English Language Learners (ELL)

English Language Learning (ELL) Department General Information 

Centennial High School 

ELL Learning Leader: Ms. Erica Good, emgood@cbe.ab.ca 

ELL Educational Assistant: Ms. Melani Aguinaldo, meaguinaldo@cbe.ab.ca 

Welcome to the English Language Learner (ELL)  Department at Centennial High school. About one-quarter of all CBE students are identified as English Language Learners (ELLs). Those who are learning English as an additional language must be able to do more than just talk to friends, buy things at a store, or find their way around the city. Students must understand different ideas and be able to read, write, and talk using specific academic vocabulary. This is called Academic English. The teaching of English to ELLs in an intentional, systematic way is called English Language Development. Students need academic English to finish senior high school. It is also important for college, university, or future employment.  


Upon arrival from outside of Canada, students are required to register via the Welcome Centre, where they are provided with an initial language assessment. Once placed in a school, students’ who speak a different language at home other than English and require language acquisition support are coded as English Language Learners. Generally speaking, the coding lasts for 5 years as it takes between five to seven years to develop fluency. In that time, teachers provide coded ELL students with extra support in their language acquisition across all curricular areas. 


Programming for English Language Learners is based on their ELL coding and their language assessment which results in a benchmark level. ELL English classes range from Levels 1 to 5, as per Alberta Education’s ESL Proficiency Benchmarks. Each course is a five credit, general level course, which emphasizes the integration of life skills with a study of language, media and literature. It is designed to help develop and strengthen fundamental skills in reading, writing, listening, viewing and oral communication.   

The General Learner Outcomes state that students will use spoken and written English to:

  •  gather, interpret and communicate information  
  •  establish and maintain relationships  
  •  make decisions, solve problems, and plan and carry out projects  
  •  explore, respond to and extend ideas and experiences.  

Students who take part in ELL classes will find that it is a welcoming environment with a low teacher/pupil ratio. Students receive extra time and personalized support to learn how to complete assignments.  

Many students who are enrolled in ESL classes intend on attending a postsecondary institution after graduation. ESL courses lay the foundation for building vocabulary and provide the support required for students to learn and apply new language skills.  

The ELL Department at Centennial High School has staff with specialized training that includes:

  • cultural responsiveness   
  • how to teach functions, forms, and vocabulary   
  • how to teach older students to read   
  • how to work with traumatized youth   
  • how to help students and families to access special supports and services   
  • how to access interpreters and diversity support workers   
  • understanding unique needs of complex, at risk ELLs 

If you require further information or clarification please contact us at Centennial High School. We are here to help. 

Erica Good

Learning Leader, English Language Learners and International Student Coordinator 


403-256-8140 ext. 2291

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