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District English Learner 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), also known as English Language Learners (ELLs) and Multi-Language Learners (MLs).

Prepared by Gary Giblin, District ESL Program Coordinator
Updated February 2024

History of English Learners (ELs) in the District:
The Winton Woods City School district comprises 3 campuses: North Campus (Winton Woods High School Grades 9-12 and Winton Woods Middle School Grades 7-8), South Campus (Grades 1-2, Grades 3-4 and Grades 5-6) and our Central Campus (Early Childhood Center Grades PK-K).  

The total student population is approximately 4000. The EL population as of the winter of 2024 was approximately 900. In 2020, the population EL was 745; in 2006  it was approximately 140.The trend is obviously toward growth.

The majority of ELs are Spanish speakers, who comprise approximately 65% of the total. Some of the other languages represented in the district are Arabic, Cambodian (Khmer), French, Fulani, Kinyarwanda, Mooré, 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 Opportunities 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 English as a Second Language  is provided by licensed, TESOL-endorsed teachers, following State Standards, using district-approved reading and grammar texts designed for second language learners. In all grades, beginning and intermediate ELs generally receive instruction in both content and language in sheltered classrooms following the SIOP® (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) model. In grades K-6, 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 the SIOP® model, guidance from the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce, (ODEW) 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, assessment and data collecting tools including Echo, Ellevation, and NWEA MAP, as well as conferences between ESL teachers and classroom teachers and/or administrators. A pass/fail system, emphasizing individual effort, participation and progress, is generally employed in place of letter grades for those ELs who have attended U.S. schools for less than three years.

Definition of English Learner:
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: ODEW).

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 Language Usage Survey (LUS) 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 LUS, the Enrollment Center notifies the District ESL Coordinator, who reviews the student's records and either (a) obtains the most recent Ohio English Language Proficiency (OELPA) scores from the sending school district or, if the student is coming from another state or country, (b) arranges for an initial screening of the student's English proficiency levels in the appropriate 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. The Ellevation platform 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 other pertinent demographic and testing data. District-wide data is accessible by the ESL Coordinator, the Technology Director, and the Directors of Teaching and Learning; individual school data is accessible by that building's teacher(s) and principals. 

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 teacher 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. Ellevation automatically translates the information into the language the parent/guardian has indicated as their preferred language in which to communicate with the school. The parent/guardian is requested to sign and return a portion of this form to acknowledge receipt of the notification. This information (test results and acknowledgment) is kept in the student's cumulative file in Ellevation.

If the parent/guardian wishes to decline ESL services for their child, the responsible ESL teacher will communicate the intent and goals of the ESL program to ensure parent/guardian understanding of the benefits of the ESL instructional program. If the parent/guardian still wishes to opt their child out of the program, the responsible teacher will provide the student’s classroom teachers with an EL Plan of suggested modifications and accommodations based on that student's levels of proficiency and time in the US. The classroom teacher(s) may also consult with the ESL specialist to devise strategies to make content more accessible to the EL, e.g., repeating directions, using graphics, pre-teaching vocabulary, etc., per the SIOP model. The student's progress will be monitored by the responsible ESL specialist and relevant teachers and the student will take part in the annual spring assessment of English proficiency (OELPA) that is given to all ELs.

Program of Services:
An individualized EL Plan of service will be 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 instructional and assessment modifications and accommodations appropriate for the individual student. 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 served by an ESL teacher on both an inclusion and pull-out basis (unless a parent or guardian has declined their child's participation in this program--see above.) 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 “mainstream level” (advanced or higher in three of four tested ESL domains) may not be scheduled for regular ESL instruction, although their academic performance is monitored so that intervention may be made in a timely manner if needed. 

In-house and outside professional development, as well as online materials and web resources elsewhere on this site, are provided to classroom teachers to help them better adapt both instruction and assessment to the proficiency levels of  their EL students. 

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

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), part of the district’s Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework, is also employed to evaluate student performance and determine whether other factors (e.g., a learning disability) may be hindering student progress.

Students with Disabilities:

Students with Disabilities (SWD) who are also English Learners are entitled to receive ESL services in addition to special education/intervention. 

The district follows state and federal guidance on identifying ELs with disabilities, specifically, Chapter 6 of the English Learner Toolkit, and these ODEW documents on identification and plans of service. Commencing this school year, ongoing training will be provided by HCESC to ESL and SWD staff to ensure compliance and that best practices are followed.

ELs with disabilities receive services in accordance with the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the English Learner Toolkit. ESL services include assigned classes and push-in/pull-out support. ESL teachers regularly consult with Intervention Specialists to review students' language goals, monitor progress, and adapt services as warranted.

Students with Interrupted or Intermittent Formal Education (SIFE):
SIFE students, also known as SLIFE (Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education), are older students who have missed three or more years of school in their home country; they are screened and classified as are all other potential English Learners. However, their service model differs if they qualify for ESL services. An ESL teacher who specializes in the instruction of  SIFE students instructs them not only in the acquisition of English as a second language, but also in the use of technology, adjusting to a new culture, and the basics of content they may have missed, such as math or science. 

Direct instruction in ESL is provided by 13 licensed teachers with TESOL endorsements per state guidelines. 16 ESL tutors and instructional assistants also support student learning in all grades.

Sheltered instruction is provided by teachers trained in the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) 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 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 Cengage National Geographic textbook series Inside and Edge are used in grades 6-12. Vista is used with newcomers in these ages. Supplementary materials, including Vista Higher Learning’s Get Ready! program for newcomers, Inside the U.S.A., Keys to Learning, Building Bridges, and Spin, are also employed throughout the grades as needed. These materials are specifically designed to develop literacy in ELs and other struggling readers.

Under the Ohio Accountability System for schools, a certain percentage of English Learners must show growth each year, i.e., make progress toward becoming proficient in English. The goal for Ohio English Learners in 2018-19 was 54%.  WWCS exceeded the percentage by 7%, with a total  of 61% of English Learners showing progress. Due to Covid-19, and the inability of many Ohio school districts to complete the annual assessment of English proficiency (see next section), the requirement to meet the EL growth target was waived for 2019-20. 

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. 

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 four additional years (see below). 

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

Monitoring Exited English Learners:
Winton Woods City Schools monitors the academic performance of former ELs for four years, per Ohio guidelines. To facilitate this process, the district uses Ellevation, a web-based platform that allows teachers and administrators to access EL test scores, track student progress and share pertinent information with other teachers. We believe that with the kind of collaboration that Ellevation facilitates both ESL and content teachers (Math, Language Arts, Science, et al.) will have a more direct and significant impact on student language acquisition and academic growth.  

As part of the monitoring process, all exited ELs are or will be progress-checked quarterly by their classroom teachers. (The program is being phased in.) Teachers provide feedback on academic progress and English language proficiency skills and make recommendations to either continue as currently or be recommended for possible additional ESL support. 

Reclassification (from non-EL to EL) is not currently a requirement of the Ohio Department of Education and is not undertaken as part of Winton Woods' four-year monitoring process. If a former EL's teachers, both ESL and regular classroom, determine that the student could benefit from additional services, parents will be notified and the student will receive additional language support in the classroom and may be scheduled for a period of ESL instruction.