The English Language Learner (ELL) KnowledgeBase for Teachers is an online resource supporting educators responsible for implementing programs for ELL students. It offers resources related to teaching ELL students based on Office for Civil Rights and the No Child Left Behind Act requirements.
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: Districts are required to take affirmative steps to address the language development of English language learners (ELLs) where the inability to speak and understand the English language prevents the students from effective participation in the district's regular education program. Element 1 addresses the legal requirements related to ELL students. Besides school leaders and staff members, these requirements must be understood by the entire school community.
Guideline: "Newcomer programs are separate, relatively self-contained educational interventions designed to meet the academic and transitional needs of newly arrived immigrants. Typically, students attend these programs before they enter more traditional interventions (e.g., English language development programs or mainstream classrooms with supplemental ESL instruction)." School districts experiencing an influx of immigrant students may benefit from investigating newcomer programs.
This checklist provides a series of questions addressing planning, legal requirements, student intake, staffing, curriculum and instruction, and evaluation of newcomer programs. It is an aid for school leaders reviewing an existing program or designing a new program.
This document summarizes the findings from the compendium of best practices for immigrant students in secondary schools from the Council for Chief State School Officers. This section of the compendium relates to practices most beneficial to students with limited formal schooling.
Though neither federal laws nor court decisions dictate any specific approaches to educating language minority students, school districts are to adhere to the legal requirements for ELL students when designing special programs for newcomer students.
Organizing Your Newcomer's Day
This resource provides some practical tips for teachers from EverythingESL to help their new ELL students acclimate to their new classroom.
The increasing number of secondary school age newcomers with low-level English skills and limited formal schooling is leading many districts to develop newcomer programs. This document reports on a four-year study undertaken by the Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence (CREDE) to assess the impact of newcomer programs.
Research-Based Recommendations for Serving Adolescent Newcomers"This book, from the Center on Instruction, is the second in a series of three Practical Guidelines for the Education of English Language Learners. This document was written primarily for the group of ELLs who are adolescent newcomers to the United States and who have a relatively short period of time in which to simultaneously develop academic language skills and master grade-level content. This document provides evidence-based recommendations for policymakers, administrators, and teachers in middle and high schools who seek to make informed decisions about effectively serving adolescent newcomers."
Purpose: School districts have broad discretion in selecting appropriate language programs, but they should consider three general questions 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 it is considered a legitimate experimental strategy.
Purpose: School districts have multiple obligations under Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act and Office of Civil Rights (OCR) requirements. Under Title III, schools receiving such funds are to ensure timely and effective notification to parents of ELL students and extend a means for them to be involved with their child's education. The OCR requirements specify districts do so in a way that ensures meaningful access to ELL students and their parents. Accordingly, schools must develop effective methods of involving parents of ELL students in their child's education. In fulfilling these responsibilities, districts should develop procedures for providing the parents of ELL students with the same information provided to the parents of their non-ELL peers in a language-appropriate manner.
Purpose: A district should have procedures in place for identifying English language learner (ELL) students and assessing their English proficiency. Such procedures should involve parents in making the final determination of whether their child is placed in the district's ELL program. Parents deciding not to have their child or children participate must sign a participation waiver.
Purpose: As noted at the National Clearinghouse for English Language Aquisition (NCELA), "School districts are to provide alternative language instruction programs to children with limited English proficiency to help them develop their English language skills and meet the same state academic content and student achievement standards all students are expected to meet.
In doing so, school districts have broad discretion in selecting appropriate language programs, but should consider the following when developing their program.
Purpose: A district should establish criteria to determine when English language learner (ELL) students qualify for exiting from the program. The exit criteria should be 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: