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: There may be instances when interpreters are needed to be onsite at the school to facilitate communication among teachers, administrators, English language learner (ELL) students, and their parents. Interpreters are to abide by district policies pertaining to the privacy of student information, respect confidentiality, and provide direct interpretations. Interpreters provide an essential service to all concerned and are not advocates for any party.
This resource includes several glossaries of special education terminology which provide the respective English terminology in Hmong, Spanish, and Somali.
This resource provides links to interpreter/translation services. The SC3 and C3 Comprehensive Centers have not reviewed nor endorsed these services. They are provided for information purposes only.
This form is designed to help school personnel maintain a list of translators and interpreters available from outside sources such as other districts, community organizations, and government agencies.
Alternate format: PDF
This resource provides links to websites with special education related documents translated into various foreign languages.
Code of Professional Conduct and Business Practices
This document offers the American Translators Association's code of ethics for professional translators. The code is a useful guide for district staff members to know what should be expected of interpreters and translators.
FERPA is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools receiving funds under any applicable U.S. Department of Education program. School districts should ensure all staff members and outside contractors, such as counselors and interpreters, are familiar with the applicable policies on the privacy of student records.
Educational Interpreting Services
This Virginia Department of Education pamphlet provides a general description of educational interpreting services. Though intended for Virginia educators, its content may be useful to educators in other states.
Quality Indicators for Translation and Interpretation in Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve Educational Services - Guidelines and Resources for Educators
This California Department of Education document was developed to assist educators who might serve as translators and interpreters or who work in multilingual educational settings. Its purpose is to improve the quality of translations of parental notifications and other documents into languages other than English and to ensure more appropriate and effective interpreting practices. Though intended for California educators, educators in other states may find the content useful.
This resource provides a collection of documents about different aspects of working with translators and interpreters.
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: