More Than English: Teaching Language & Content to ELLs

Resources for teaching English Language Development (ELD)

How the Law Guides School Procedures

Legal Issues for School Districts Related to the Education of Undocumented Children (link)

We have considerable leeway in how we reach and teach all of our students, including English Language Learners. However, there are some things about which we have no choice as they are dictated by law.  Rather than refer back to specific laws, I have grouped the guidelines in key categories.

Enrollment  and Identification Process

All enrollment forms are available in bilingual Spanish/English format, and, whenever practicable, a bilingual school representative will assist in the enrollment process.  Every student enrolled in public school must have a  Home Language Survey (HLS) completed by the parents.  If the answer to any of these three questions is a language other than English, the student is given a language proficiency screen test called the W-APT. W-APT Policy and Procedures 

  1. What is the first language the child learned to speak?
  2. What language does the child speak most often?
  3. What language is spoken most often in the home?

(Note:  If there is any doubt regarding the home language, ESL staff will interview the parent to gain additional information and document it on the form.)

English Language Proficiency (ELP) Testing

Parents shall be informed within 10 days of the W-APT results and whether the student qualifies for ESL services and/or testing accommodations.

All students identified as LEP (Limited English Proficient) shall  be tested annually in the spring on the ACCESS English proficiency test. To test out, the student must score at least 4 on both Reading and Writing sections, and score at least 4.8 on the Composite.  (For more information on what the ACCESS tests measure, go to English Language Development Standards.)

The parents may opt out of types of ESL services and they may refuse testing accommodations for their child; however, the student must take the annual ACCESS test until test results indicate full proficiency.

Instruction – Language and Content

The whole school, not just the ESL teacher, is responsible for the effective instruction of all ELLs.  This website is designed to assist all teachers in meeting that goal.

Placement and Services

All students identified as LEP based on  W-APT or ACCESS scores receive specialized instruction at varying levels of intensity and frequency.  Each school decides on the instructional model(s) based on current student needs at each grade level and in accordance with the Dare County Schools’ Language Instruction Educational Plan (LIEP).  Parents are informed annually of their right to opt out of types of ESL services.

Classroom Modifications and Testing Accommodations

Until ELLs reach proficiency in all four domains – Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing – they are entitled to Classroom Modifications (this list includes all modifications available).  Specific modifications are designated for each student (when applicable) and are signed off by the classroom teacher, the ESL teacher, and the school principal.  If the student scored below a 5 in Reading on the most recent ACCESS results, the modifications may include Testing Accommodations on standardized tests.  These modifications may be changed during the school year according to the student’s best instructional interests but all testing accommodations must be identified and used regularly in the classroom at least 30 days prior to the standardized test administration.

One approved testing accommodation is the use of a word to word bilingual dictionary.  This is only useful for students who have developed literacy skills in their first language.  Here is a list of word to word dictionaries sorted by language.

Monitoring ELL Progress

Federal law requires that all ELLs be monitored for two years after exiting LEP status to assure that they are succeeding academically at their current grade level.   Monitoring forms are given to the classroom teachers twice a year so they may evaluate each student’s academic progress in the four language domains (Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing) as well as overall school performance.  In addition, Dare County Schools elects to monitor current ELLs twice a year to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction and to determine if ESL services need to be increased or decreased in intensity.  Kinder Sample Monitoring Form;  Grades 1-2 Sample Monitoring Form;  Grades 3-5 Sample Monitoring Form;  Grades 6-8 Sample Monitoring Form;  Grades 9-12 Sample Monitoring Form.

Record Keeping

Copies of all English proficiency test results, parental notifications, standardized test accommodations, and classroom modifications will be kept in each student’s cumulative folder.

Contact me 

I welcome suggestions for other resources to be included in this site.  Please use my contact form or email me directly at




Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Skip to toolbar