Overview: English Language Learners
English Language Learners (ELLs) are students whose primary language is not English. Pennsylvania schools are required to provide programming for ELLs under federal law and under Title 22, Chapter 4, Section 4.26 of the Pennsylvania Curriculum Regulations. Following federal law and state mandates, RCCS provides programming for ELLs in grades K-12.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) provides more information on ELLs on their webpage: Educating English Learners.
Screening, Identification, and Placement
RCCS adheres to the screening, identification, and placement procedures for ELLS set forth by the state of Pennsylvania. The state requires these procedures to be completed within the first 30 days of school or within 14 days of enrollment if a student enrolls after the first day of school.
The English as a Second Language (ESL) Department at RCCS, screens incoming students for potential eligibility into the ESL program using a Home Language Survey (HLS). This survey is provided to all families upon registration at RCCS. For incoming students with prior school experience in the U.S., academic records will be reviewed to determine if a student was already screened for ESL services and/or enrolled in an ESL program in their previous school.
After examining a student’s HLS and/or prior academic records, RCCS utilizes the WIDA-Screener to determine a student’s initial proficiency level with the English language. This information determines if a student will be identified as an ELL and if there is a need for ESL programming.
If a student is identified as an ELL eligible for ESL programming, a notification letter will be sent home to the student’s family.
To learn more about the WIDA-Screener use the following link: https://wida.wisc.edu/
The ESL Program at RCCS
RCCS recognizes and supports the linguistic, cultural, and academic needs of ELLs. ELLs receive instruction from ESL teachers as well as from content-area teachers. In accordance with PA regulations, all teachers of ELLs adhere to PA Academic Standards as well as Standards for English Language Development (PA ELDS) when designing and implementing instruction for ELLs. In addition to this, content-area teachers provide ELLs with accommodations/modifications when applicable, that are appropriate to a student’s English language proficiency level.Click here to access the PA ELDs
Once placed in ESL programming, the proficiency level of a student’s English language skills must be assessed annually. In accordance with federal law, ELLs at RCCS are assessed using the WIDA-ACCESS test. This test provides information on an ELL’s proficiency levels in English in the four domains of language: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
A student identified as an ELL will continue to receive ESL programming throughout their K-12 school experience at RCCS until they meet specific criteria that allows them to “exit” the program and be re-classified as a Former English Learner (FELs). Once re-classified as a Fels, a student will be monitored by the ESL Department for two years. “Exit” or reclassification criteria refers to the scores of multiple assessment measures including a student’s score on the WIDA-ACCESS test.
Online Learning Tools for Families and Studentshttp://www.colorincolorado.org/
Little Explorers® Picture Dictionary
Online Informational Resources for Families and StudentsThe English Learner Family Toolkit
The College Transition Guide for ESL Students