Purnell’s ESL (English as a Second Language) program provides students who are not yet ready to enter the College Preparatory curriculum with a rigorous, immersion-based environment for learning English.

Purnell's ESL

Our diverse faculty, including a certified ESL teacher, represent numerous corners of the globe. Small class sizes allow us to provide individual attention to each student. This intimate learning atmosphere is the hallmark of our school and has allowed us to create a family-like environment that is highly responsive to the needs of our international and ESL students.

The ESL program is offered at two levels:

Level One

ESL I is a multi-level class of students with varying English proficiencies. The course design allows students to grow in their English skills at a pace that best fits their learning style and needs. The structure and direction of the class varies year-to-year depending on the students’ needs. ESL I is a course in basic integrated skills focusing on the development of beginning grammar and vocabulary through reading, writing, listening, and speaking. This course is designed to facilitate English language development and mastery, for Purnell’s ESL learners, through direct instruction and collaboration with content teachers. Students are developing their skills in vocabulary and grammatical knowledge so they will be able to successfully communicate. Also, students are developing literary and analytical skills, which will support their learning in all content areas.

Level Two

The mission of ESL II is to help non-native speakers achieve high school and college-level proficiency in English speaking, reading, and writing. We prepare students for the challenges they will face in subsequent writing seminars, and in the courses they will take throughout their high school and college careers. This course teaches students to read critically, speak articulately, and write effectively. Students examine cultural differences in strategies for classroom dialogue and learn the stylistic customs of academic English. ESL II is a uniquely designed course intended to provide students with advanced skill practice in preparation for standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, and TOEFL, which assesses an English Language Learner’s English proficiency to qualify for college admission.

English Placement for New International Students
Students entering Purnell will be placed in English language support classes at the level of their language ability based on scores earned on English placement tests after they arrive at Purnell, as well as the decision of the admissions committee.

Students are placed in ESL I or II based on their assessment scores. Students placed in ESL I can expect at least two years of ESL support. Those students placed in ESL II can expect at least one year of ESL support. International students with advanced English language skills needing no ESL support may be invited to enroll directly into the College Preparatory curriculum, or be supported with special study halls and/or tutoring. This will be determined by English placement tests and the Admissions Committee.

We accept applications to our International/ESL program on a year round basis. Application materials include the student's academic records along with teacher recommendations (with English translations). Incoming ESL students are evaluated by our in-house placement test, previous exposure to English, and an oral interview with our ESL staff. Based on these assessments, students are placed in an ESL I or ESL II class. ESL students are integrated into regular academic classes right away. Our graduating International/ESL students typically enroll directly into prestigious private and state colleges, as well as foreign universities.

I-20 Information

Purnell School is a SEVP certified School and provides International Students with an I-20. The following items and documents are needed BEFORE Purnell School can issue a student an I-20 form. Please send all materials the Admissions Office. Documents can be faxed to 908.439.4088 or mailed to:

Purnell School
P.O. Box 500
51 Pottersville Road
Pottersville, NJ 07979
Attention: Admissions Office

I-20 Requirements

Signed contract and deposit must be returned to Purnell School

Tuition must be paid in full

Copy of Student’s Passport

Copy, fax, or scan of Proof of Income*

Proof of Income is considered a tax return and pay stub. Other supporting documents may be a bank statement or letter from your bank, a letter from an employer that states your yearly income, or other proof of assets. Proof of Income must show that the family has financially support the student for their entire course of study.

Proof of Address*

Proof of Address can be a copy of a phone or credit card bill that shows the applicant’s permanent address.

If being financially funded/sponsored by another source, Purnell School needs a signed affidavit of support from all sources*

If the student is living with a host family or guardian, Purnell School needs Proof of Income, Proof of Address, and an affidavit from the host and from the parents*

An Official Transcript from the student’s previous schools. If the student is transferring to Purnell School after already completing high school courses elsewhere, Purnell needs Official Transcripts from all previous high schools*

*All documents must be in English or officially translated. The family is responsible for getting all documents translated.

We would love to hear from you!

Find out more about Purnell's exceptional international program. Contact The Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, at +1-908-439-4009 or email

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