English Learner (EL) Program

    Milford Public School District

    English Learner Program

    Chapter 2: EL Student Identification and Placement

    EL Student Identification Process  

    • When new students register in our district schools, through our new Family Resource Center, families are provided with a Home Language Survey (HLS), which is included in the registration packet.  Students will not be allowed to enter school unless this document is completed.  The HLS is available in all of the languages currently spoken by children in our schools.  If a parent has difficulty obtaining this document in their native language, the Family Resource Center Manager will contact the EL district director, Jenn Lancaster, in order to obtain the appropriate document.
    • Parents complete the HLS and return it to our Family Resource Center manager, who will make the determination whether or not a student will be tested for language proficiency. If any of the following questions below are answered indicating a language other than English, the district is required by law to screen the student to determine whether or not he or she will be provided ESL services:

    1. List the languages spoken by your child. 


    2. What was the first language your child spoke?


    3. What language do you most often use to speak to your child?


    4. What is your child’s preferred language for communicating with members of the family and friends?


    • Students may also be referred at a later time for assessment of their English skills.  If a classroom teacher notices that a child is not making progress in his/her class and suspects that the reason may be due to a student’s language proficiency ability in English, the teacher can contact the ESL teacher so that the student’s English proficiency can be assessed.


    Language Proficiency Screening Procedures

    • All students identified as needing to be assessed for language proficiency as described in Student Identification Process above will be promptly assessed to determine whether the student is either an English Learner (EL) or a fluent English speaker.  The data gathered will pinpoint the student's level of English proficiency and inform appropriate programming and placement. 
    • An ESL test administrator, trained in the administration and interpretation of language proficiency tests, will complete the testing at the Family Resource Center. We currently use the research driven WIDA-Model and W-APT to make the appropriate student placement determination.  These tests assess English skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Students who receive a composite rating of WIDA level 1-4.5 will be recommended for EL program services.  Students who receive a composite rating of WIDA levels 5-6 will be placed in mainstream classes, and will not receive EL support services.
    • The results of these initial assessment tests will be recorded on our Language Proficiency Test Results document and filed in the student’s EL cumulative folder (green), placed inside the main cumulative folder.  Other relevant information about the student (progress reports, state test scores, etc.) will also be included in the student’s EL cumulative record as it is gathered.


    The Placement Process 

    • Once the results are obtained, the ESL test administrator will consult with the ESL program director and school principal (elementary schools) or guidance director/counselor (secondary schools), to determine the appropriate placement of the student in the school setting and the appropriate level of ESL support.  The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has established guidelines for the amount of English Language Development an EL student should receive based on his or her proficiency level.

    Guidelines for Using ACCESS for ELLs Results to Plan SEI Instructional Programming

    • The decision on classroom placement will be made based on the needs of the student. DESE is in the final phase of rolling out Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners (RETELL) SEI Endorsement training to all core academic classroom teachers so that all EL students are effectively taught in core-content mainstream classrooms.  All ELL students will receive varying amounts of English Language Development (ELD) skill instruction, following either a pull-out (students are taught in small groups outside of their classroom by a qualified ESL teacher) or push-in model (students are given support by a qualified ESL teacher in their regular classroom). Students at an Entering or Emerging level of proficiency or newcomers to the country will receive anywhere from two to three 45 minute blocks of English Language Development instruction, integrated with grade level academic/content material.  Students at a Developing, Expanding, and Bridging proficiency levels will receive one 45 minute block of direct ESL instruction per day. All EL students are placed in mainstream SEI classes where the teacher has received sheltered instruction training.
    • In general, the student will be placed in the appropriate class for his or her chronological age.  To the greatest extent possible, considerations of peer groups, personalities, etc. will be included to provide the optimum learning environment for the student.
    • The level of English Language Development support will be determined at the time of program placement with assurances that as the student adjusts to the school environment, progress will be monitored and the services adjusted accordingly.
    • Parents will be informed promptly of final placement decisions through a Parent Notification letter. (These letters have been translated into our students’ home languages).  A parent/guardian has the right to opt-out of the EL program.  He or she must meet with the EL Director to discuss the student’s placement and may sign an official opt-out form at that time.
    • In addition to initial screening of students who may be considered for inclusion in our EL program, there is one state-mandated language assessment administered on a yearly basis to designated EL students in grades K – 12.  The ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 assessment is used by teachers to evaluate a student’s English language listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in the areas of social and instructional language, the language of language arts, the language of mathematics, the language of science, and the language of social studies.  The purpose of ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is to provide data and resources to strengthen curriculum, instruction and classroom assessment, and to identify EL students who are progressing toward, or have achieved, English language proficiency. 
    • Language proficiency results inform program planning as they are reviewed by ESL staff every year at the end of May.  The language proficiency scores are also provided to START teams for their use in designing learning interventions and/or decisions to evaluate the student for special education services. 


                                                                                                                                                                   Last Updated: 2/5/16