English as a Second Language (ESL)

  • ESL teacher working with two students

    It’s the mission of the English as a Second Language Department to coordinate efforts with school districts to best serve the needs of their English Learners. This is accomplished through student educational service, instruction, consultation, supervision, program compliancy and evaluation. The ESL Program has serviced districts in Allegheny County for more than 30 years. It serves children who come here from all over the world and helps school districts build the bridge that connects students' new language acquisition skills in English to what they bring culturally and linguistically from their homeland.

    Approximately 45 certified teachers are employed in the AIU K-12 ESL Program – holding an Instructional I or II Teaching certificate. All of them have obtained a Program Specialist Certification in ESL. The AIU ESL instruction is generally a pull out program, presented in English. The teachers receive specific professional development related to current research and best instructional practices in teaching non-English speaking students. They do not need to be proficient in the students' native language, but know specialized language acquisition theory and techniques for making unfamiliar language comprehensible to students.

    The goal of the AIU ESL Program is to assist each district in meeting the demands of its diverse population and to help the district and its English Learners build on the success of their first language with their newly acquired English language.

    2022 ESL Student Event Day

    The AIU recently hosted its annual ESL Student Event Day for students in grades 9-12 who are enrolled in an ESL program. This year's keynote speaker was Javier Ávila, author, professor, poet and novelist. All of his works examine the issues of language, race and social justice. Following his speech, Ávila gave autographed copies of his books to students who asked him a question during the Q & A. Students also learned about resources and youth programs available to them at local libraries and had the opportunity to sign up for library cards. Students also engaged with peers from other schools and learned  about leadership opportunities with community partner Global Minds. View the photo gallery below.