Introduction, Purpose, and Profile

In accordance with the International Baccalaureate Organization, the purpose of this document is to: 

  1. Communicate the expectations for students to acquire language growth while attending the International Baccalaureate at Bartow High School
  2. Provide guidelines by defining the language instruction policies and services offered in context with the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

The International Baccalaureate School at Bartow High School invites students from a large population of medium to small cities and rural areas in central Florida. The predominant language spoken is English, with Spanish as the second most common language. In addition, other languages spoken by students at home include Afrikaans, Arabic, Bengali, Bisaya, Cantonese, Dutch, Efik, French, Fuzhounese, German, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Hmong, Italian, Japanese, Lao, Latin, Malayalam, Mandarin (Chinese), Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Tagalog, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, and Vietnamese. Our curriculum is delivered in English, except for Language B classes, which are delivered in target languages. Languages offered as Language B are Spanish and German.

Upon admission to the 9th grade students choose a Language B and will continue in that language throughout the four-year program. 

Multiple supports are available for students whose mother tongue is not English. ESOL services are available, including periodic assessments, translation of school documents, interpreters for parents, and special English literacy classes in the Bartow High School program. Our teachers meet the ESOL endorsement requirements for their specific content areas as set by the Florida Department of Education. 

Language Philosophy

All teachers are language teachers. Language is the primary means of learning and communicating. Language acquisition is to be promoted as a partnership between all members of our community including parents, students, teachers, and staff. Learning a World Language is an integral part of becoming a global citizen. Mother tongue languages help with cultural and personal identity and should be respected.

IB at Bartow High School reflects the interests of students and our teaching community through rigorous academic programs, extracurricular activities, parent involvement, and numerous opportunities for success. As instructors, we address the importance for IB learners to become good communicators and stress the relevance of expressing their ideas in a variety of modes and in more than one language which reflects the world we live in and is an essential component of an international program.

All teachers at Bartow High are required to have 20 hours of Exceptional Student Education professional development and ESOL endorsement is required to better support all students.

Our Language B Objectives as Defined in the IB Language B Programme Resource Guide are to:

• Develop international-mindedness through the study of languages, cultures, and ideas and issues of global significance.
• Enable students to communicate in the language they have studied in a range of contexts and for a variety of purposes.
• Encourage, through the study of texts and through social interaction, an awareness and appreciation of a variety of perspectives of people from diverse cultures.
• Develop students’ understanding of the relationship between the languages and cultures with which they are familiar.
• Develop students’ awareness of the importance of language in relation to other areas of knowledge.
• Provide students, through language learning and the process of inquiry, with opportunities for intellectual engagement and the development of critical- and creative-thinking skills.
• Provide students with a basis for further study, work and leisure through the use of an additional language.
• Foster curiosity, creativity, and a lifelong enjoyment of language learning.

Teachers do this through current professional practices aimed at producing interpersonal, presentational, and interpretive proficiency. Instruction and assessment are geared to these proficiencies and IB guidelines are used for in-course assessment.

Strategies to support all teachers in their contribution to the language development of students:

Language skills are used every day in every class. English is the language of instruction except for Language B classes which are conducted primarily in the target language. Most classes require research, written assignments, and presentations. Language A is reinforced in all Language B classes by reinforcing grammatical concepts, noting cognate vocabulary, and using Language A for translation. Curriculum overlaps between subjects reinforcing vocabulary and concepts in all classes.

Support for Mother Tongue:

Our faculty recognizes and celebrates our multi-cultural, multi-linguistic backgrounds and the fact that many are already “balanced bilinguals”. During class, students are encouraged to bring in their own language experiences and cultural observations to share with all other students. This practice supports the students’ mother tongue while helping to promote a global perspective among all our students.

By attending a public high school in semi-rural Central Florida, students whose mother tongue is not English, learn or expand their knowledge of the host country, its culture, and traditions. Regional accents are heard through some of their peers and, in some cases, their instructors. For many of these students, they come and go between this truly “American” setting to their homes and their “mother tongues,” reinforcing this notion of balanced bilingualism.

Support for students who are not proficient in the language of instruction:

A variety of supports are available for students whose mother tongue is not English. ESOL services are available within the Bartow High School program including periodic assessments, translation of school documents, interpreters for parents, and special English literacy classes. An ESOL teacher is on the Bartow High School staff to oversee the language development of those students not yet at the level to participate fully in the classroom. This teacher also provides resources for staff in meeting students’ language needs.

Learning of the host country or regional language and culture:

A variety of strategies are used to engage our families who speak languages other than English in their homes. Our World Language teachers, support staff and student leaders serve as translators. This is mostly used with our Spanish-speaking families. This population has increased in our school over the past 5 years. We utilize the expertise of the learners in our community to help us communicate with our families about upcoming school events, important academic opportunities for students, and concerns about student progress in school. School documents are translated, and school phone messages are translated into Spanish. We have translation services at our school for events including Open House, Parent/Teacher Conferences, etc.

Our extra-curricular language and culture opportunities for students are abundant. Clubs are available to all Bartow High School students interested in enriching their experiences in their mother tongue or their additional languages. We aim to increase the participant’s cultural and international mindedness. These clubs included, but are not limited to Spanish, German, and Asian American.


The Language Options for Groups 1 and 2:

 Language A:

IB at Bartow High School acknowledges the importance of teaching and learning language throughout the curriculum. It is through this important tool that associations are made by students in their various subjects. Language A is limited to the English language. Students are instructed in English syntax, grammar, communication skills, and literacy in all IB classes. All students are involved in Language A learning from grades nine through twelve. This curriculum is aligned with the requirements of the Polk County Public Schools, Florida Standards, and the International Baccalaureate Language A objectives.

Language B:

Emphasis is placed on the development of the four learning modalities (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) practiced within given contexts and linked to the three modes of communication (interpersonal communication, interpretive communication, and presentational communication) as a fundamental part of the language practice. Language structures, through oral practice of grammatical forms in context and through explicit instruction, allow students to use the correct grammar via questioning and discussion.

 Reading is completed throughout the lesson using sentences, short stories, and multimedia resources on a variety of topics and magazine ads. Various exercises are completed in class as a way to achieve grammatical accuracy. These instructional resources elicit student responses such as making generalizations, giving an opinion, determining the main idea, distinguishing between fact and opinion, drawing conclusions, etc.

 Listening is constantly reinforced through different media, such as textbook-related listening activities, chapter-content videos, cultural videos (following a conversation between native speakers including colloquial expressions), oral reports, or other types of narratives.

 Speaking is utilized for students to communicate their ideas in their target language. Students are provided the opportunity to discuss in small groups and in oral presentations. Students are able to narrate, describe and explain in the past and present tenses with appropriate grammatical structures. Additionally, there are projects presented orally. Students practice timed oral activities based on general topics of conversation where they have the opportunity to express facts, ideas, and feelings in a manner that is intelligible to the specific audience. The use of the language is practiced in different situations, such as critiquing, advising, questioning, etc.

 Writing is an important part of daily instruction. Students write paragraphs and essays in accordance with their learning levels. Students write without the aid of a dictionary and participate in timed writing. The tests and quizzes assess all four language skills. A variety of modes are used in developing this skill, including narrative (personal experience); expository (essay, paper); persuasive (brochures, instructions); and formal and informal letters. These writing activities help students develop personal writing styles.

 The Language Policy is Revised and Implemented:

 Incoming students receive guidelines on the Language B policies during IB Freshman Orientation prior to enrolling in classes. IB at Bartow High School staff monitor the registration period to ensure students have not chosen a home language as their Language B. Teachers who teach different levels of the same language meet regularly to discuss current assessments and correlate those assessments with IB strands. These teachers are also given common planning periods whenever possible to facilitate planning together. The IB teachers write lesson plans which include strategies for teaching students with special learning needs. All Language B teachers have attended multiple IB trainings to learn current Diploma Program expectations. They apply this knowledge when revising the Language A or B policies.

 Each school year, the Diploma Programme Coordinator will review this policy with DP teachers and ensure that it still reflects the IB at Bartow High School language policy. Revisions approved during this review process become part of the school’s official language policy.

 Communication to Stakeholders:

  • The DP Coordinator will review the policy with any new teachers and answer questions as they arise.
  • Communication of the Language Policy is part of annual staff professional development, as part of their opening school year procedures.
  •  Students and parents are notified of the locations (school website, Constant Contact, course syllabus, Schoology, etc.) of the Language Policy during orientation.