Policy - IHBEA-R
EFFECTIVE DATE: 7/13/16
CANCELS SHEET DATED: 9/23/03
REVIEWED BY POLICY COMMITTEE: 5/24/16
It is the policy of the RSU #74 Board to provide equitable access for English language learning students. According to the Equal Education Opportunities Act (1974), this district must make an effort to do whatever is educationally appropriate to address the English and educational needs of the English language learner student so that he/she can compete with his/her same age English background peers. Qualifying students will be identified and placed in programs and services in accordance with statutory guidelines. RSU #74 will strive to provide a linguistically and culturally rich learning and teaching environment. It is the policy of RSU #74 to comply with all federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination against students on the basis of all civil rights categories.
I. Establish an Language Assessment Committee (LAC) that will consist of an
administrator, classroom teacher, English Language Learner (ELL) teacher, and a
parent or guardian if possible, for each building that has ELL students.
Appropriate support staff, such as a guidance counselor, will be included when
they are involved in the student’s program.
The responsibilities of the LAC and/or ELL Coordinator include:
Identify English Language Learner (ELL) students using the
*WIDA “Access” assessment tools, including the ACCESS
and/or the ACCESS screening test.
a. Develop an appropriate and effective language support program
that assures ELL students will achieve the Learning Results and
Proficiency Level Expectations.
b. Monitor the student’s progress on an on-going basis.
c. Notify parent or guardian of all decisions (in a language they
comprehend) and their right to appeal their child’s participation
in the ELL Program.
d. Determine when the ELL student meets the exit or reclassification
Standards through WIDA Assessment.
e. Monitor students for two years after exit from the ELL Program.
f. Make recommendations for programming for next school year.
II. Screening: All newly enrolled students (including transfers from other
districts) will be initially screened for subsequent assessment through the Home
Language Survey and the ACCESS screening test during the enrollment process.
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If a student has been previously identified as an English Language Learner within
the district, screening is not required upon transferring schools within the district,
although English proficiency assessment is required annually in all communicative
*WIDA=Wisconsin, Delaware, Arkansas Assessment Consortium for which Maine is
a partner among ten states.
Assessment of English Language Proficiency and Academic Skills
Within fifteen (15) school days of initial screening by the Home Language Survey, possible ELL students will be assessed for a level of English Language
Proficiency via the following:
1. ACCESS screening test
2. Consultation with classroom teacher where appropriate
3. Anecdotal information from student, family and/or sponsors
4. Assessment of academic proficiency in First Language (optional)
b. Writing Sample
c. Anecdotal Records
d. School Records
Grade Level Placement
Before making a permanent grade-level placement decision for an ELL student,
the LAC will need to have pertinent background information about the child.
That information would include, as a minimum:
1. the child’s chronological age
2. the child’s educational background
3. the child’s English language proficiency level through
4. the child’s academic performance
With this information, which should have been collected as expeditiously as possible, the LAC will decide at what grade level the student should be placed. Under no circumstances will a student be placed in a grade level that is more than one year below his/her chronological age. Although it may seem logical to place an ELL child at a grade level that matches the kind of English skills he/she needs to acquire, it would be a great disservice to the child both socially and cognitively to do so. The LAC is obligated to provide a structured language support program that meets the ELL as well as content area needs of the student consistent with state and federal statute and case law precedent.
Regarding the issue of grade-level retention
On the whole, retention is only advisable when an ELL student is lagging behind
peers socially and emotionally (and even that may not be appropriate). It stands
to reason that an ELL will not be on grade level academically until he/she has had
the opportunity to acquire the English skills and content necessary for success.
It is not appropriate to retain an ELL solely for the reason of limited English
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proficiency. The child has unique needs and must be given ample time from
grade level to grade level to acquire English proficiency. The LAC accepts
the research findings that the acquisition of a second language for Cognitive/
Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) can take anywhere from five to seven
years under optimal circumstances of academic and( ELP) English Language
The most advantageous way to avoid grade-level retention is to make accom-
maditions for the ELL in the mainstream classroom and to maintain a close
collaborative relationship between the mainstream and ELL program. If an
ELL is referred for retention, the LAC should be included in that process to
ensure that language proficiency is not the sole reason for the referral.
Each student will be enrolled in a mainstream program to the extent possible
And integrated into regular activities. The regular classroom teacher will
share the responsibility of programming with a qualified ELL teacher;
Appropriate instructional materials will support modifications and
accommodations to the regular curriculum. An ELL program will be provided to
maximize language support services with sheltered content instruction to
support access to the Learning Results.
The program used in RSU #74
Sheltered Instruction: An approach that utilizes the simplification of the
English language to teach English language proficiency and subject area
content simultaneously in a one-on-one or small group setting on top of
mainstream instruction. Although the actual content is the same as that
taught to non-ELL students, key concepts and vocabulary are targeted
to fit the ELL’s English language proficiency level.
The following guidelines will be followed for the development of a student’s
1. Instruction will be provided during the regular school hours.
2. Student’s grade placement will be age appropriate.
3. The ELL teacher and classroom teacher will coordinate efforts to
support the student’s acquisition of English and the Learning Results.
4. Instructional space will be provided to ELL students that is comparably
provided to non-ELL students.
5. The amount of time spent with the ELL teacher and/or one-on-one teacher
assistance, will be determined by the Language Assessment Committee,
based on age and need of the student.
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IV. ELL Teacher Requirements
1. Hold State of Maine Certification with ESL endorsement.
2. Administer evaluations to ELL students annually.
3. Communication each quarter with parents regarding progress of
students in a language they understand.
4. Recommend modifications or revisions to the LAU Plan.
5. Recommend reclassification or exiting of student based on WIDA assessments.
6. Provide meaningful cultural and language information to student,
teachers and classmates.
7. Insure that ELL high school students receive appropriate career
and educational information and that all post graduate opportunities
are made equitably accessible to them.
8. Monitor students who have exited the ELL program for a period of two (2) years.
9. Maintain a language development file on each student served by the ELL program.
Reclassification or Exit Criteria
A multi-criteria assessment will be made when determining if an ELL student will be
classified as a Fluent English Proficient (FEP) student. This will consist of the
1. Teacher evaluation of general language proficiency by observing the
student’s oral performance in both formal and informal settings.
2. The ELL Teacher will evaluate the progress of the student in reference
to ELL skills and objectives at least annually.
3. An objective evaluation will be made as to how the student is functioning
in the four skill areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing, compared
to their English-speaking classmates. The ELL teacher and the classroom
teacher(s) will make this evaluation jointly.
4. WIDA Access Assessment
Special Needs Placement:
Determining special needs placement for students who are receiving ELL Services
is a complex process. There may be a number of individual or combined factors
determining why language and cultural minority students are achieving little
academic progress over time; the normal process of second language acquisition,
the acculturation process, different learning styles, motivation to learn, or the
student’s lack of prior schooling are a number of potential factors instead of
intrinsic learning problems. Screening diagnosing at-risk students receiving ELL
services include a number of pre-referral steps to determine whether there exist
temporary learning and behavior characteristics shared by learning disabled students
and English language learners, or whether referral to special education is warranted.
The ELL Coordinator/Specialist must be involved throughout the process.
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The following pre-referral process will be followed to determine the necessity
for referral to special education:
1. When the student experiences continued, serious academic/social
Examine systematic efforts to identify the source of difficulty:
a. Curriculum: continuity of exposure, scope and sequence,
student’s entry level skills, cognitive demands, mastery criteria,
amount of practice exhibited in the native language
b. Instruction: sequencing of content, language use, effective
teaching behaviors, coordination with other teachers
c. Teacher: qualifications, experience with ELL students,
teaching style, expectations, perceptions, instructional
management, behavior management
d. Student: experiential background, native language proficiency,
cultural characteristics, cognitive learning style, locus of
control/attribution, self-concept, motivation
e. Assessment: learning standards, data collection procedures,
Examine the student’s individual and group behavior, parental perceptions,
work samples, and teacher perceptions
a. Cultural differences: country of origin, length of residence
in US, age at arrival
b. Language differences: first language characteristics, rate of
progress in English, opportunities to use English outside of
school, literacy skills in first language
c. Environmental factors: background factors, attitudes on
schooling, interruptions/traumas, frequency of school moves,
family separation, family support for schooling, home
d. Medical/physical factors: history, present conditions
e. Achievement/performance factors: listening comprehension,
oral expression, basic reading skills, reading comprehension,
f. Learning/behavior factors: visual discrimination, auditory
discrimination, visual memory, auditory memory, visual
motor coordination, attention/coordination, a social
perception, problem solving, activity level, speech
In order to ensure the most effective and appropriate structured language
support programming for English language learning children, a model for
overall program evaluation must be developed and utilized consistent with
state and federal statute. An annual program evaluation will illustrate:
attainment of program outcomes, English language and content acquisition,
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attainment of learner outcomes, school climate and support for the program
and children, the quality of instructional materials, the maintenance of
information about students, the effectiveness of staff development activities,
the amount and effectiveness of mainstream ELL collaboration, the
effectiveness of school and program communication with parents, and the
implementation of the LAU Plan itself.
The program accountability and demonstration of outcomes will enhance the
program’s legitimacy in RSU #74 and will consummate the work and methods
of the program toward the ultimate goal of continually improving instruction
to meet learner instructional needs.
The following four circumstances could present themselves. The policy of
RSU #74 Board is duly noted for each situation.
1. Although English language learner students may be eligible for No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Title One and Title Three services under the same criteria as other children, any may receive those services. Title One and Title Three
services cannot supplant structured support services, such as ELL.
2. Limited English proficiency is not a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1994 and state special education regulations. If a language minority child is referred for a special education evaluation, a culturally and linguistically nonbiased evaluation must comply with state and federal regulations. An assessment of the child’s native language skills as soon after school
enrollment as possible is advisable so that any significant problems can be identified and noted for future references. The disability must be determined in the student’s primary language.
3. In the event that a parent/guardian refuses ELL services for their child, a signed letter of refusal will be placed in the student’s file. These ELL services will be offered yearly and a letter of refusal must be signed annually. The parent may withdraw refusal of services at any time.
4 ELL students (not including transfers) in their first year of student enrollment may be exempted from standards-based federal, national, and state tests, however, not from ACCESS or any other ELL based mandated tests.
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Civil Rights Act (Title VI) of 1964
“No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or natural
origin be excluded from participation in, be denied under the benefits of, or
be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal
Lau v. Nichols: U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1974
“There is no equality of treatment merely by providing students with the same
Facilities, textbook, teachers, and curriculum, for students who do not understand
English are effectively foreclosed from any meaningful education.”
Memorandum, May 25, 1970 Dept. of HEW
“Where inability to speak and understand the English language excluded national
origin-minority children from effective participation in the educational program
offered by a school district, the district must take affirmative steps to rectify the
Language deficiency in order to open its instructional program to these students.”
Office of Civil Rights, Fall, 1985 memo on the May 23, 1970 Memorandum
“Title VI rights are for individual rights, thus LEA’s must heed the May 25th
memorandum even if they have only a single Limited English Proficient (LEP)
Office of Civil Rights Memorandum, 1990