The main goal of the English Language Arts program is to teach students English language literacy skills. These skills are primarily expressed in the ability to effectively read, write, listen and speak. Standards and objectives that describe grade-level expectations for teaching and learning these skills are found within the state of Virginia’s English Standards of Learning.
The Arlington Public Schools English Language Arts (ELA) program seeks to develop students who are strategic readers, effective writers, engaging speakers, and critical thinkers. Work on this goal begins early in kindergarten classrooms and continues in elementary school, into middle school, and all the way through high school. Upon graduating from Arlington Public Schools (APS, students who have met course requirements and passed state tests have demonstrated that they have the literacy skills necessary for success in an increasingly information-based society.
The ELA Office believes all children can learn, and that children learn best when they are recognized as individuals and appreciated for their different interests, backgrounds, and personalities. Teachers and families working together can best help students reach their academic potential.
Literacy–primarily expressed in the ability to read unfamiliar texts and to write original texts–remains at the center of the ELA K-12 program. Literacy also resides in the heart of the learning process. Without reading and writing skills, a student’s ability to enjoy success in school and in the workplace is diminished.
ELA staff members, therefore, work together with teachers, students, parents, other educators, and community members to help students develop proficient literacy skills.
In addition to teaching literacy skills, the ELA program also emphasizes the appreciation of literature. A wide variety of authors and genres are presented to students throughout the K-12 continuum. Students are taught content knowledge about significant literary eras and specific titles, as well as notable authors. Students are also taught figurative language and other literary devices that enhance and enrich the study of literature.
Furthermore, students in ELA classrooms across the grade-levels are encouraged to create their own texts in a meaningful and supportive manner so that their individual voices and perspectives might be brought to a wider audience.