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English as a Second Language

We understand that our students arrive with differing levels of English, so we ensure that our language support is tailored to every student. From presenting at national competitions to acting and singing in front of an audience, our students are able to practice their linguistic skills throughout their daily school life. 

Be your best at:

Academic writing

Public speaking

Collaboration

  • Improve your pronuniciation skills in our Chorus elective
  • Improve your English fluency in Actors Studio
  • Perform live at CATS Cafe, our monthly music and poetry session
  • Compete alongside other American schools at DECA competitions
  • DECA Club at Bentley University
  • Debate and negotiate at Model United Nations competitions
  • Improve your public speaking as part of Student Government
  • Act in front of a live audience in our theater productions
  • Develop your presentation skills at Youth CITIES L3 Innovation Challenge
  • The L3 Innovation Challenge - a biomedical research project for high school students

Our ESL Department at CATS Academy consists of 6 highly qualified professionals who are experienced in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to international students. All ESL teachers strive to provide CATS Academy students with English language skills they need to succeed academically in an American high school as well as prepare students for further successful studies in US colleges.

ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE 

English for Communication

The English as a Second Language (ESL) English for Communication (Level 2) course is specifically designed for international students who are at a HIGH BEGINNING comprehension level of the English Language and who plan to continue with their education in a US/UK university/college, where English is the medium of instruction.  Using the latest technology, the students focus on work in vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, reading and listening comprehension, writing, and speaking. The course introduces students to American idiomatic expressions and helps them understand spelling rules. Students are introduced to new vocabulary and practice using new vocabulary in writing and speaking, while interacting in the class or working on individual or group research projects. The course also helps students to learn about and better understand American culture. The course is built on Pathways 1: Listening and Speaking and Pathways 1: Reading and Writing with an on-line workbook (Cengage). The course is based on using the latest technology and may include various individual and group activities, original streaming news, authentic audio and video materials, and publications that relate to topics covered in the textbook and reflect everyday life and cultural events in the US and worldwide. There is required reading and writing homework, including work on-line, and there are tests and quizzes in class to work on test-taking strategies. Prerequisites: Test results for English for Communication (Level 2) using a secure placement test administered by CATS Academy Boston (new students only) or successful completion of CATS Extra course at CATS.

English Grammar

The English as a Second Language (ESL) English for Grammer (Level 3) course is specifically designed for international students who are at an INTERMEDIATE comprehension level of the English Language and who plan to continue with their education in a US/UK university/college where English is the medium of instruction.  It focuses on improving and further developing students' ability in English for Academic Purposes (EAP), with the emphasis on grammar, reading, writing, speaking, listening comprehension skills, academic English vocabulary, researching, and applying those skills to students’ own subjects.  Students work on understanding spoken and written English and on developing the ability to speak and write clearly and effectively. Students learn vocabulary and presentation skills, increase writing and thinking skills developed in English, and apply critical thinking and writing skills to a variety of academic assignments, including analyzing texts. They work on grammar and academic vocabulary development. In addition, the course includes extended work on academic English and TOEFL vocabulary, pronunciation skills, conversational English, and the use of idiomatic expressions. There is required reading and writing homework, including work on-line, and there are tests and quizzes in class to work on test-taking strategies. The course is built on the Focus on Grammar (FOG) Level 3 Student Book textbook (Pearson) and an on-line application, Membean, to address students’ individual learning needs in expanding their vocabulary. It prepares students for future TOEFL examination and is based on using the latest technology. It may include various individual and group activities, original streaming news, authentic audio and video materials, and publications that relate to topics covered in the textbook and reflect everyday life and cultural events in the US and worldwide. There is required reading and writing homework, including work on-line, and there are tests and quizzes in class to work on test-taking strategies. Prerequisites: Test results for English for Grammer using a secure placement test administered by CATS Academy Boston (new students only) or successful completion of the English for Communication course at CATS.

Academic English

The English as a Second Language (ESL) Academic English (Level 4) course is specifically designed for international students who are at the HIGH INTERMEDIATE comprehension level of the English Language and who plan to continue with their education in a US/UK university/college where English is the medium of instruction. It helps students to build confidence in proper use of academic English grammar, enrich their academic English vocabulary, and practice the command of academic English.  While the main focus of the ESL Level 4 course is to work on English grammar and vocabulary, the course is also aimed at further developing and mastering students' advanced skills in English for Academic Purposes (EAP): writing, reading, speaking, listening comprehension, researching, and applying those skills to the students’ own subjects. Students continue working on understanding spoken and written English and the ability to speak and write clearly and effectively. Students acquire more sophisticated academic English vocabulary and presentation skills, improve writing and thinking skills developed in English, and apply critical thinking and writing skills to a variety of academic assignments, including analyzing complex texts. In addition, the course prepares for the TOEFL examination, includes extended work on academic English and TOEFL vocabulary, pronunciation skills, conversational English, and the use of idiomatic expressions. There is required reading and writing homework, including work on-line, and there are tests and quizzes in class to work on testing-taking strategies. The course is built on Focus on Grammar (FOG) Level 4 with My English Lab textbook (Pearson) and an on-line application, Membean, to address students’ individual learning needs in mastering their vocabulary and NoRedInk to improve grammar use. It further prepares students for future TOEFL examination and may include various individual and group activities, original streaming news, authentic audio and video materials, and publications that relate to topics in the textbook and reflect everyday life and cultural events in the US and worldwide. Prerequisites: Test results fo Academic English (Level 4) using a secure placement test administered by CATS Academy Boston (new students only) or successful completion of English Grammar course at CATS.

Writing and Research

The English as a Second Language (ESL) Writing and Research (Level 5) course is specifically designed for international students who are at an ADVANCED comprehension level of the English language and who plan in the future to continue with their education in a university or college where English is the medium of instruction. It helps students to build confidence in academic writing and master the command of academic English. While the main focus of theWriting and Research course is mastering academic writing using proper English grammar along with academic English vocabulary, the course is also aimed at developing and enhancing other skills in English for Academic Purposes (EAP): writing, reading, speaking, listening comprehension, researching skills, and applying those skills to students’ own subjects. Students master their understanding of spoken and written English and ability to speak and write clearly and effectively. Students enrich their academic vocabulary and presentation skills, increase critical thinking skills developed in English, and apply critical thinking and writing skills to a variety of academic assignments, including analyzing complex texts. In addition, the course prepares for the TOEFL examination including extended work on academic English and TOEFL vocabulary, pronunciation skills, conversational English, and the use of idiomatic expressions. There is required reading and writing homework, including work on-line, and there are tests and quizzes in class to work on test-taking strategies.  The course is built on the Elements of Success 4 (Grammar for Writing) textbook (Oxford University Press) and on-line applications, Membean to address students’ individual learning needs in mastering their vocabulary and NoRedInk to improve grammar use. The course prepares students for future TOEFL examination and may include various individual and group activities, original streaming news, authentic audio and video materials, and publications that relate to topics in the textbook and reflect everyday life and cultural events in the US and worldwide. There is required reading and writing homework, including work on-line, and there are tests and quizzes in class to work on test-taking strategies. Prerequisites: Test results for Writing and Research using a secure placement test administered by CATS Academy Boston (new students only) or successful completion of Academic English course at CATS.

“I HEARD MY COUSIN SPEAKING ENGLISH AND THOUGHT, ‘I WANT TO SPEAK LIKE HER’ SO I CAME TO THE U.S. TO IMPROVE MY ENGLISH”

Taito from Japan, class of 2018, progressed to Temple University

The Visting Committee report commends the school for the following:
The ESL program is divided up into six different levels to assist students to find the greatest success possible by meeting their needs in each academic level
The Visiting Committee was comprised of seven educators from other independent schools accredited by NEASC.

Faculty

Lucy LaValle
ESL Department Chair
llavallee@catsboston.com
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Lucy LaValle

ESL Department Chair
llavallee@catsboston.com

MA, English & Spanish, Moscow State Linguistic University.

Prior to joining CATS, Lucy LaVallee worked in numerous public and private schools, teaching intensive English language programs to school students and business executives. In addition to teaching, Lucy worked as an interpreter at various international shows, translating and interpreting for numerous businesses including providing voice-over translation of CNN news for a cable company. Lucy has been with CATS Academy Boston since day one. She started the English as a Second Language program and designed and ran the first High School Preparation Program at CATS. In addition, Lucy worked in numerous summer language programs including summer programs in Harvard University and Middlebury College, and summer STARTALK programs. Lucy got her MA in English and Spanish from the Moscow State Linguistic University where she also studies Latin and Russian. She received a Fulbright-Hays award (US Department of Education) and studied linguistics at the Moscow State University (MGU).

Ryan Daniels
ESL Teacher
rdaniels@catsboston.com
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Ryan Daniels

ESL Teacher
rdaniels@catsboston.com

Mr. Daniels grew up in the small town of Hingham, which is in the picturesque suburbs just south of Boston. He had always had a fascination with travel, history, different cultures, and languages. After graduation from high school, he attended Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy MA. Graduating in the year 2000 with a B.A. degree in History. During his studies there, he enrolled in the school’s Romanian studies program. As a result, this led to many overseas adventures. First living in Romania for half a year doing humanitarian work. Then 5 years in Hangzhou, China, teaching English as a Second Language. Upon his return to the United States, Mr. Daniels Earned is MED Degree in 2010 at Eastern Nazarene college and worked in the Global Pathways program at Northeastern University helping students with their English and study skills in preparation for university life. In 2015 he accepted a position as an ESL teacher at CATS Academy Boston and has been there ever since.

Joseph McFarland
ESL Teacher
jmcfarland@catsboston.com
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Joseph McFarland

ESL Teacher
jmcfarland@catsboston.com

BA, English, UMass Amherst. EdM, Secondary Education, Boston University

Joe McFarland works in the ESL department, developing reading, writing and TOEFL skills; including presentation skills and pronunciation practice. Prior to joining CATS Academy, Joe worked for five years overseas, teaching at language schools in Korea, China, Japan, and Russia. He taught for two years at private schools in Connecticut and for 14 years at public high schools in Massachusetts (teaching English literature, writing courses and ELL courses). His experience has included; running language departments and serving as a liaison for teacher exchange with China. Joe received his BA in English from UMass Amherst and his EdM in Secondary Education from Boston University.

Beth Purcell
ESL Teacher
bpurcell@catsboston.com
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Beth Purcell

ESL Teacher
bpurcell@catsboston.com

Beth Purcell is a ESL Teacher.

CATS Academy Boston, 2001 Washington Street, Braintree, Massachusetts, USA | +1 857 400 9700

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