English Learner Program
Did you know that nearly 7% of Harte’s students are English learners? Our students speak a wide variety of languages; including Spanish, Armenian, and Tagalog. What an amazing opportunity for our Harte students to experience a wide variety of languages and cultures!
How are students identified to take the English language proficiency test?
California requires parents to complete a Home Language Survey when enrolling their children in California schools. If a language other than English is listed to #1, #2, or #3 below, and this is the first time the child is enrolling in a California public school, he or she will be given the Initial English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC). If your child was enrolled in another California public school, we will contact that school to find out the previous language designation results.
These are the questions on the Home Language Survey (in the enrollment paperwork):
- What language did this student learn when first beginning to talk?
- What language does this student most frequently speak at home?
- What language do you (parents/guardians) use most frequently to speak to this student?
- What language do adults speak at home most often (including parents, guardians, grandparents, or any other adults)?
What assessment is used, when is it given, and who administers it?
Beginning in 2017–18, the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) is the required state test for English language proficiency that must be given to students whose primary language is a language other than English, as identified above.
State and federal law require that we administer a state test of English Language proficiency to eligible students in kindergarten through grade twelve. The ELPAC is comprised of two assessments:
- Initial Assessment (IA)—an initial identification of students as English learners. Given within the first 30 days of attendance at a California school.
- Summative Assessment (SA)—an annual summative assessment to measure an English learner's progress in learning English and to identify the student's ELP level. Given annually during the February to May testing window until reclassification.
More about the ELPAC can be found at the following website: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ep/
A parent guide to understanding the ELPAC can be found at the following website:
The ELPAC is given by trained BUSD personnel and measures the student's ability to listen, speak, read, and write in English. The District sends parents the official English language proficiency results within 30 days of receiving them from the state scoring service.
How are the English language proficiency assessment results used?
A student is identified as an English learner if he or she does not score at a proficient level on the Initial Assessment. Students who score at a proficient level on the Initial Assessment are not identified as English Learners.
What services are there to support English Learners?
Identifying students who need additional support learning in English is important to help them do well in school and access the full grade level curriculum. English Language Development (ELD) is a structured method of teaching in English that builds vocabulary, comprehension and fluency skills. Classroom teachers and ELD Instructional Assistants work with small groups of students who are learning English to improve their level of proficiency.
ELD is provided 20 minutes per day in Kindergarten and 30 minutes per day in 1st-5th utilizing Benchmark AdvanceEnglish Language Arts/English Language Development curriculum and supplementary resources. In addition, newcomer English learners additional ELD support to springboard them to accessing the curriculum more quickly.
Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE) is a specific method of teaching grade-level content (i.e. social studies, science, math, etc.) that helps English learners master content skills as they improve their English proficiency. All classroom teachers in BUSD are required to have special training and to practice SDAIE teaching strategies with English learners in their regular education classes, and many teachers are Project GLAD trained. GLAD strategies are used to help English learners and all learners access the content.
What is reclassification?
Reclassification is when an English Learner is reclassified as a Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) student after meeting various linguistic and academic criteria set by the state and district. California Education Code Section 313[f] identifies four required criteria for reclassification, but also allows for other measures to be included. The four required criteria are:
1. Assessment of language proficiency, using an objective assessment instrument, including but not limited to, theEnglish Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC)
2. Teacher evaluation, including but not limited to, a review of the student’s curriculum mastery
3. Parent opinion and consultation
4. Comparison of student performance in basic skills against an empirically established range of performance in basic skills based on the performance of English proficient students of the same age. Burbank Unified School District has developed student reclassification policy and procedures based on criteria set forth by California Department of Education (CDE) guidelines.
Students in BUSD who enter at a Beginning/Emerging proficiency level can expect to exit the program (be reclassified) within 5-7 years, although many exit before that. Please speak with our school’s ELD Specialist, Kirsten Jackson, regarding your child’s grade level reclassification criteria.
English Language Advisory Committee (ELAC)
All parents of English learners are encouraged to participate in our school site ELAC and District ELAC (DELAC). These groups provide valuable input for ongoing program improvement. They additionally receive information about ways to help their children at home, curriculum, instruction, program evaluation, and budget.
For DELAC and other district wide ELD information, please check out the link on the BUSD main page under Parents and Students, and then go to English Learners.
For more information or if you have questions, please email Harte’s ELD Specialist: Kirsten Jackson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.