ESL+

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An Opportunity for Extensive English Development

Please note that the ESL+ Intensive has been cancelled for 2022. We regret the inconvenience.

Nationally recognized as one of the top boarding schools in the United States, Mercersburg Academy is a private college preparatory independent school with a reputation for excellence that attracts young people in grades 9-12 from dozens of states and countries each school year. During the summer, extensive English development and rewarding cultural immersion experiences draw students who are committed to rigorous academic effort.

This intense and creative program is open to international students who possess a working knowledge of the English language and are able to communicate on at least basic verbal and written levels. It features a comprehensive and stimulating curriculum designed to improve communication skills in English speaking, listening, writing, and reading.

Mercersburg has hosted students from more than a dozen countries in recent summers, including Azerbaijan, China, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, and Turkey.

Dates:
CANCELLED

Open To:
Grades 7-10, coed

Tuition:
$4,500

Application Fee:
$50

Meet the Director​​​​​​​

Jennifer Donaho
Jennifer Donaho is excited to begin her first year working with Mercersburg Summer Programs! She will be directing the 2022 ESL+ Intensive. Jennifer specializes in communicative curriculum development: teaching English through real-life concepts and active student engagement.

After graduating from Shepherd University in 2014, Jennifer received her TEFL certification in 2015 and has been teaching ever since. She has taught ESL in Costa Rica and the United States, including as a volunteer in her spare time.

Currently, Jennifer is working for E.P.I.C.—the Eastern Panhandle regional branch of the West Virginia Department of Adult Education—as its ESOL adult education instructor in Berkeley County, West Virginia. Since she became the program’s lead instructor in 2018, it has grown from a part-time class of three students to a full-time program with 50+ participants. Jennifer has been recognized by WVAdultEd for exceeding performance measures every year, including during the 2020 pandemic as a fully virtual program. She currently lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, with her seven beautiful house plants.

Approach

In the classroom, ESL+ students are divided by skill level, regardless of age. All students are evaluated when they arrive and placed into classes based on core English competencies. This proven method for learning introduces students to environments where they are properly challenged, paced, and supported.

While courses are taught according to ability to digest information and to apply acquired knowledge, the use of progressive teaching principles allows students who qualify to easily move up through levels of study as they master essential skills.




Program Features

  • Competitive admission and limited enrollment in each grade level and nationality
  • Diagnostic testing and placement in appropriate skill level
  • Student-to-faculty ratio of 5 to 1
  • Multiple levels of study in English speaking, listening, writing, and reading
  • Test preparation courses
  • Daily help sessions and supervised evening study hall
  • Structured activities beyond the classroom
  • Visits to college and university campuses

An ESL Boarding School Experience

More than 70 percent of ESL+ camp participants typically plan to attend a U.S. boarding school. As such, Mercersburg Summer Programs creates an experience and schedule designed to mimic boarding school life: part academics and part co-curricular/extracurricular activities.

Curriculum and Primary Program Areas 

The ESL+ program concentrates on improving English skills in speaking, listening, writing, and reading. Each course is specifically designed to allow students to learn these skills through different techniques, subjects, and interactive environments. Among many other things, all students will be asked to attend vocabulary and listening labs, create culminating class projects or presentations, and prepare for the TOEFL test. Courses change from year to year for a number of reasons, including keeping the subject matter fresh for teachers and to the benefit of the students.

Beyond the Classroom

The Mercersburg ESL+ experience is about much more than just the classroom. Students studying at Mercersburg Academy in the summer enjoy a variety of activities that lead to a meaningful immersion experience. Academic studies are paired with exciting cultural trips and opportunities to make friends with other students through social and athletic activities.