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English as a Second Language

English as a Second Language

The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) currently welcomes over 800 English Language Learners (ELLs) to its elementary and secondary schools. That number is sure to grow whether through increased immigration to Eastern Ontario or through our International Education program that draws students from around the world to UCDSB schools. 

English as a Second Language (ESL)programs, as defined by the Ontario Ministry of Education, are “for students whose first language is other than English or is a variety of English significantly different from that used for instruction in Ontario schools. Students in these programs have had educational opportunities to develop age-appropriate first-language literacy skills” (English Language Learner/ESL and ELD Programs and Services: Policies and Procedures for Ontario Elementary and Secondary Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12, 2007). 

Kindergarten to Grade 12 

K-12 ELLs are supported by school staff, who assist in successful language acquisition, curriculum learning, and integration into the school community. 


The TR Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education offers adult ESL classes, LINC (Language Instruction for New Canadians), and settlement services through the Cornwall Immigrant Resource Centre (CIRC).

ESL - What is it? 

ESL (English as a Second Language) is a program intended to support English Language Learners (ELLs) as they acquire English while simultaneously meeting curriculum expectations. 

Who are English Language Learners? 

English Language Learners (ELLs) are categorized into three areas: 

  • Newcomers/New Canadians 
  • Canadian-born students whose first language is not English 
  • International students 

Common Acronyms 

ELL - English Language Learner (the student) 

ESL - English as a Second Language (a program for ELLs with no gaps in their schooling) 

ELD - English Literacy Development (a program for ELLs with limited prior schooling) 

The ESL Program in Upper Canada 

  • The UCDSB has over 800 English Language Learners 
  • There are almost 600 International Students from 35 Countries  
  • Eight of our secondary schools offer a total of 16 ESL credit courses  
  • ELL Instructors also help to support our English Language Learners in many of our schools 

Ontario Ministry of Education Vision Regarding ELL 

English Language Learners come with many assets and skills. They will: 

  • learn English at the same time as the Ontario curriculum;
  • see themselves in the learning environment; 
  • feel that their culture and language are valued; 
  • have confidence to express their opinion and know they have a voice; 
  • meet high expectations when they are involved in setting goals; and 
  • have opportunities to choose pathways that honour their strengths and interests. 

Updated January 2019

Contact Information:

Bill Loshaw
Acting Superintendent

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