English Studies Program

The English Studies Program (ESP) is designed to support English Language Learners at Gould Academy. Upon their arrival, students are assessed with the WIDA MODEL Assessment and their results are used to determine their English proficiency level and appropriate placement in mainstream humanities and English Studies courses. Small class sizes (five students per class on average) allow for individual attention to student needs. Additional academic English support is offered during evening study hall hours through the Language Center, the Writing Center, and the ESP Study Hall.

Learn more about our English Studies philosophy

English Studies Program Classes

English Studies: Integrated Humanities

Students in this year-long course are introduced to academic English as well as American history and culture. The course is taught over two periods in the academic schedule so as to create a low anxiety environment that will encourage students to participate at their own pace. Enrollment in this course will be based on a student’s overall performance on the WIDA MODEL Assessment conducted prior to the start of the school year.

Students enrolled in this course may not always be enrolled in mainstream English or history courses.

Skills Improved: Knowledge and understanding of American history, culture, and classroom expectations. Vocabulary development and communication through writing is emphasized to ensure success in subsequent mainstream English and history courses.

English Studies: Academic Reading and Writing 1

Students in this year-long course are also enrolled in mainstream humanities courses. Students will practice communication through writing and active reading strategies as they explore texts such as current news publications as well as works of fiction and nonfiction. Feedback and coaching will be provided to guide students towards improvement of specific challenge areas. Whole group lessons and activities are balanced with individual student-teacher sessions.

Skills Improved: Speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Vocabulary development and communication through writing is emphasized to ensure success in mainstream courses.

English Studies: Academic Reading and Writing 2

Students in this year-long course are also enrolled in mainstream humanities courses. Students will practice communication through writing and active reading strategies as they explore texts such as current news publications as well as longform works of fiction and nonfiction. Feedback and coaching will be provided to guide students towards improvement of specific challenge areas. Whole group lessons and activities are balanced with individual student-teacher sessions.

Skills Improved: Speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Vocabulary development and communication through writing is emphasized to ensure success in mainstream courses.

English Studies: Academic Reading and Writing 3

Students in this year-long course are also enrolled in mainstream humanities courses. Students will practice communication through writing and active reading strategies as they explore texts such as current news publications as well as longform works of fiction and nonfiction. Students will also spend time preparing for the American university application process by working on application essays and other related tasks. Whole group lessons and activities are balanced with individual student-teacher sessions.

Skills Improved: Speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Vocabulary development and communication through writing is emphasized to ensure success in mainstream courses.

TOEFL Preparation

English Language Learners enrolled in the English Studies Program are continually practicing academic English skills that are applicable to the TOEFL. They are also welcome to practice their skills in the official TOEFL lab located on campus. Students who plan to take the TOEFL are encouraged to take it more than once so as to become familiar with it and improve their scores over time. This is a great advantage to students as they have the opportunity to take this important test as often as they would like in a familiar environment without the worry of traveling to another location. English Studies Program faculty members are available to assist students with specific preparation for the TOEFL on an individualized basis.

Summer English Studies Programs

Each summer, Gould Academy offers academic English immersion camps prior to the start of the school year. These camps allow students to fully recover from international travel and be ready for the start of the school year. The Summer English Studies Program combines both academic and co-curricular activities designed to improve English proficiency levels and prepare students new to Gould Academy for the coming school year. It also fosters commitment to using English during the school day, which helps many new international students successfully transition into their new environment. New international students at Gould Academy are strongly encouraged to attend the summer camp directly preceding the start of the school year.

A student’s continued enrollment in ESP is determined at the end of each year based on a combination of factors including: the student’s grades through the first two trimesters, the student’s end-of-year WIDA MODEL Assessment score, and teacher recommendations.

English Studies Program Faculty

Ben Liff

English Studies Program Chair
B.A. University of North Florida
M.F.A. George Mason University
Fall Drama Instructor

Bio

After growing up in San Antonio, Texas, Mr. Liff spent eight years living between China–where he met his wife, Haze–and the United States. He has taught English as a Second Language in Wuhan and Kunming, China, and worked as an English Composition and Literature instructor at George Mason University. At George Mason, Mr. Liff worked with the school’s diverse student population, helping them adapt to English-based academics. At Gould Academy, he oversees the English Studies Program and Language Center, and works with students from all over the world.

Nancy Barstow

English Studies Teacher
B.A. University of New Hampshire
M.A.T. University of New Hampshire
Girls’ Junior Varsity Soccer Coach
Rugrats/Maine Adaptive Director

Bio

A New Hampshire native and Nordic skier, Ms. Barstow previously taught history at Portsmouth High School and was a Special Education teacher in Durham, New Hampshire. She loves reading and spending time with her husband, Chris, a timber framer, their son, Lucas, and their daughter, Rosie. The Barstows live in Bethel, just off-campus.