English Language Learners
The mission of the English Language Learning programs offered in River Trails School District 26 is to inspire our English Language Learners (ELLs) to develop the knowledge, skills, and character necessary to excel in an ever-changing world while providing a safe and nurturing environment. ELLs in our program develop linguistically, academically, and cognitively within a socially and culturally supportive environment.
River Trails School District 26 supports the development of the whole child. We acknowledge the amount of knowledge English Language Learners bring with them to school and use it to aid in their learning. Students at River Trails District 26 need to achieve long-term, academic success in English in all curricular areas in order to be successful in higher-education.
- English Language Learners need to be respected and treated equitably.
- English Language Learners need to be held to the same high-standards as all other students.
- English Language Learners need to be taught by teachers that are highly qualified to instruct students whose first language is not English.
- English Language Learners need to be encouraged to maintain their native language.
- English Language Learners benefit from the involvement of their parents in their education.
For the initial identification of ELs utilizing the WIDA W-APT or MODEL screeners, the composite literacy level of 4.2 should be used in lieu of the individual reading and writing, in accordance with the following:
- Children entering the first semester of kindergarten must score at least a 5.0 composite oral proficiency level on the WIDA MODEL to be considered English language proficient. A student who scores below this proficiency level is considered an English learner (EL) and is eligible for TBE/TPI services.
- Children entering the second semester of kindergarten or the first semester of 1st grade must score an overall composite proficiency level of 5.0 as well as a literacy composite level of 4.2 on the WIDA MODEL to be considered English language proficient. A student who scores below either of these minimum proficiency levels is considered EL and is eligible for TBE/TPI services.
- Children entering the second semester of 1st grade through 12th grade must achieve an overall composite proficiency level of 5.0 as well as a literacy composite level of 4.2 on the W-APT to be considered English language proficient. A student who scores below either of these minimum proficiency levels is considered EL and is eligible for TBE/TPI services.
Each of the five English language proficiency standards encompasses four language domains that define how language is processed and used:
- Listening- process, understand, interpret, and evaluate spoken language in a variety of situations
- Speaking- engage in oral communication in a variety of situations for a variety of purposes and audiences
- Reading- process, understand, interpret, and evaluate written language, symbols and text with understanding and fluency
- Writing- engage in written communication in a variety of situations for a variety of purposes and audiences
The Home Language Survey (HLS) is administered for each student entering the district’s schools for the first time. This is done within 30 days after the student’s enrollment in the district. (IL Administrative Code Section 228.15e). The HLS must as the following questions:
- Is a language other than English spoken in your home?
Yes _____ No _____
What language? ________________________ Dialect? _____________
- Does your child speak a language other than English?
Yes _____ No _____
What language? ________________________ Dialect? _____________
If the response to one or both of the questions is “yes”, the student’s English proficiency is assessed to determine eligibility for TPI or TBE services.
The district may use scores from another Illinois district provided the score was achieved no more than 12 months prior to the student’s enrollment.
The state of Illinois requires school districts to monitor the academic performance of students who have exited the ELL program for the four school years after exiting the program. All students who have been exited from the program are monitored for satisfactory academic progress for at least two years, and if necessary, are offered additional language assistance.
Once the student exits the ELL program, it is important to provide a system that provides for monitoring the success of the student in the mainstream program. The monitoring system includes frequent checks by the ESL teacher with the classroom teacher to determine the progress and achievement of the exited students.
A list of students who have recently exited is maintained annually. ESL teachers will meet with classroom teachers at the beginning of the year and will continue to check-in with them to be sure no problems are developing.
PLACEMENT AND PARENT NOTIFICATION
- A student whose overall score on the W-APT or MODEL does not meet the minimum score required to be considered “proficient” as defined by the State Superintendent of Schools is considered to be limited English proficient and must be enrolled in and receive services from the ELL Program. (See Entry and Exit Criteria)
- A student whose overall score on the W-APT or MODEL does meet the minimum score required to be considered “proficient” as defined by the State Superintendent of Schools is not enrolled in the ELL Program. (See Entry and Exit Criteria)
- Parents must be notified by mail that their child has been placed in the ELL Program no later than 30 days after the start of the school year or 14 days during the school year. The parent notification letter is sent in English and in the home language of the student (to the extent possible). Parents can refuse to ELL programming by writing a letter to the school refusing services.
- Any parent whose child is enrolled in the ELL Program has the right to withdraw his child immediately by notifying the child’s school or the school district in writing of his desire to withdraw his child from the program.
- The State mandates that students who have not met the exit criteria continue taking the ACCESS test on an annual basis even if the parents have withdrawn the student and/or declined services.
The six language proficiency levels outline the progression of language development in the acquisition of English as an additional language. The language proficiency levels define expected performance and describe what ELLs can do at each level of proficiency.
WIDA Performance Definitions
Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE)
A Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) program is provided at schools where there are 20 or more students of one language group in the EL program. A certified bilingual teacher provides first language instruction as the medium of instruction. The aim is to transition students to an all-English classroom with a solid foundation in their native language.
TBE classrooms teach students content in their native language, develop social and academic English language proficiency in order to assist students in their transition into English-only classrooms. Classrooms structures will aid students in meeting Illinois Common Core Standards as well as the Illinois English Language Proficiency Standards while developing both social and academic language in all language domains: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.
Transitional Program of Instruction (TPI)
The Transitional Program of Instruction (TPI) supports the classroom instruction for English Learners in grades K-8. The program helps students develop their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills and is taught by English Learner (EL) Specialists.
The Illinois State Board of Education requires that school districts maintain records of all students enrolled in ELL Programs. To comply with this requirement, the following documents must be kept in the temporary ELL Student file of all English language learners:
- District Home Language Survey
- Parent Notification Letter
- Parent Consent Beyond 3 Years (as applicable)
- Record of Parent Contact
- Pre-IPT, W-APT or MODEL Test results
- ACCESS Test results
- IAR score results
- MAP score results
- ELL Database Information Form
- ELL Exit Form
- ELL report card (copy)
- Exit Letter
- Refusal of Service Letter (as applicable)
- Monitor Forms