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International Student Center

Dekalb County Schools


Academics at DISC

Academics at the International Student Center are based on the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) and a students' individual level of ability. Students come to us from all over the world with different levels of preparation. We carefully screen students to learn what they already know, and then place them in a program of study that will prepare them to be successful in their neighborhood school as quickly as possible. Some students are ready to leave us after a few short weeks, others stay with us up to two years. All our students have the opportunity to prepare themselves to take their place in the regular GSE curriculum - with language support - in their neighborhood schools. Students who need extra help or have learning difficulties can get the extra attention they need while still learning English with us. Students who are ready to move at a quicker pace can also do so.

Our focus is listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English. We use the core academic content to help students learn the language of instruction to accomplish that focus on instruction. Students begin by listening to the sounds and cadence of English, and soon are speaking words and short phrases. Next comes learning to read and write a language full of exceptions to the rule! Spelling and grammar present many challenges to English Language Learners, so we take the time needed to explain and practice. But we don't waste time doing what a good spell-check application can manage on a word processor! We are more interested in students' comprehension and ability to express themselves in writing than just in their ability to spell a list of words correctly.

Once students can pass a basic skills assessment in English usage, they are ready to leave us and move on to their neighborhood school and the regular classroom with language support provided by their local school ESOL teachers.