Language Policy

  • Introduction

    International Baccalaureate (IB) World schools are required to create a written Language Policy. The purpose of this document is to inform teaching and learning in the classroom, to guide curriculum and to involve families in our goal to educate children in an internationally-minded environment. This document outlines the philosophy and practice of language instruction at Vernon School and demonstrates how Vernon supports students' acquisition of our language of instruction (English), our World Language (Spanish). It also shows how Vernon School supports continued use of a student's mother tongue (the language spoken at home).


    All teachers are language teachers.

    Language is a primary means of learning and communicating.

    Language acquisition is to be promoted as a partnership between all members of our community including parents, students, teachers and staff.

    Mother tongue languages help form cultural and personal identity and should be respected.

    The shared experience of learning a language creates cohesion among students from diverse backgrounds and promotes international-mindedness.

    Learning world languages is an integral part of becoming a global citizen.

    Language Profile:

    Vernon has a population of approximately 600 students. Nearly 30 have a Mother Tongue other than English. Languages spoken by students at school include Spanish, Thai, Tongan, Mai Mai, Arabic, Vietnamese and Swahili. 


    All Vernon teachers, staff, parents and students work to:

    •   Enable students to learn and use language confidently in a variety of contexts.
    •   Increase students' powers of written and oral communication through intentional assessment.
    •   Promote student understanding and enjoyment of literature.
    •   Allow students to explore different perspectives through language.
    •   Encourage students to have fun and express themselves through language.


    Support of Mother Tongue Languages

    District bulletins, websites and other publications are available in Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese.

    The school has access via telephone to translators in all of the languages mentioned above.

    Building communications are translated in-house into Spanish, our most common Mother Tongue aside from English.

    The library includes materials that support continued use of the mother tongue.

    Support of the Language of Instruction

    English is the Language of Instruction at Vernon School.

    Vernon School will support students with Limited English Proficiency in language acquisition in the following ways:

    • Small group instruction with a Highly Qualified English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher.
    • Push-in support during Literacy Classes
    • Yearly assessment beginning in Kindergarten using the Oregon State English Language Proficiency Assessment to monitor language development progress.
    • Sheltered Instruction in all classes to scaffold the acquisition of vocabulary and concepts central to learning by providing visual cues, collaborative learning experiences, and consistent assessment of prior knowledge.

    Vernon School will support all students in language acquisition in the following ways:

    • Implementing reading and writing strategies across the curriculum.
    • Selecting and providing access to literature from a variety of cultural backgrounds from all over the world.
    • Providing multiple opportunities at all levels of instruction for students to write in a variety of genres.
    • Allowing students ample choice in their reading materials and encouraging reading for enjoyment.
    • Providing differentiated instruction for students with special needs, including students with learning disabilities and students who are academically talented and gifted (TAG).
    • Assessing students formally and informally in the classroom using check-ins, writing prompts, reading comprehension checks, reading skills assessments, speeches, and essays.
    • Participating in the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills for Reading each year.


    Support of Vernon's Adopted Second Languages 

    Vernon's chosen second language is Spanish taught by a highly qualified certified teacher grades 1-8.

    All MYP students receive at least 50 hours of instruction in Spanish per the IB requirements for the MYP. 

    In 8th grade, all students complete Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency to assess their progress in second-language acquisition.


    Ongoing Review of the Language Policy

    This policy will be formally reviewed yearly by Vernon staff and revised as needed to adapt to changing best practices and the needs of our learning community.

    This policy is available to all stakeholders in the Vernon Learning Community, and the school leadership welcomes comments and recommendations at any time.