English Language Learning

What is the ELL program?

English Language Learning at Thornton Academy is comprised of four levels: ELL I (Beginning), II (Intermediate), III (Advanced), and Transitional English, a “bridge” course between ELL and mainstream English classes. Each course focuses on the core language skills of speaking, listening, writing, and reading, with increasing emphasis on academic language and conventions as the student moves through the curriculum. The objectives of ELL include facilitating international students’ acquisition and mastery of English, and preparing them for mainstream English courses at TA and post-secondary schools.

All incoming residential students whose first language is not English are given a placement test when they arrive at Thornton Academy. The results of this test inform recommendations for placement in ELL or English courses. All international students, whether enrolled in an ELL class or not can find support from a number of sources: their current English teacher, the ELL staff, and the ELL Lab, a small, guided study hall for international students new to TA.

featured class: ELL LAB

The ELL Lab is a tutored study hall with a small, intimate feel.  New international students are assigned to the ELL Lab for at least a semester to help acclimate to Thornton. The teacher provides special attention and helps guide them through some of the adjustments to a new country and school.  

reading in ELL class

ELL class makes learning English interesting. The teachers who teach this class are very friendly. You can ask them questions and they like talking with you. It is a great benefit for us. 

Jane zou '19

Golden Edge Program

Golden Edge gives students the support they need to feel at home at Thornton Academy.  We also prepare for the next part of their academic career at the same time.

Heidi Brewer, Golden Edge Coordinator

Get the edge you need to be the best.

Golden Edge, our Residential Curriculum, is designed to give residential students focused support to ensure that they are successful here at TA and have a competitive edge in the college application process. The Golden Edge Program takes place through a series of after school workshops.

  • Find academic success and increase use of the English language

  • Understand and integrate effectively into American culture

  • Participate actively as well-rounded members of the Thornton Academy community

  • Complete the college process including preparation for the SAT and TOEFL tests

ELL Faculty

Ruth Dater

Middle School ELL Teacher

Tom Griffin

Teacher/Director of ELL Programs

Alexandra LePauloue

ELL Teacher