ELD: English Language Development

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Background and Overview

The Carlisle Area School District is home to students from multiple linguistic backgrounds including immigrants as well as children of international fellows of the Army War College.  The education of students whose dominant language is not English and who are identified as English Learners (ELs) is the responsibility of every Local Education Agency (LEA). Title 22, Chapter 4, Section 4.26 of the Curriculum Regulations requires the LEA to provide a program for every student who is an EL.

The goal of the Carlisle Area School District Language Instruction Educational Program (LIEP) is to facilitate the development and attainment of English proficiency and academic achievement of students whose native or first language is not English. Without instruction in social and academic English and appropriate support for learning academic content, these students are at risk of losing the educational opportunities provided to non-EL students.

English Language Development (ELD) is a required component of an LIEP.  ELD takes place daily throughout the day for ELs and is delivered by both English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers and non-ESL teachers.  ELD instruction delivered by a licensed ESL teacher is its own content area. ELD in this context is driven by language, but it draws from general education content as a vehicle for instruction in order to contextualize language learning. It must be codified in a dedicated and planned curriculum specifically designed to develop the English language proficiency of ELs so that they are able to use English in social and academic settings and access challenging academic standards. ELD instruction provides systematic, explicit, and sustained language instruction designed to prepare students for the general academic program by focusing, in meaningful and contextualized circumstances, on the academic language structures that underpin social and academic constructs.

In addition to ELD delivered by ESL teachers, ELD must be incorporated into all classes taught by non-ESL licensed teachers in which ELs are enrolled. These teachers are responsible for deliberately planning for and incorporating language instruction as well as supports, modifications, and accommodations needed to allow ELs to access the standards to which the course is aligned.

English Language Development Standards

Pennsylvania's English Language Development Standards for English Learners (ELDS for ELs) have been carefully developed to meet compliance with federal requirements.  The ELDS provide a framework for standards-based instructional and assessment planning for ELs so that they may attain English proficiency, develop high levels of academic attainment in English, and meet the same challenging academic content standards that all children are expected to meet.

Family Engagement/ Communication

To effectively meet the parent communication requirements mandated by federal law, the District maintains a Primary Home Language Other Than English (PHLOTE) list which includes the names, grades and home language of every non-English speaking family in the district.  This list is updated monthly during the school year and is utilized by district staff to guide their communication with families.  To facilitate this communication the District contracts a variety of telephonic and in-person interpreter services and has established policies and procedures for their use. 

In order to provide professional multilingual parent notification documents, the District makes use of the PDE Translations Library, an online school document translation site with PDE-approved translations of EL-Specific Education, General Education, Health Related and Special Education documents in the most represented languages in Pennsylvania.

District ELD Instructional Approach

The District provides English Language instruction by both EL-specific English-only instruction and Mixed classes with English-only support.  At the elementary level, all ELs receive English Language instruction in core content classes; Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies with a period of targeted ELD support only for ELs.  During this pull-out time, the ELD teacher teaches and reinforces specific language skills such as pronunciation, language usage, and decoding and comprehension strategies. At the secondary level, ELs receive English Language instruction in all their content classes where content-area teachers are responsible for modifying and adapting instruction and assessment. English Language/English Language Arts instruction is delivered through a Sheltered English program model by an ESL specialist who is also certified in grade-level English Language Arts.

Identification of EL Students 

At the time of enrollment, the Home Language Survey (HLS) is completed by all families entering the district.  If the HLS indicates a language other than English the complete record is reviewed by an ESL Specialist who determines the need for a family interview or screening for English language proficiency (ELP).  (When available, previous school records are reviewed prior to ELP screening for indications of ELP.)  [In the event of an extended school closure, a preliminary identification is conducted (via Zoom or similar platform) based on the WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test to assess Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking proficiency.]   Grade 1-12 students whose overall composite proficiency level is below 5.0 on the WIDA ScreenerTMare placed into the program.  Kindergarten students who have an oral composite score of 19 or lower on the Kindergarten WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (or between 20 and 24 oral composite score with reading score of ≤6 or writing score of ≤4) are also placed into the program.

Program of Services for ELs

The CASD ELD program helps ELs improve their proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing in English. Some states have similar instructional programs called English as a Second Language (ESL), English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) or English as a New Language (ENL). These programs aim to provide ELs with social and academic language skills as well as cultural aspects of English that are necessary for career and college readiness.

The CASD ELD program is a research-based, rigorous, student-centered program designed to promote academic literacy. The curriculum is aligned to the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s English Language Development (ELD) Standards and Pennsylvania’s Core Standards (PACS) for English Language Arts (ELA).  At the elementary level, ELs are pulled from their ELA block to work with the ESL teacher in a small group setting.  At the secondary level, ELs are scheduled for a sheltered ELD/ELA course that modifies and adapts the core ELA content to specifically meet the language proficiency levels of the ELs enrolled.

To effectively teach language through academic content, ESL teachers and classroom teachers work and plan together. Collaboration between ESL and classroom teachers is one of the best ways to serve ELs.  ELD is incorporated into all classes in which ELs are enrolled. These content-area/classroom teachers deliberately plan for and incorporate language instruction as well as supports, modifications, and accommodations needed to allow ELs to access the standards to which the course is aligned.

Staffing and Resources

In order to maximize the reach and impact of our ELD program, the District has centralized our K-8 ELD support resources to three elementary schools and one middle school.  Students who do not live in the attendance zone of one of these centralized schools are offered district transportation to and from school as long as they are enrolled as active ELs in our program.  As there is only one high school within the district, all ELD support services for 9-12 are housed there.  Each of our ELD Hub buildings as well as the high school has at least one full-time ESL specialist as well as a part-time aide.  

For EL students who have been identified for inclusion in a specialized program (AEDY, Life Skills, etc.) an Individualized English Learner Plan will be developed and facilitated by either a district or contracted ESL specialist.

Reclassification and Re-designation of ELs

An EL must demonstrate the ability to access challenging academic content and interact with others both academically and socially in an English language setting in order to be considered for reclassification as a Former English Learner (FEL).  Evidence of this ability is demonstrated by the student on the annual English language proficiency assessment, ACCESS for ELLs®, and gathered by teachers using standardized Language Use Inventories.  The inventories, which are completed by the ESL specialist and one content-area/classroom teacher, in conjunction with the ACCESS score combine for a reclassification score.  Students who have IEPs are also eligible for reclassification based on a rigorous examination of their ACCESS score and the input of a school-based team of experts on the student’s abilities and needs.