Welcome To English Learners

  • Girl holding letter D


    On behalf of the English Learners Department, we would like to extend a warm welcome and invite you to learn about our dedicated English Learners Department staff, the commitments that guide our efforts, as well as some of the exciting things that have been taking place in our English Learner (EL) community this year.

    Meet our English Learners Department Staff

    The English Learners Department is very fortunate to have a wonderful team (see English Learners Organization Chart) that puts the best interest of students at the forefront of everything we do. Our department consists of an English Learner Department Director, Administrative Assistant, Bilingual Assessor, Content Specialists with expertise in Bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction, Newcomer Specialists, and ESL Strategists/Interventionists that provide ongoing instructional support to students, teachers, and administrators throughout Waco ISD. Our department’s Content Specialists and ESL Strategist/Interventionists support the linguistic and academic needs of ELs by working directly with students in small groups and by empowering and building the knowledge base of teachers through model lessons, coaching, and professional development. Newcomer Specialists provide targeted affective, linguistic, and academic support to ELs who are new to the United States and require accelerated academic and language instruction via a specialized curriculum and direct instruction.

    Waco ISD’s Bilingual and ESL Programs 

    Waco ISD offers the following language programs for ELs: Transitional Early-Exit Bilingual Program, Two-Way Dual Language Immersion Program, and ESL Programs (Content-Based and Pull-Out ESL Programming).

    Waco ISD’s Bilingual and Two-Way Dual Language Immersion Programs are provided at the Elementary Level and ESL programming is available at the Elementary and Secondary Levels. Moreover, our school district has a Newcomer Program with a specialized curriculum and talented staff who provide direct instruction to our students who are in need of the most intensive linguistic support. Most important, we strive to not only support students as they acquire English as a second language but also honor and welcome each student’s culture and first language as a means of transitioning to learning academic content in the English language.

    Each month the English Learners Department hosts Professional Development and Toolkits for teachers of English Learners. Meetings are data, product and action driven and most important, highlight the important work of Waco ISD’s ESL and Bilingual teachers. Ongoing teacher academies focus on the science of reading instruction, instruction of the writing process, the use of portfolios as authentic assessments in gauging the level of rigor of instruction, Sheltered Instruction, and adaptations of instructional practices to increase the literacy skills and learning outcomes of ELs. A collaborative professional learning model is used with specific literacy based professional learning topics offered throughout the school year.

    The English Learners Department also hosts monthly Toolkits in a variety of topics to increase the knowledge base of sound instructional practices and strategies for teachers of ELs.  Previous English Learner Department Toolkits have featured some of the following topics: Incorporating the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPs) into Lesson Plans, Word Walls: How to use Your Classroom Word Walls to Increase Learning and not as a Decoration, Small Group Reading Instruction and ELs: Instructional Rounds for Middle School ESL Teachers, Anchor Charts, Holistic and Graphophonic Reading Strategies for ELs, and Apps for ELs.

    We wish to extend our warmest regards to all of our wonderful teachers, students, parents and administrators and hope that you will visit our department webpage to learn more about our department and the services we provide for English Learners and their families. Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have questions or need assistance.


Grace Benson

  • Grace Benson

    Director of Bilingual and ESL Education

Contact Us

  • WISD Administration Building
    501 Franklin Avenue
    P.O. Box 27
    Waco, Texas 76703
    WISD: (254) 755-9473
    Fax: (254) 750-3919