ESL-District EL Plan

Screening, Identifying, Placing, Supporting, Testing and Exiting English Learners

The district plan follows state and federal guidelines in providing service to English Learners (ELs), formerly called Limited English Proficient (LEP) students.

Prepared by Gary Giblin, District ESL Coordinator

Updated December 2018

History of English Learners (ELs) in the District: The Winton Woods City School district comprises one high school, one middle school and four grade-based elementary schools. Two new buildings, one for grades K-6 and the other for grades 7-12, are currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2021.

The total student population is approximately 3800. The EL population as of the winter of 2018 was approximately 655. Four years ago it was less than 500. During the 2005-06 school year it was approximately 140.The trend is obviously toward growth.

The majority of ELs are Spanish speakers, who comprise approximately 55% of the total. Some of the other languages represented in the district are Arabic, Cambodian (Khmer), French, Fulani, Kinyarwanda, Nepali (the number two language), Pohnpeian, Twi, Urdu and Vietnamese.

Mission Statement: Our goal is to provide high-quality instruction in English as a second language (ESL), as well as appropriate modifications and accommodations in the mainstream classroom, so that English Learners may develop the second language skills necessary to successfully achieve academically and socially in the United States.

Legal Bases: The Equal Educational Opportunity Act 1974; Lau v. Nichols 1974; Title VI, Civil Rights Act 1964; Title I and Title III, Every Student Succeeds Act 2015.

Educational Theory and Goals: Direct instruction in ESL is provided by licensed, TESOL-endorsed teachers, following State Standards, using district-approved reading and grammar texts designed for second language learners. In the primary, elementary and intermediate buildings, beginning and intermediate ELs receive instruction in both content and language in sheltered classrooms following the SIOP® (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) method. At the Intermediate School, ESL is taught on a pull-out and/or inclusion basis; at the Middle School and High School it is scheduled as a separate class, in addition to being offered on a pull-out or inclusion basis as needed. Modifications and accommodations in the classroom are based upon recommendations from the State of Ohio, the Departments of Education of neighboring states (e.g., Indiana), and best practices elucidated on a variety of educational websites. Progress of ELs in attaining both academic and language goals is monitored through various instructional and data collecting tools including Echo, Ellevation, and Collaborate, as well as conferences with classroom teachers. A pass/fail system, emphasizing individual effort, participation and progress, is employed in place of letter grades for those ELs who have attended U.S. schools for less than three years.

Definition of English Learner (formerly known as Limited English Proficient): A child who is an English Learner  is: between the ages of 3 and 21; enrolled in an elementary or secondary school; has a native/home language other than English, whether born in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico) or another country; and has such difficulty speaking, reading, writing or understanding English that the student may be unable to perform well enough in class or on state tests to meet expected state standards for achievement (Source: ODE Proficiency Rules).

General: The district follows state and federal guidelines in screening, classifying, servicing, testing, monitoring, and exiting students whose primary or home language is a language other than English.


The parent/guardian of every newly-enrolling student must complete a Home Language Usage Survey form adapted from that provided on the Ohio Department of Education's Lau Center website. The form is available in both English and Spanish and can be electronically translated to other languages as needed. This form becomes a part of the student's cumulative record. 

If a language other than English is indicated on the HLUS, the Enrollment Center notifies the District ESL Coordinator, who reviews the student's records and either (a) obtains English Language Proficiency scores from another school district (if available) or (b) arranges for an initial screening of the student's English proficiency levels in the relevant Winton Woods school. The only approved screening test is the Ohio English Language Proficiency Screener (OELPS), which measures proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing; it is an online assessment administered by an ESL teacher. Results of the assessment are then entered into Ellevation, the district's online data management system for English Learners. Ellevation also includes the student's classification as an English Learner (EL) or Non-English Learner (NEL), birth country, home language(s), time in U.S. schools, English language proficiency levels, date of birth, classroom accommodations, and and other pertinent demographic and testing data. District-wide data is accessible by the ESL Coordinator, the Technology Director, and the Executive Director of Teaching and Learning; individual school data is accessible by that building's teacher(s). 

Criteria for classification as EL are based on those issued by the State of Ohio in compliance with the Every Student Succeeds Act. A student must score at the Proficient level on the OELPS in order to be considered NEL.

Parent Notification:

If a student is classified as NEL, the parent/guardian is notified of test results by the responsible ESL teacher for that school and no further action is taken by the ESL department. If the student is classified as EL, the ESL instructor will send the parent/guardian the test results, a description of the ESL program being offered, and the time recommended for ESL instruction each week. This information is available in English, Spanish, Nepali and French. The parent/guardian must sign and return a portion of this form, either giving or denying permission for their child to receive ESL services. This information (test results and permission) is kept in the student's cumulative file.

If permission is denied, the responsible ESL teacher will send the EL student's classroom teachers an EL Plan of suggested modifications and accommodations based on that student's levels of proficiency and time in the US. The student's progress may be monitored by the responsible ESL specialist and the student will take part in the annual spring assessment of English proficiency given to all ELs.

Program of Services:

If permission is given, an individualized EL Plan of service is created for each EL student in grades K-12. The plan of service varies depending on the school and the child’s level of English language proficiency, but all EL Plans include modifications and accommodations appropriate to the individual student. In grades 1–4, emerging level students are generally placed in SIOP, or sheltered instruction, classrooms. SIOP teachers have been specially trained in developing lessons that incorporate both content and language goals. They employ a variety of strategies and techniques to modify instruction and assessment to better help ELs. Students in grades K-6 are also served by an ESL teacher on both an inclusion and pull-out basis. In grades 7-12, ELs are generally scheduled for regular ESL classes. These students are, to the extent practicable, grouped by grade and English language proficiency level. ELs at the lower levels of proficiency may also be served on an inclusion or pull-out basis. Students at the advanced level may not be scheduled for regular ESL instruction, although their academic performance is monitored so that intervention may be made in a timely manner as needed. In the high school, beginning level ELs are also scheduled for a combined ELA-ESL class taught by a specialist in both areas with tutors to support learning and instruction. 

Online materials and web resources elsewhere on this site are shared with classroom teachers to help them modify both instruction and assessment of their EL students. Training is also provided for classroom teachers to help them better modify instruction and assessment for EL students.

In addition, ESL tutors in grades K-12 also work with ELs on either a pull-out or push-in basis to help them develop both content and ESL competency.

Regular online monitoring of student performance permits timely intervention if an EL is in danger of failing one or more classes. When necessary, the ESL specialist will meet with classroom teachers to determine whether the reason for the failing grade is the result of a language barrier (in which case greater modification and accommodation may be necessary) or the result of student negligence (e.g., failure to turn in assigned work or follow other reasonable requests that take into account the student's level of proficiency in English). The Response to Intervention model (RtI) is also employed to evaluate student performance and determine whether other factors (e.g., a learning disability) may be hindering student progress.


Direct instruction in ESL is provided by eleven licensed teachers with TESOL endorsements per state guidelines. Nine ESL tutors also support student learning in grades K-12.

Sheltered instruction is provided by teachers trained in the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol method.

Staff training and development is provided through in-services and workshops during the year, as well as off-site conferences and workshops.


Each school has an at least two ESL resource rooms or classrooms. These rooms contain a variety of technology, texts, fiction, games, maps and, where appropriate, realia. The texts are specifically designed for ESL students, teaching them how to read, write and research, as well as about the fundamentals of English grammar.

The Pearson Longman Cornerstone/Keystone series serves as the principal ESL text in grades 1-12, along with National Geographic's Edge series in the high school. Supplementary materials, including Inside the U.S.A., Keys to Learning, Building Bridges, and Spin are also employed in grades K-12. These materials are specifically designed to develop literacy in ELs and other struggling readers.


All EL students are given an annual assessment of English language proficiency. Currently, in the State of Ohio, ELs in grades K-12 are given the online Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA) during the months of February and March. (Grades K-1 take an additional portion of the test using paper and pencil.)

When an EL student achieves a composite score of Level 3 (Proficient) on OELPA, that student is exited from the ESL program. In order to help ensure academic success in the classroom, exited students are monitored by their ESL teachers for two additional years. If necessary, these students may be offered additional ESL support.

 The other levels are Emerging and Proficient. Guidance on the exit criteria for those students may be found here.