Academics
Curriculum

ESL

English as a Second Language (ESL)

In a typical year, Grier welcomes students from 15 or more foreign countries. Grier has developed an intensive and comprehensive ESL program which works with other academic departments to meet the needs of those students. All students in ESL participate fully in math, science, social studies, the fine arts, physical education and extracurricular offerings available at Grier. Cross-cultural guidance is offered by the teachers as an integral part of the program.

Four levels of English are taught by ESL teachers. Listening, reading, and writing skills are emphasized at all levels. ESL students are incorporated into mainstreamed academic classes as soon as language proficiency warrants.

Courses

List of 6 items.

  • ESL I

    The purpose of this two-semester course is to help beginning learners acquire solid basic knowledge of American culture and language through the following skills: listening comprehension, reading comprehension, writing, and speaking. The focus is placed on vocabulary and grammar pertaining to everyday English. Throughout the year, the students complete additional activities with material from other books. They also watch movies which serve as a basis for discussion.
  • ESL II

    The purpose of this two-semester course is to help students become independent and competent users of the English language. The purpose of the course is to develop the students’ knowledge of American and English culture, and to develop their knowledge of the English language through the following skills: listening comprehension, reading comprehension, writing, and speaking, with an introduction to the TOEFL® test. Throughout the year, the students do additional activities with material from other books. They also watch movies which serve as a basis for discussion or a written assignment. They will also read at least three unabridged novels.
  • ESL III

    ESL III is a two-semester course designed to provide high intermediate high school students with an intensive review of the materials covered in level I and II, and to expand the language skills acquired thus far. Throughout the year, the students do additional activities with material from other books. They also watch movies which serve as a basis for discussion or a written assignment. They will also read at least three unabridged novels. A special focus will also be put on the practice of the TOEFL® test and its particular requirements.
  • ESL IV

    The ESL IV course is a two-semester course designed to provide advanced high school students with the necessary skills to function in a regular English class. Students will practice expressing their thoughts naturally and effectively. They will study from unabridged texts out of regular English high school textbooks. They will read two to three unabridged works of literature. A special focus will also be put on the practice of the TOEFL® test and its particular requirements.
  • Preparation Course for the TOEFL iBT® Test

    This course for 11-12th grades is aimed at mainstreamed international students with an TOEFL iBT® test score below 80. This course’s purpose is to develop the necessary skills to improve the students’ TOEFL® test score in all four sections of the test (reading, listening, speaking, and writing).
  • English II: English Support

    This class is designed for students who have the overall ability to function in a mainstream class, but who still have difficulties in key areas such as reading, writing, listening or speaking. The objective of this course is two-fold: provide students with remedial practice in the four targeted areas, and assist them with their daily work in their English classes.

ESL Placement Policy

Students will take a placement test and will be placed in the appropriate ESL levels.

Placement with TOEFL® Test Scores

In order for an international student to join a regular English class, the Grier School requires a score of 68/120, and a score of 17/30 in each of the four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Students whose score is 68, but who do not get at least 17 in each of the four sections can still join a regular English class; in addition, they are required to enroll in an English support class for at least one semester, or until their scores fulfill the school requirements. Students whose score is below 68 will participate in the ESL program. Since ETS does not release scores that are older than two years, Grier School does not accept scores that are older than two years.

TOEFL® Test Center Policy

Who must register
  • Seniors must take the TOEFL® test at least once during the first semester
  • Juniors must take the TOEFL® test at least once during their junior year
Considerations
  • Candidate registration based on the students’ needs.
  • Priority is given to seniors first semester and juniors second semester.
  • The school requires at least seven candidates to run and administer a test.
How to register
The sign up sheet is available two weeks before the test in Mrs. Hallanhan’s room in North Cottage. If you have never taken the TOEFL® test in the USA before, you will create a TOEFL® test profile on the computer with Mrs. Hallahan.

TOEFL® Testing Facility

The Grier School has been an accredited ETS test center for the TOEFL® test since 2007 when Marie Shaffer founded the test center. The candidates here are all exclusively Grier students. Olivia Hallahan (manager and test center administrator), Marie Shaffer (founder and test administrator), and Kim Silverman (test administrator) administer up to 16 test sessions between September and May. The test center is re-certified each year.

Familiar and reassuring testing conditions:
  • The Grier School offers the TOEFL® test to its students exclusively (no outside candidates);
  • students simply walk from their dorm to the room where the test is taking place;
  • The test center staff is composed of Grier teachers.

Faculty

List of 2 members.

  • Marie-Pierre Shaffer 

    ESL Department Chair
    International Student Orientation Program Director
    Bio
  • Olivia Hallahan 

    Teacher
    Bio
©2017  Grier School. All Rights Reserved

Grier School

2522 Grier School Rd. | P.O. Box 308 Tyrone, PA 16686-0308
Phone: 814-684-3000 | Fax: 814-684-2177