English Language Learners Department

  • Our ELL classes focus on communication and increasing proficiency in English. Teachers work closely with content teachers to provide our ELL students with greatest possible opportunity to achieve academic success.

    English Language Learners Logo

    Our department strives to support and educate all non-native English speakers to become fully proficient in English and to gain an understanding of U.S. cultures so that they can be successful citizens in our dynamic global society.



    Our department is comprised of outstanding ELL teachers! Our 92 educators fulfill a wide variety of roles across the district, both at the school level and at the county-level as well. ELL teachers focus on providing relevant and high-quality instruction in all grade levels throughout the district. For a list of our ELL teachers and the schools they serve, click here.


    The enrollment of English Language Learners [ELLs] in KCS has doubled within the last five years and continues to increase rapidly. Over 3,200 English Learners from more than 92 different countries who speak 80+ different languages attended schools in 2016-2017!
    We are fortunate to have dedicated teachers who share their expertise and professional experiences by participating in monthly ELL Professional Learning Community sessions, working on curriculum committees, leading high-quality professional learning opportunities, and much more! 
    This year Darlene Davenport (Central High School) and Carrie Arana (Farragut Primary) are our WIDA Support Specialists.  They design and coordinate teacher-led learning opportunities related to the WIDA Standards throughout the school year. In addition, the ESL Coach, Lisa Rinehart, will be working closely with our teachers.
    The English as a Second Language [ESL] Department was created in Knox County Schools in 1980. The sole ESL teacher in the district visited 21 schools to provide services to 176 non-native English students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. The Department has experienced enormous growth and a myriad of changes since that time.
    The increasing cultural and linguistic diversity of the student population in Knox County Schools offers unique opportunities for all educators in our district. The growing population of non-native English speakers also provides a wealth of potential learning experiences and interactions for all of our students. We strive to collaborate with all stakeholders in order to maximize the schooling experiences of our English Language Learners so that they experience academic success.

    The students who do not speak English as their first language represent a variety of backgrounds, home countries, native languages, and immigrant statuses. They are an essential part of the Knoxville community. Our fundamental challenge as educators is to leverage our resources and expertise to help maximize their success. It is through their schooling experiences that our English Language Learners acquire the cultural understanding and linguistic skills necessary to become productive citizens in our society. Whether born in the U.S. as citizens, resettled in Knoxville as refugees, adopted by loving families, or living here in other circumstances, all of the English Language Learners in KCS are our students and we have a commitment to care for and educate them. 

For ELL Teachers

  • To access content for KCS teachers, click on the ELL logo to sign in and view the FOR ELL TEACHERS page.                          
    ELL Logo

English Language Learners & World Languages

  • Sharon Cate

    Sharon Cate 

    English Language Learners
    World Languages
    Andrew Johnson Building
    10th Floor & 12th Floor
    ELL (865) 594-1760 Office
    WL (865) 594-1727 Office

English Language Learners Staff

Teacher Created Resources

  • TCR Logo

Teaching & Learning Framework

  • Teaching and Learning Framework