• English Learners Program


    30% of Washington’s students are English Learners. Our students speak a wide variety of home languages. The majority of our English Learners speak Spanish (70%), followed by Armenian (12%), Arabic (7%), and Tagalog (4%). Other home languages include Korean, Hindi, and Thai.

    What services are available at Washington to help students learning English as a Second language?

    English Language Development (ELD) is a specific method of teaching in English to build vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency in the English language. ELD specialists and classroom teachers work with groups of students who have limited English language proficiency as appropriate to each child's level of proficiency.

    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 as second language learners to master the California content Standards.

    All classroom teachers at Washington are required to have special training and to practice SDAIE teaching strategies with English learners in their regular education classes.

    How are results from the CELDT reported and used? 
    One of five levels of English proficiency is reported from the results of the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) in the areas of listening/speaking, reading, and writing:
    • Beginning
    • Early Intermediate
    • Intermediate
    • Early Advanced
    • Advanced
    Children are tested on the CELDT upon entering BUSD and then annually thereafter to assess English language proficiency and individual progress over the years. Parents are given the results of these tests within 30 days of their receipt from the scoring service. The CELDT as well as other measures (grades observations, classroom work samples, and standardized tests, etc.) are used to determine the child's class placement. Teachers, parents, and specialists work together in making important educational program decisions.

    How do schools decide eligibility for services? 
    California requires all parents to complete a Home Language Survey when registering children at Washington. The survey asks:
    1. What language did this student learn when first beginning to talk?
    2. What language do you use most frequently to speak to this student?
    3. What language does this student most frequently use at home?
    4. What language do adults speak at home most often?

    If the answer to the first three questions on the survey is a language other than English, the child must take the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) as well as other measures to determine the child's English proficiency level. By law, a parent cannot opt their child out of this testing. Only trained examiners administer the CELDT to test listening and speaking in grades K-1. In grades 2-12, the test additionally evaluates reading and writing.