ELD Instructional Program
The District’s ELL program is an English as a second language program, and the language of instruction is English. The native or primary language may be used for purposes of clarification of concepts and/or instructions.
The ELL teachers plan their instruction according to the needs of the students and their English language development level. Their core instruction is based on the curriculum standards and the English Language Development Standards.
The English language learner program is designed to enable ELLs to access mainstream curriculum and to achieve their personal best in the school setting as well as to become responsible citizens in the local, national, and worldwide community. Learners can best meet this goal through a standards-based curriculum which is aligned to the students' English language development levels.
The English language development levels are based on the WIDA English Language Development Levels and PDE's English Language Standards. PDE's Standards Aligned System (SAS) ELL Overlay is instrumental in ensuring that instruction is standards based and of high academic quality.
Learners receive direct instruction using realia, vocabulary, graphic organizers, and other tangible means of communication. ELL teachers model strategies, allow students time to practice concepts, and reinforce academic standards. Instruction is based on Pennsylvania’s academic standards, the WIDA English Language Development Standards, and District standards.
- The ELL program follows a curriculum, which is based on PDE’s English Language Development Standards* and PDE’s standards for different curricular areas.
- PDE’s ELL Overlay for the SAS helps classroom teachers align instruction to the standards.
- WCASD has a newcomer curriculum for elementary students and for secondary students. Simplified checklists for the newcomer curriculum for elementary and secondary are posted here:
- The ELL Instructional Framework provides information and a rationale for the curriculum. The ELL Instructional Framework is posted here.
Instructional Time: Instructional times for ELL are based on PDE’s BEC for English Language Learners and on the scheduling options at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. This information is in PDE’s BEC, Basic Educational Circular.
- Level 1/Level 2 (Entering/Emerging): Two hours per day. This instruction may be a combination of instruction with the ELL teacher, reading specialist, and classroom teacher. When working with an ELL student, the teachers will all use strategies appropriate for English language learners.
- Level 3 (Developing): One to two hours per day. This instruction may be a combination of instruction with the ELL teacher, reading specialist, and classroom teacher. When working with an ELL student, the teachers will all use strategies appropriate for English language learners.
- Level 4 (Expanding): One hour per day. This instruction may be a combination of instruction with the ELL teacher, reading specialist, and classroom teacher. When working with an ELL student, the teachers will all use strategies appropriate for English language learners.
- Level 5 (Bridging): Up to one hour per day. This instruction may be as the student needs to dictate. When working with an ELL student, the teachers will all use strategies appropriate for English language learners.
Instructional Time Allocation at Different Grade Spans/Levels:
- Elementary Level: At the elementary level, the time with the different teachers will be reached in a collaborative manner always keeping in mind the English acquisition needs of the ELL. Instruction may be targeted, push-in, pull-out, content based and academically oriented.
- Middle School: At the middle school level, children are scheduled into an ELL class or classes as their needs dictate.
- High School: At the high school level, children are scheduled into an ELL class or classes as their needs dictate.
Exiting Students from the ELL Program:
- WCASD exits ELL students from the ELL program using criteria set by the state. That criteria uses multiple measures, and they include the following:
- Composite score on the WIDA-Access Assessment
- PSSA scores
- Input from teachers
- Exiting Dually Identified Children (SPED and ELL):
- Unless ELL children enter the school district with an IEP from another school district, they are usually identified as being an English language learner before they are identified as needing special education services.
- The WCASD has protocols for identifying ELL children who might also need special education services. These protocols may be found here.*
- ELL children may receive both special education services and English language learner services at the same time.
- The Child Study Team follows the Child Study Team Flow Chart and the protocols are followed within this context.
- WIDA-Apt: The WIDA-APT is the screening tool recommended by PDE for initial entry into the program.
WIDA-Access: The WIDA-Access is PDE’s standardized, state-wide test that assesses the progress of English language learners on an annual basis. Every ELL K-12 who is receiving direct instruction in the ELL Program participates in the WIDA-Access.
PSSA, PASA, Keystones: ELLs who are in their first year of instruction participate in the Math and Science PSSA and/or Keystones. Beginning in their second year of instruction, ELLs will participate in these statewide standardized assessments in Reading, Mathematics, Science, and Writing. They participate with the specific accommodations that are allowed for English language learners.
- All Other Assessments: ELLs participate in all other assessments given in their schools. They may participate with accommodations as their English language proficiency allows.
Student Participation in Related and Extracurricular Activities:
Ells are encouraged to participate in any related school activities and extracurricular activities that interest them. For example, ELLs play sports, participate in theater programs, clubs, school international days, as well as any and all programs that all students have access to. English language learners are eligible for any scholarships for which they qualify. They also receive recognition from any community organizations just as all other students receive recognition.
- Special Education Services: Special Education Services are available for students with demonstrated need. The district has a structured pre-referral process for ELLs. The district continues to conduct on-going staff development in the area of ELLs and special education.
- Counseling: Guidance counselors are available in every school in the District.
- Caseworkers: The district employs caseworkers, some of whom are bilingual. This staff facilitates the home/school connection and communication.
- Gifted Services: Gifted Services are available for students who qualify for the gifted program.
- Health: Nurses are available in every school in the District.