Meriden Public Schools

Bilingual and ESOL Department

Evelyn Robles-Rivas, Ph.D.  |  Supervisor of Language and Community Partnerships
22 Liberty Street  |  203-630-4192

The Bilingual and ESOL Department is responsible for the identification and assessment of language dominance and proficiency of all new students entering the Meriden Public Schools whose first language is not English.  We handle the placement, progress and exit procedures for all English Language Learners in the Meriden Public Schools.  It is our goal to provide high-quality, research-based programming and services for all our Multilingual Learners.

Transitional Bilingual Education Program Highlights:

The Bilingual Education Program (Spanish) is a mandated program from the Connecticut State Department of Education.  As the year progresses, the content area instruction flows from the native language into English.  We provide students with native language instruction aligned with our district curriculum.  In addition, the students' individual cultures are highlighted and celebrated within the instructional program.  

Qualifying students have the opportunity to participate in our program for 30 months.  Instruction is conducted in both languages, enhancing student learning in their native language while transitioning into English.  Literacy skills are developed in both languages, especially in grades K-1.

In order to get English Language Learners (ELLs) in Bilingual Education ready for mainstream classes, an accelerated English program has been implemented. More instruction in English is encouraged earlier in the school year so that the students can obtain greater exposure of the English language. The use of the native language continues to be supported in the recent arrival classroom and it is used to maintain a basic level of content comprehension.

The District-Wide Bilingual Education Program in Meriden ranges from kindergarten to grade 9 at the following schools:

  • Thomas Hooker School (K-1)
  • Hanover (2-5)
  • Lincoln Middle School (6-8)
  • Maloney High School (9)

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program Highlights:

The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program is a district-wide program implemented at six elementary schools (John Barry, Benjamin Franklin, Nathan Hale, Casimir Pulaski, Israel Putnam, and Roger Sherman), Washington Middle School, Edison Middle School, Platt and Maloney High Schools. The ESOL Program continues to support the linguistic and academic development of ELs in our district.

English Learners (ELs) who qualify for the ESOL program come from more than 30 different language backgrounds. New students in grades K-12, who qualify for the ESOL Program, enter our schools throughout the academic year. Students whose parents refused services for the mandated Bilingual Education Program are supported by ESOL services at their respective neighborhood schools. Students from foreign countries, new to the Meriden School System, arrive with limited exposure to both the American educational system and culture. 

In the Meriden Public Schools, the ESOL Program staff recognizes that:

  • The number of English Learners continues to increase annually
  • The education of English Learners is the responsibility of all teaching personnel
  • The acquisition of a second language is a challenging and complex process
  • It is important to maintain the students’ native language and validate the students’ culture to promote self esteem

All of our students need and deserve access to equitable, grade-appropriate curriculum and instruction, and it is our responsibility to provide English Learners from diverse ethnic and linguistic populations access to equitable high-quality educational opportunities.  Students will acquire a level of English proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing that will ensure mastery of the same academic performance standards expected of native English speakers.