English as a New Language

The Niskayuna Central School District provides a range of educational services to students who are learning English. We take pride in providing a welcoming and supportive environment as children learn the language and grow as students.

More than 25 languages are currently represented in Niskayuna’s schools and our district celebrates this diversity as one of its many assets.

ENL Department Information – Staff Listing & Additional Resources

ENL Department Mission

In order to meet the needs of all students, the English as a New Language Department:

  • Recognizes that multilingualism is an asset.
  • Develops a rigorous academic curriculum that is grade appropriate, accessible, and relevant.
  • Fosters a collaborative learning community of students, families, faculty, and staff.
  • Ensures all English Language Learners develop linguistic, cognitive, social and academic skills to prepare them to contribute to the school community and to a global society.

Eligibility and Services

 All students in grades K-12 who come from a family in which a language other than English is spoken will be screened by taking the New York State Identification Test of English Language Learners. This determines if there is a need for English as a new Language (ENL) instruction and the level of services.

Our ENL program emphasizes listening and comprehension, oral expression, and writing for literary and technical purposes. This enhances students’ ability to use English with the goal of helping them fully participate in an academic environment.

Another screening is conducted in the spring of each year when students take the New York State Assessment of English Language as a Second Language Achievement Test. This test determines continued eligibility and the level of services.

These two tests are often referred to as the NYSITELL and NYSESLAT, respectively.

NYS Testing Accommodations for English Language Learners

Students within the ENL program may be entitled to the following when testing:

  • Time extension
  • Separate location
  • Use of bilingual dictionaries and glossaries
  • Simultaneous use of English and alternative language editions for examinations other than the ELA or English Regents
  • Oral translation for lower incidence languages for examinations other than the 3-8 ELA or English Regents
  • Writing responses in the home language

Teachers or the department director can provide more information about testing accommodations.

Bilingual Volunteers

Each year, as new ELL families enter the district, they are asked if they are interested in being added to our list of bilingual volunteers. These community members translate non-confidential documents and attend social events to help ELL families. If you, or someone you know is interested in being a bilingual volunteer, please reach out to Marie Digirolamo at mdigirolamo@niskyschools.org.