Welcome to ISW’s ELL Department

The ELL department at ISW is designed to help and support non-native English speakers to become more comfortable and confident reading, writing, and speaking English.  All prospective students are required to take an English admissions test.  Trained teachers administer this test, and the English level placement is determined through consultation of the classroom teacher, the ELL Coordinator and the Head Principal.

Early Childhood Center

All students are integrated into the main classroom, with teachers instructing students on everyday vocabulary and the alphabet.


There are two different levels of language classes provided in elementary, and students are enrolled according to the admissions test scores.


Middle School

In middle school, content from the mainstream classroom is used to lead instruction in the ELL classroom.

High School

There is no ELL program available for high school students. Prospective students must demonstrate a mastery of reading and writing skills to be admitted.

Features of the ELL Program

Elementary ELL Phonics

  • For students with basic or no English
  • Pull-out during reading and writing in the mainstream classroom
  • Available for 1st – 3rd grade

Elementary ELL

  • For students who demonstrate mastery of phonics but need additional language support
  • Content-based: content from the mainstream classroom is used to lead instruction in the ELL classroom
  • Pull-out/push-in during reading, writing and social studies in the mainstream classroom
  • Available for 1st – 5th grade

 Middle School Support

  • Available for 6th – 8th grade
  • Pull-out/push-in classes for language arts, history and science classes
  • In place of Chinese language class, additional support is given through a one-year Foundations class that focuses on grammar, vocabulary and reading skills


Parent-Teacher Cooperation

  • At the beginning and end of each school year, students are tested in the areas of reading and writing. Parents will receive a letter home updating them on their child’s language development twice per year after testing is complete.
  • The International School of Wuxi provides resources and suggestions for helping the child at home, even if the parent does not fluently speak English. ISW expects a partnership with the family to help support their child in the ELL program.

Exiting the ELL Program:

At the end of each semester, ELL teachers, mainstream teachers and the ELL Coordinator conference to make decisions about exiting students. This is dependent on language acquisition, student attitude and teacher recommendations. If a student exits the program, the parent will be informed. The same applies for students moving from ELL Phonics to ELL Elementary classes. Parents are also free to inquire about their child’s status in regards to exiting the program.