are able to express themselves in simple sentences on very focused topics such as greetings, feelings, family and pets, and activities they like to do.  They can name the days of the week and the months of the year, and express the date and weather.  Students are able to read simple passages for information and understanding, and write in simple sentences about the various unit topics.  They build confidence in their French-speaking abilities through guided conversations with a partner, oral repetition, responding to direct questions, songs and skits.

Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Grade French


During the 2023-2024 school year, sixth graders will have French class every other day.  Seventh and eighth graders will meet daily.  The sixth and seventh grade curricula are aligned to the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for World Languages at the novice-mid level.  Classes are conducted in French, and students are expected to make every effort to communicate in French.  With a communicative approach to language learning, sixth graders learn to use memorized words and phrases to express themselves in simple sentences in the present tense.  They ask and answer simple questions on very focused topics such as the date, time, weather, family, and daily activities.  Through thematic units, students explore some Francophone countries, as well as the regions of France.  They learn about French café culture, and learn to read authentic text for information.  


With their expanding vocabulary and grammar foundation, seventh grade French students learn to express themselves in simple sentences using the present and near future tenses.  They learn to ask and answer questions, describe people, places and things, give and follow directions, and understand authentic text.  They continue to learn about French culture, including a study of Paris and its important landmarks.


The eighth grade curriculum is aligned to the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for World Languages at the novice-high level.  The class is conducted in French, and students are expected to speak French exclusively during class.  Students engage in conversations


English Language Learners


The Cranbury School District welcomes all families and students whose native language is not English. Making students feel welcome in the classroom, while increasing their English language proficiency, are the prioritized goals of our ELL program. It is our belief that our English language learners contribute immeasurably to the fabric and culture of our school community. Our mission is to “offer every student an opportunity to shine” in a diverse setting in which we celebrate the many home languages and cultures of our families. 


When a family registers in our District, they will complete the Home Language Survey to identify the students’ home language, which determines the students’ potential eligibility for ESL services.  Previous WIDA scores are also considered during the process of determining eligibility. 


Our program is designed to be responsive to your child’s individual language support needs. In addition to the results of the national language proficiency test for English Language Learners (WIDA)*, the previous classroom teacher’s input is considered.  We offer two models within the program: 1- specialized English language instruction in a small group setting, 2- classroom support within the regular education setting. Through ongoing communication between their general education teacher and the district's English as a Second Language teacher, we monitor their academic progress and social emotional well-being as they acquire new language proficiency. 


The *WIDA assessment provides the District with meaningful data on the students’ English language skills in the areas of speaking, reading, writing, and listening. Students are then assigned a Language Proficiency Level, based on the results of the test. The Language Proficiency Levels are as follows:


  • Level 1 - Student does not speak, understand, read or write English but may know a few isolated words.
  • Level 2 - Student understands simple sentences in English when spoken slowly, speaks one or two word utterances, but does not read or write English.
  • Level 3 - Student communicates orally in English with hesitancy, begins to read and write in English.
  • Level 4 - Student speaks and understands English without difficulty but may still be reading and writing below grade level.
  • Level 5 - Student speaks, understands, reads and writes English without difficulty and displays academic achievement comparable to English speaking peers at his/her grade level.


The District will notify parents in writing of whether or not their child qualifies for the ESL program and their child's Language Proficiency Level within the first month of the new school year, or within two weeks of their child's enrollment date (when a child enrolls mid-year).  Parents have the right to deny ESL services; however, WIDA testing is required by the state of New Jersey each school year until the student possesses the requisite English language skills to make appropriate academic progress. 


The following links provide helpful, essential information for ELL families:


General Information for ELL families 


Interpreting Your Child’s WIDA scores 


Definition of an ELL 


Subscribe to NJTESOL’s Youtube Channel designed for ELL Families 


NJTESOL's Parent Information Page


Reading Aloud to Your Child