The Portsmouth School District has a well-established ESL program. The goal of the program is to help students from other language backgrounds learn and use English effectively, succeed academically and become productive contributing citizens while continuing to cherish their cultural heritage. The program welcomes students from all races and nationalities
Currently, there are a total of 45 ESL students from 17 different language backgrounds studying in the Portsmouth Schools. The program is staffed by a certified ESL teacher and two, full time, trained tutors. One tutor is stationed at the Dondero School while the other, at the Little Harbor School. It is the responsibility of the teacher to teach all ESL students both at the Middle School and the High School. The teacher also travels to the other three schools to coach the tutors, administer assessments and also perform other related tasks.
Most of the ESL students receive individual or small group ESL instruction daily. ESL is a credited course both at the Middle School and at the High School. During 1999, close to 75% of the ESL students at the secondary level were on the school honor roll. A few of them even achieved the highest honor.