English as a Second Language

Through its English as a Second Language (ESL) program, Virginia Beach City Public Schools serves more than 1,700 students in grades K-12 who speak over 70 different languages. The ESL program is based on the premise that success in language is critical to success in all other curricular areas as well as future learning. English learners are prepared to be college and career ready by developing their academic English language proficiency through integrated content-based language instruction.

The school division employs ESL-endorsed teachers who provide English language services to students with limited English proficiency.

Instructional Overview


The foundation of the ESL program is the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) English Language Development (ELD) Standards coupled with the school division’s curricular objectives in science at the elementary level, in English at the middle school level, and in student-selected content areas at the high school level. ESL instruction incorporates a variety of strategies, techniques and activities designed to provide meaningful practice with the WIDA ELD Standards.

The ESL program integrates the communicative skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing into all instruction. This integrated instruction is achieved through a focus on content and thematic units emphasizing the different levels of English language development (ELD).

ESL Services


The school division is committed to supporting ESL program students and staff with the following services:

  • Advocate for services and instructional access for English learners
  • Foster learning environments that value and build on students’ diverse academic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds
  • Assess English learners’ language proficiency
  • Develop academic language and communication skills in English speaking, listening, reading and writing
  • Utilize instructional strategies and resources to foster English learners’ abilities to collaborate and articulate higher level thinking, critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Deliver researched-based best practice instruction and assessment for English learners
  • Promote the active participation of English learners in their school communities
  • Support English learners’ access to specialized programs and academies
  • Provide professional learning opportunities for teachers of English learners

Contact Information


For more information about the school division’s ESL program, please contact the Department of Teaching and Learning at 757.263.1070 or email Kathleen Cahoon-Newchok.