Students are identified as possible English Learners (ELs) based on their response to the home language survey (HLS). Students who indicate that another language is spoken at home will be contacted by an ESL teacher in order to determine whether or not testing is necessary. The teacher will also contact the former district to find out former placement, test records, etc. If the teacher determines the student needs to be tested, the teacher will schedule a time for the WIDA ACCESS PLACEMENT TEST (W- APT ), which is aligned to the required annual State English Language Proficiency assessment (ACCESS for ELLs) to assess students for placement in an ESL class.
ESL Program Goals
The primary goal of ESL is to assist English Learners(ELs) in developing English language proficiency to meet state and district academic standards. A related goal is to prepare students to successfully and appropriately participate in all mainstream classes at grade level. To meet these goals, ESL instruction emphasizes the development of language proficiency for academic, as well as social purposes. Teachers strive to create a supportive, small-group setting in which ELs can learn about and begin to adjust to the U.S. school system and culture. The ultimate goal of ESL is to have students meet the state exit criteria and be able to thrive in a mainstream class environment.
Students are placed into courses based on their W-APT/WIDA ACCESS level and needs. This means they may be in a pull-out ESL course for English/Language Arts with an ESL teacher. Students at a higher level may be pushed in to the mainstream English/Language Arts at their grade level, while also attending a resource course with their teacher for needed support.
The criteria for exiting the ESL program is determined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in accordance with ESSA guidelines. This criteria can be found on the PDE website here: Reclassification, Monitoring, and Redesignation of ELs