English Language Learner

Who is an English Language Learner?

​English Language Learners (ELL) are students whose first language is a language other than English.  This includes a variety of English that is significantly different from the language of instruction in Ontario's schools. 

The students may be Canadian-born or may have come from other countries. They have diverse backgrounds and school experiences with a variety of strengths and needs. Educational supports are provided to help students improve their English skills.

Registration and Assessment

If you are new to Renfrew County and enrolling your child, you will need to register your child at your home school.  As well, it will be important to connect with the school Principal to discuss your child’s ELL needs and provide any supporting documentation.

Examples may include: 

  • Report cards, school records if available

  • Prior Learning Equivalency Credits for credit-granting purposes (for example, international language credits for first language proficiency).

Once your child has started school, an initial assessment will take place to determine their level of English language proficiency as well as math level in order to provide the appropriate type of language support in school.

The assessment includes an interview and task completion for:

  • listening and speaking skills

  • reading understanding

  • writing skills

  • math knowledge and skills 

Programs and Services

Elementary Schools (Kindergarten -Grade 8)  

ELL teacher support is available in all RCDSB elementary schools.  English Language Learner (ELL) students attend their home school and a qualified ELL teacher works with the classroom teacher to adapt programs for the student and provides regularly scheduled individual assistance as needed.

Secondary Schools  (Grade 9-12)

The ELL program is a whole school approach where ELL students attend their home school full time and teachers collaborate to accommodate or modify their program.  A qualified ELL teacher provides regularly scheduled individual assistance as needed.

STEP Program

RCDSB follows the Steps to English Proficiency (STEP) framework for assessing and monitoring the language acquisition and literacy development of English language learners across The Ontario Curriculum.


Helpful Resources:

The Ministry of Education provides important informatio​n for parents in many languages.  ​

www.settlement.org - This site contains translated factsheets for families about settling in Ontario on the topics of Immigration and Citizenship, Housing, Health, Employment, Education, Community, Legal Services, and Daily Life. The site contains a number of helpful videos for families translated in multiple languages.

For further information, please contact your home school.

English as a Second Language 

The Renfrew County District School Board (RCDSB) offers programs to assist adult newcomers to Canada. English as a Second Language (ESL) programs are offered with certified ESL instructors through Continuing and Community Education. The program locations vary depending on the community's needs. We have offered courses in Deep River and Pembroke. ESL programs are free for many people, and we take registrations for any date.

International Language Program 

The RCDSB also offers an after school international language program for elementary students. This is a free program for school-age children from Kindergarten to Grade 8. The program runs after school for 2.5 hours per week. Program offerings, dates and times are based on sufficient registrants.  Currently, a program for Mandarin operates at Mackenzie Community School.

Contact (Main Office)

Continuing and Community Education Office

P: 613-732-8740

To participate in English Language Training, you must first have your English language level tested to determine which course would best suit your needs.  Contact our office to arrange such a test with the Assessment Centre.