English as a Second Language Program Overview
Identification of Students
Upon initial enrollment in the district, parents complete a Home Language Survey. If a language other than English is indicated, students are considered Language Minority and are referred to the ESL Program faculty for possible identification and qualification for ESL services. ESL Faculty may engage the family in a follow-up interview to gain more information, review records and assessment scores from previous schools, and if necessary, administer the appropriate WIDA Screener. Versions of the screener test (paper-based assessment, or online assessment) exist for Kindergarten and for Newcomers in K-12 who meet specific guidelines. The WIDA Screener, along with interview information and/or the review of records will help the ESL faculty to determine eligibility in the ESL Program and Limited English Proficiency (LEP)/English Learner (EL) status. Parent input is a valued and important aspect of the identification process.
Parent Notification Process
Annually, the faculty and staff of the ESL Program host in-person ESL Parent/Teacher Meetings to notify parents of their children’s participation in the ESL Program, solicit parent input, discuss academic services, goals and concerns, and review annual WIDA ACCESS 2.0 English proficiency assessment scores. Translation and interpretation is provided to parents at this event. For students enrolling throughout the school year, this meeting may take place in person or by phone, at the preference of the parent. The goal of the ESL Parent/Teacher Meeting is to foster communication and engagement between the school and the family.
Delivery of Services
“ELD (English Language Development) instruction is designed specifically to advance English learners' knowledge and use of English in increasingly sophisticated ways. In the context of the larger effort to help English learners succeed in school, ELD instruction is designed to help them learn and acquire English to a level of proficiency that maximizes their capacity to engage successfully in academic studies taught in English. Although there might be multiple goals for ELD instruction—engaging in social interactions inside and outside of school and in other pursuits requiring English proficiency (e.g., obtaining news, serving as a juror, voting, shopping, banking, and locating and using information)—we would argue that preparation for academic studies taught in English remains the top priority because of its relevance to school and career success. Helping ELs succeed in academic contexts is no doubt the most challenging goal and most likely the greatest need to emerge in recent English learner research” (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education).
Students receiving ESL services can receive a range of scaffolded supports depending upon their language proficiency levels and personal needs. In grades K-12, both push-in and pull-out delivery models are utilized, with many ELs receiving both types of instruction each week. Students receiving ESL services are eligible for assignment and grade modifications. ESL Teachers may assist regular education teachers in implementing these modifications.
Annual Assessment of Students
Students who receive ESL services participate in the WIDA ACCESS 2.0 assessment during the state testing window. Generally this window is open during January, February, and the beginning of March for the state of Missouri. Student growth with respect to English proficiency is measured in this annual assessment. Test scores are used to determine when students are ready to exit services, decrease services, or increase services.
Missouri DESE determines exit criteria at the state level, and the district complies with those guidelines when making decisions about ELs’ services, utilizing annual ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 assessment data. The most recent guidance was released in August 2018 and is available online. https://dese.mo.gov/sites/default/files/curr-eld-entry-exit-criteria.pdf
Monitoring of Exited Students
ELs who are exited from the ESL Program when they meet exit criteria, as established by DESE. ELs are monitored by the ESL faculty for 2 school years after being exited from the ESL Program. Quarterly check-ins between the ESL Teachers and content area teachers or regular education teachers are documented in EL permanent files. If an exited EL demonstrates an ongoing academic struggle and all involved stakeholders determine re-entering the ESL Program would be beneficial, the EL may re-enter ESL services. Parent input is a valued and important aspect of this decision.
Translation and Interpretation
The Federal Programs office strives to locate and provide translation and interpretation services when needed. Parents have the opportunity to indicate during enrollment the language in which they prefer to receive communication. School Messenger and SIS 360 are two examples of programs the district utilizes which allow parents to elect to receive communication in a language other than English. Additionally, interpretation can be provided for IEP meetings, Parent/Teacher Conferences, Meet the Teacher, in-person enrollment, to communicate office referrals on behalf of building administration, and other meetings as necessary.