Program Description for English Language Learners



Enrolling students from foreign countries is a unique experience for our school district.  We are provided an opportunity to learn of other peoples, countries, and cultures from sources other than textbooks and multimedia.  These experiences give our staff and students’ opportunities to share knowledge and information with people from other lands and build friendships that otherwise would not be possible. 


Housing English Language Learners (ELL) does, however, present challenges for receiving schools.  Like all other children enrolled in our schools, their individual needs must be met.  It is the intent of the Dunlap School District to have ELL students functioning on his/her own as quickly as possible within a push-in model of support (without the assistance of special teachers).  With this in mind, the following information provides a program overview.



All families should complete a Home Language Survey (Appendix A) upon registering for school.  Receiving schools should contact the ESL teacher when registering students from homes where English is not the home language.  Students will then be assessed a certified staff member to determine whether they qualify for ELL services (see entrance / exit criteria).  Parents will be sent written notification if their child qualifies for ELL services.


Any parent or legal guardian whose child has been enrolled in a program shall have the absolute right to withdraw the child from the program immediately by submitting a written notice of his or her desire to withdraw.  This written notice should be submitted to the building principal.



The District provides a Transitional Program of Instruction (TPI).  This program is designed to provide services for students when there are 19 or fewer students of the same non-English background in the same attendance center.  We follow a push-in model of service with ELL students being fully immersed into the regular division classroom.  The District employs special personnel  to provide additional support for students in the area of English language acquisition.  This service is provided by pulling students out of the regular division classroom for brief periods of time each week.


The ELL teacher works with small groups of ELL students at each attendance center.  The amount of service is dependent upon the individual needs of the students involved.  The immediate goal of the ELL teacher will be to develop a simple working vocabulary to quickly enable the child to communicate with teachers and students.  Other instructional goals will target English Language Proficiency Standards for English Language Learners developed by the WIDA Consortium (Appendix B).  It is not felt that the teacher must have background in each child’s native language.



Students qualify for ELL services through an assessment called the W-APT Screener.  This assessment is administered by certified personnel.  In most cases, this assessment is conducted by the ELL teacher.  Other factors that may be considered for program placement include parental input, teacher input, and a review of school records.


Students will exit the ELL program when they are able to function effectively in the content areas of their classrooms.  In keeping with Illinois State guidelines, each student’s English language proficiency will be assessed annually.  The ACCESS assessment will be the primary indicator of a student’s readiness to exit the program.  Other factors, however, may be considered for exiting the program.  These factors include a student’s level of acculturation in the school community, content area academic achievement, and results of local assessments.  The classroom teacher, ELL teacher, and building principal will collaboratively determine when a student will be exited from the program.


The ELL program is flexible in that it allows a student to re-enter the program if the need arises.  As educational concepts and vocabulary grow in complexity and quantity, the student may require ELL program services intermittently throughout the elementary school years.



All ELL students will take part in state standardized assessments that their grade level peers are required to take.  Students may be exempt from some state testing requirements however.  Results of these assessments will be reported to parents in the same manner as other student reports are communicated. 


ELL students will also take part in an additional assessment called ACCESS.  This assessment is given in order to monitor progress toward WIDA standards.  Results of the ACCESS assessment will also be reported to parents.  The ELL teacher will be responsible for administering the ACCESS test to ELL students.  One copy of the individual test scores should be placed in the student’s cumulative file and one copy should be forwarded to the District coordinator. 



Classroom teachers will complete report cards for ELL students in the same manner as other students.  This may be done in consultation with the ELL teacher.  In situations where letter grades are not appropriate, a narrative report on progress toward academic goals may be completed by the classroom teacher, again in consultation with the ELL teacher. 


Progress reports will be distributed by the ELL teacher each quarter.  The ELL teacher will explain progress toward ELL program goals (based on WIDA standards).  This progress report should be completed after consultation with the classroom teacher.