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.
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.
Guideline: Parent involvement is an essential part of the English language learner (ELL) program. It is particularly more difficult due to the cultural differences that exist with the students' immigrant backgrounds. The school principal and teachers must be cognizant of ways to involve immigrant parents in their child's education.
The "Compendium of Best Practices for Immigrant Students in Secondary Schools," from the Council for Chief State School Officers, identifies practices aimed at parent involvement. This document lists those practices.
Ideas to Implement Communication Requirements with Parents
This document summaries the deliberations of a workshop on communicating with parents from the 2002 Leadership Conference sponsored by the National Network of Partnership Schools.
The content and thoughts for this document were derived from interviews conducted with ELL practitioners from several Nebraska school districts. The article offers practical ideas for encouraging ELL parents to be involved with their child's school.
Awareness of Cultural Differences in Parental Involvement
This Department of Education archived documents focuses on Bridging School-Family Differences.
This link to National Parent Teacher Association's website provides information on family/school partnerships.
Six Types of School-Family-Community Involvement
This National Network of Partnership Schools webpage discusses six types of cooperation among families, schools, and other community organizations as identified by Johns Hopkins University Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships Director Joyce Epstein.
The Impact of School, Family and Community Connections on Student Achievement
The resource "is a synthesis of 51 studies about the impact of family and community involvement on student achievement and effective strategies to connect schools, families, and community." The document offers links to the complete report, a summary of key findings, and a self-assessment tool. It provides a compilation of relevant research studies on the impact of school, family, and community connections on student achievement.
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: