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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 7 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.

ESL 

ESL Level 2

The English as a Second Language (ESL) 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 ESL Level 2 using a secure placement test administered by CATS Academy Boston (new students only) or successful completion of CATS Extra course at CATS

ESL Level 3

The English as a Second Language (ESL) 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 ESL Level 3 using a secure placement test administered by CATS Academy Boston (new students only) or successful completion of the ESL Level 2 course at CATS

ESL Level 4

The English as a Second Language (ESL) 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 for ESL Level 4 using a secure placement test administered by CATS Academy Boston (new students only) or successful completion of ESL Level 3 course at CATS

ESL Level 5

The English as a Second Language (ESL) 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 the ESL Level 5 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 ESL Level 5 using a secure placement test administered by CATS Academy Boston (new students only) or successful completion of ESL Level 4 course at CATS

CATS Extra: Communication

In this course, students build language, critical thinking, and writing skills by developing their English language ability in the areas of speaking, pronunciation, listening, note-taking, reading, writing, and grammar. This class prepares students to succeed in future mainstream courses. Course content includes a range of activities that helps students feel comfortable communicating in academic and social situations. Activities include presentations and speeches, persuasive speaking and writing, storytelling, role-plays, and the study of history and culture. Lessons develop the language skills, critical thinking, and learning strategies required for academic success. Using authentic and relevant content, the course prepares students to work effectively and confidently in an academic environment. Class materials include blended learning resources from Oxford University Press and National Geographic Learning/Cengage.

CATS Extra: Academic English

CATS Extra Academic English is designed for international students at beginning comprehension levels of English who plan to take the TOEFL examination in order to study in a US college. The course includes instruction and practice in reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar, academic vocabulary, critical thinking, and idioms. Students develop language skills in reading comprehension and reading strategies, spelling ability, vocabulary expansion, the writing of various sentence types and paragraphs, and the use of appropriate grammar in real life contexts. Additionally, students become familiar with the academic writing process.  Lessons develop the language skills, critical thinking, and learning strategies required for academic success. Using authentic and relevant content, the class prepares students to work effectively and confidently in an academic environment. Class materials include blended learning resources from Oxford University Press and National Geographic Learning/Cengage.

CATS Extra: Literature 101

CATS Extra Literature 101 is an introductory literature course that utilizes ESL skills and strategies such as predicting, skimming, making inferences, and understanding text references in order to aid students in their English language acquisition. Student-centered activities incorporate speaking, listening, reading, writing, and grammar exercises throughout the course. The most frequently used literary terms are introduced, practiced, and reinforced throughout this course. As a result, students expand both their passive and active vocabulary knowledge. This enables them to retain more information, read faster, and understand and communicate more fully when they speak, listen, read, and write. In this class, students are introduced to literary terminology and literature. Often working in pairs and groups, students also demonstrate understanding of the course material by doing research, writing reports, making posters, and giving presentations. Course materials include adapted literature resources from Pearson Longman and Oxford University Press.

CATS Extra: Social Science

CATS Extra Social Science prepares students for success in a social studies program with a broad overview of world and American history. The class focuses on developing strong reading and note-taking skills, and students are asked to undertake research, write reports, and give oral presentations. Activities are designed for students in the early stages of English language acquisition and help build content knowledge, skills, and learning strategies. Instruction includes material on reading strategies, interpreting maps, timelines, charts, and graphs, as well as vocabulary-building activities and glossaries. Course materials include adapted resources from Pearson Longman and Phoenix.

“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
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Lucy LaValle

ESL Department Chair

MA, English & Spanish, Moscow State Linguistic University.

Prior to joining CATS, Lucy LaVallee worked in 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 and providing voice-over translation of CNN news. Lucy has been with CATS Academy Boston since day one. She started on the English as a Second Language program and ran the first High School Preparation Program at CATS. Lucy got her MA in English and Spanish from the Moscow State Linguistic University; she received a Fulbright-Hays award (US Department of Education) and studied linguistics at the Moscow State University (MGU).

Michael Crandall
ESL Lead Teacher
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Michael Crandall

ESL Lead Teacher

BA, Classics, UMass, Amherst
Mdiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
MEd, ESL, Boston State College UMass, Amherst.

Prior to CATS, Michael taught three levels of ESL to middle and upper school students at The Stony Brook School, an international boarding and day school on Long Island. He was also faculty adviser for the international club, assisted the admissions office in interviewing prospective international students, coached sailing and served as a dorm parent. Michael received a BA in Classics from the University of Massachusetts, an MDiv from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and an MEd in ESL from Boston State College UMass, Amherst.

Yulia Garvanovic
ESL Teacher
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Yulia Garvanovic

ESL Teacher

Glen Maheu
ESL Teacher
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Glen Maheu

ESL Teacher

BA, International Affairs & French, University of Maine.

Glenn Maheu is an ESL Teacher. After graduating from the University of Maine, Orono with a BA in International Affairs and French, Glenn served for 10 years in the Army; during his service he worked as a French, Russian, and Korean language debriefer. Glenn has also spent 10 years working within the financial services industry until he transitioned from business to education with a recent certification from Cambridge University’s CELTA program to teach English as a Second Language (ESL). In his free time, Glenn enjoys serving in a local food pantry and teaching children in his church.

Margaret McCulloch
ESL Teacher
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Margaret McCulloch

ESL Teacher

BA, English Literature & Communications, Tulane University
MA, Teaching English as a Second Language & Applied Linguistics, Iowa State University

Meg has been teaching English as a second or foreign language to students of all ages for eight years. After teaching for two years in South Korea she discovered a passion for education and returned to the US to study for a Master’s degree. She has also taught in China, Singapore and the United States. Meg enjoys helping her students achieve their language goals and making language learning fun and engaging.

Joseph McFarland
ESL Teacher
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Joseph McFarland

ESL Teacher

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.

Jeffrey Schenning
ESL Teacher
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Jeffrey Schenning

ESL Teacher

BA, English, Dickinson College
MA in Secondary Education, Towson University

Jeffrey Schenning is an ESL 5 teacher, teaching academic language and writing skills and helping to prepare international students for an English collegiate environment. Prior to joining CATS Academy, Jeff taught ESL and Literature courses at Pagoda Academy in Seoul, South Korea. He has also taught English in public schools, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Jeff received his BA in English from Dickinson College and his MA in Secondary Education from Towson University.

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