An IB World School

Principal: Melanie Mierzwa

An IB World School

Principal: Melanie Mierzwa

Riffenburgh Language Policy

Riffenburgh Mission Statement

Riffenburgh is a caring community of inquisitive, reflective, and confident life-long learners making connections across disciplines to become global citizens who respect differences among people.


We believe at Riffenburgh Elementary we strive to create a caring language community that works to balance the receptive and expressive pieces of language through the use of connected and reflective learning.  All teachers assist in creating confident life-long learners through meaningful, well planned communication opportunities.  Through language, students are continually asked to problem solve and connect their thoughts to the larger community. Using purposeful communication, is the avenue to a more peaceful world.

Our Vision of Language Development

Through a balance of the oral, written and visual language strands, every teacher provides learning opportunities for reciprocal gains as they develop understanding in:

Receptive                        Expressive

listening                           speaking
viewing                             presenting
reading                             writing


Language of Instruction

All students at Riffenburgh are instructed in American English, using the following techniques that support their language acquisition.

• Inquiry-based learning
• Language instruction across all subject areas
• Creating a common vocabulary of learning across all contents
• Opportunities for frequent student reflection
• Scaffolding of instruction
• Differentiated instruction
• Active collaboration: peer to peer, student to teacher
• Print-rich environments
• Providing opportunities for imaginative and creative self-expression
• Design school-based professional development aligned to meet the needs of students

Language B

All students in grades K-5 receive weekly Spanish instruction.  The study of Spanish provides students an opportunity to develop cultural awareness and in turn understand the importance of learning an additional language.  Support of Language B is evident in signage, and labels throughout the building.  The Spanish Language instructor supports the units of inquiry through the collaboration with the classroom teachers.

Mother-Tongue Support

In order to maintain culture and facilitate academic progress, Riffenburgh supports the mother tongue language while helping students acquire English language skills.  The following practices support students with languages other than English at home:
• Have an English Language Acquisition representative
• Have materials in languages other than English available for check-out in our media center.
• Acknowledge absences for holiday and religious observances
• Have materials translated by school district officials in languages other than English
• Staff acknowledges and accepts customs and celebrations that are unique to the cultures of our students.
• Opportunities for the use of mother-tongue in inquiry are provided.


At Riffenburgh, assessments are based on student needs and learning styles.  Both formative and summative assessments are used to recognize student growth and individual proficiency levels. Assessment outcomes are communicated with the students and their families as well as other teachers.

The school looks at individual student growth compared to state reading and writing standards. The school’s site improvement plan, required by the state of Colorado, contains goals and strategies teachers use to address the language learning needs of students. This plan is revised annually based on the most current data from state and district testing.
District, school and state-mandated language assessments (TCAP, DRA2, MAP, STAR, STAR Early Literacy, and CogAT)* are used by teachers, parents and students to assess individual and school-wide progress related to language learning. Teachers also utilize a variety of informal language assessments in their own classrooms on a daily basis. These assessment tools are used to inform both expressive and receptive language teaching and learning practices within the school.