Middle School Students Study English During Summer Vacation

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


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“They say you have to learn to walk before you can learn to run. And before you know it, you guys will be sprinting,” Kestlie Morelus told middle school students graduating from the EXCELL Program (Educational Excellence for English Language Learners) at UNH Manchester in August 2012. Morelus, whose native language is Creole, encouraged the students to keep learning and to push themselves academically. Morelus is a student in the college’s biological sciences program and pursuing a career in pharmacy.

The middle school students were enrolled in UNH Manchester’s EXCELL Program, an intensive five-week summer program that helps students who are speakers of other languages improve their academic English skills and introduces them to US college culture. Teachers included Wendy Perron, Kim Kelly, and UNH graduate student Beau Watschke.

Perron said it was an honor for all of the teachers who were able to work with the students. “They were a polite and hardworking group, who really grew using this Science-based hands-on approach. Their science content knowledge and academic language skills were encouraged to develop simultaneously with this program, which is so important to the academic success of English language learners.”

Established in 2004, the program offers intensive English instruction and college planning support to a group of fifteen selected students, ages 12-14, from Manchester middle schools. The curriculum focuses on language and science and includes laboratory experiments, computer research, and field trips to the UNH Cooperative Extension and the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point.

This year’s summer EXCELL program was funded by a grant from the Norwin S. and Elizabeth N. Bean Foundation, with additional support from UNH Manchester, the New Hampshire College and University Council, the English Language Learning and Teaching Professional Development Cooperative of New Hampshire (ELL Co-op), and the UNH Provost's Office.