Thomas Edison High School (The School District of Philadelphia): Hands-on support for English Learners in the CTE classroom

Posted on Categories English Learners, Special Populations

At a Glance

At Thomas Edison High School in the School District of Philadelphia, a classroom assistant provides support to English Learners in their CTE classes.


As of the 2020-2021 school year, approximately 26 percent of students at Thomas Edison High School in the School District of Philadelphia are English Learners (291 students of the 1,114 students enrolled). For a majority of these students, Spanish is their first language.

NOCTI test data, industry credential test data and feedback from teachers, indicated that many English Learner (EL) students struggled to achieve success in their CTE programs. Prompted to respond to this performance data and by the sheer number of EL students enrolled at the school, administrators implemented additional resources and strategies that could help break down barriers to learning for EL students in CTE.

To better serve EL students directly in the classroom, the administration created a full-time classroom assistant position. Funds from the school budget are allocated for this position. School administrators and personnel from the CTE Office in the School District of Philadelphia developed the job description and responsibilities.

The assistant provides push-in support services for EL students in CTE. (Push in services are services provided inside the classroom.) The assistant typically provides support to small groups of EL students after the classroom instructor completes a lesson. The assistant might clarify directions for an assignment and support students during guided practice, independent practice or a group activity.

Thomas Edison administrators and teachers express appreciation for the additional support that can be provided to EL students by having a classroom assistant in the classroom with them. Interventions can be provided as soon as the need arises rather than after a student already has fallen behind.


Administrators and CTE instructors find the hands-on support provided to EL students by the CTE classroom assistant to be an essential resource for maximizing learning outcomes.


Thomas A. Edison High School
Kwanita Williams-Holt
Career Integration Specialist, School District of Philadelphia