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: The No Child Left Behind Act requires schools receiving Title III funds to implement an effective means of outreach to parents of English language learner (ELL) students. Such outreach is to inform parents of how they can be involved with their child's education and be active participants in helping their child reach language proficiency so the child can meet the state's academic achievement standards. School principals should develop parent involvement programs with such requirements in mind. Policies and procedures formalizing the parent involvement program should be written.
How to Reach Out to Parents of ELLs
This Colorin Colorado offering focuses on how to reach out to parents of ELLs. ELLs benefit just as much from their parents' involvement in their education as other students. This site provides some ways to reach out to parents of ELLs and increase the likelihood of their participation.
Toolkit for Hispanic Families
As noted via the U.S. Department of Education's website, "This U.S. Department of Education toolkit will show Hispanic families what to expect from their schools, their teachers, and their child at all ages and grade levels. It will tell them how to help their child through school, what resources are available, and what they, their family, and their community can do to help their child learn."
Alternate version in Spanish
Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences with Bilingual Families
This link to the Reading Rockets website provides practical tips for having successful parent-teacher conferences with bilingual families.
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: