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.
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.
Guideline: Alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessment is crucial to success in improving instruction. State and local alignment is the congruence between state curriculum guidelines and locally-developed instructional practices. It is important teachers instructing English language learner students ensure their instruction is aligned with the local curriculum and the applicable state standards.
Bilingual Curriculum/Pacing Guides
Developed by the Santa Fe Public Schools (New Mexico), "these guides provide teachers with a definitive format for aligning instruction in the classroom for the English Language Learner (ELL) student in correlation with the New Mexico Language Arts Standards and the New Mexico English Language Development Instructional Strategies." While specific to the New Mexico standards, they offer an example of how to align classroom instruction with state standards.
Framework for English Language Proficiency Development Standards
This link to the Council of Chief State School Officers website provides a guide for developing or adapting English Language Proficiency (ELP) standards to align with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the forthcoming Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
Raising the Bar: Implementing Common Core State Standards for Latino Student Success
This link to the National Council LaRaza website provides a CCSS implementation guide which identifies key questions and issues affecting Latino students.
Aligning Standards, Curriculum, and AssessmentFrom the Teacher's Network, this video presentation models how standards, curriculum, and assessment can be aligned in the classroom situation.
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: