The English Language Learner (ELL) KnowledgeBase for Administrators is an online resource supporting the administration of programs for ELL students. It offers resources related to Office for Civil Rights requirements and the No Child Left Behind Act.
This KnowledgeBase is currently being updated to reflect recent changes under federal law. The current version is provided for your reference as much of the information may still be relevant.
Purpose: Demographics in public schools have been steadily changing due to the increasing enrollment of students whose first language is other than English, better identified as English language learners (ELLs). The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education and the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) share authority for enforcing the legal requirements of the Equal Education Opportunities Act (EEOA) of 1964. These departments also assist in the administration of the English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement Act, also known as Title III, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015.
Element 1 involves the legal requirements districts and schools have to address for the language development of students whose English language proficiency limits their ability to achieve rigorous academic standards to graduate college and career ready.
Purpose: School districts have broad discretion in selecting appropriate language programs, but should consider three general areas when making a decision.
The program chosen should be considered sound by experts in the field. If a district is using a different approach, it must show that it is considered a legitimate experimental strategy.
Purpose: Under Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) requirements, school districts have obligations to communicate with and involve parents in their child’s education. Under Title III, schools "receiving such funds are to assure timely and effective notification to parents English language learner students and extend a means for them to be involved with their child's education." Similarly, the OCR requirements specify school districts communicate in a way that assures meaningful access for English language learner (ELL)students and their parents.
To fulfill these responsibilities, school districts should develop procedures for providing parents of ELL students with the same information provided to the parents of their English language peers in a language appropriate manner. As a result of these obligations, school districts must develop effective ways for involving parents of their ELL students in their child's education.
Purpose: School districts are to deliver English language instruction programs to English language learning children to help them develop their English proficiency and meet the same state academic content and student achievement standards all students are expected to meet. In doing so, districts have broad discretion in selecting appropriate language programs, but should consider the following when developing their program.
Purpose: The school district should establish criteria to determine when ELL students qualify for exiting the English language learner program. The school district should be able to demonstrate that its exit criteria is based on objective standards that ensure ELL students will be able to participate meaningfully and successfully in the district's regular education program.
Purpose: In fulfilling the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Office for Civil Rights, staff development must occur to ensure ELL students progress academically and be afforded equal educational opportunity. This includes professional learning in the following areas: