English Language Learners
Union School District’s instruction for English Language Learners is a result of collaboration and commitment with and to all members of the school community. Our goal is to have students matriculate from Union School District with the academic and social skills and experiences that equip them to succeed in the global environment of the 21st century. It is our responsibility to meet this need and prepare our students for the challenges they will face.
USD also focuses on aspects of professional development to assist teachers and staff to work effectively with a diverse student population. In USD, all certificated staff (teachers) are required to have an English Language Learner authorization or hold a CLAD (Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development) credential.
District English Language Advisory Committee
DELAC is an important advisory committee of parents of English Language Learner (ELL) students from Union School District elementary and middle schools. The District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) meets 3 times per year with district administrators and staff to learn about, discuss and provide input on topics related to English Learners, such as:
EL student achievement
ELPAC testing and reclassification criteria
District programs and services
The importance of school attendance
District's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP)
Parent education classes and involvement
The annual EL parent survey and needs assessment
All parents are welcome and encouraged to attend our DELAC meetings to learn about our programs and services to support our English Learners. Meeting flyers and agendas are posted prior to the meeting.
Parent Outreach Programs - Information is sent to parents via the schools
Latino Literacy Project - A series of classes to support Latino parents improve literacy and language, and activities to engage parents and students in learning together
Rosetta Stone - Program to assist parents in learning to speak English
Active Parenting Workshop Series - Classes are offered for both elementary and middle school parents and cover topics such as parenting tips and strategies, common core curriculum, purpose of parenting, winning cooperation, prevention strategies, and more!
Assessing For English Language Proficiency
California requires all parents to complete a Home Language Survey when they register their children for school. The survey asks:
What language did this student learn when first beginning to talk?
What language do you use most frequently to speak to this student?
What language does this student most frequently use at home?
What language is most often spoken by the adults at home?
English Proficiency Testing Process
If the answer to any of the questions on the survey is a language other than English, federal and state laws require that the student’s English proficiency be evaluated. In California, this test is called the California English Language Development Test and is designed to monitor English language fluency in K-12 students whose home language is not English.
The results of this test determine if the student is an:
English Learner (EL) OR Initial Fluent English Proficient (IFEP)
If a student initially tests at an Early Advanced or Advanced level and has teacher and parent recommendation, the student can be classified as Initial Fluent English Proficient (IFEP). They are not classified as an English Learner.
If they do not test at an early advanced or advanced level they are classified as an English Learner (EL) and qualify for extra services through the school to help the become English Proficient.
California Ed Code (Sections 60810-60812) requires all students designated as English Learners (ELs) to take an English proficiency test yearly until they become proficient in English. Parents and guardians cannot remove (opt out) their children from this requirement.
ELPAC - English Language Proficiency Assessments for California
In the 2017-18 school year, California transitioned to a new English language proficiency assessment. ELPAC will be taking the place of CELDT. Between February and May, English Learners in all grades are assessed at their school site.
English Language Development
The goal of the English Language Development Program (ELD) in Union School District is to support English Learner (EL) students to rapidly develop grade-level English language proficiency by providing expert methodology, research based curriculum, and additional instructional time to practice these new skills. Research based instructional strategies help students develop the academic English skills needed to succeed in school.
Students will be placed in regular classrooms for the entire day, with the teachers providing extra support. Some English learners may receive additional support from designated support teachers or staff. English Learners may also be grouped by their same level of English proficiency for part of the day in order to receive differentiated ELD instruction. All programs at every grade level include designated time per day of level-appropriate English Language Development, as well as appropriate access to the core curriculum. The actual program of instruction a student receives is based on his/her English proficiency level.
Beginning and Early Intermediate
The primary focus for these students is:
basic vocabulary development
oral language skills
patterned reading/writing activities
phonemic awareness/basic phonics
foundational content area vocabulary, concepts, and skills
Some students at the lower range of the Intermediate level of English proficiency may receive extra instruction, in addition to what is offered in a regular classroom.
Intermediate, Early Advanced, and Advanced
The primary focus for these students is:
academic language and vocabulary development, including content area reading and writing skills
continued support for oral language skills
incorporation of sheltered instruction (SDAIE) strategies
These students will generally receive all of their instruction through the regular classroom program with the regular teacher providing any necessary support.
Part A of Title III is officially known as the English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement Act. Title III is a part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. It is specifically targeted to benefit English Learner (EL) children and immigrant youth.
School districts are expected to use Title III funding to create or further develop language instruction courses that help English Learner students meet academic standards. Districts who receive Title III funding are responsible for the yearly progress of their students with respect to development of language proficiency as well as meeting their grade-level academic standards.
EL students are measured against annual development objectives in order to receive funding. Districts are held accountable for the progress of EL and immigrant students through annual measurable achievement outcomes (AMAOs): the number of EL students making sufficient progress in English acquisition, attaining English proficiency, and meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
Funding is typically used towards language instruction programs; however, funding may be used for a variety of purposes, including supplemental programs such as Rosetta Stone, and professional development for teachers. Funding is also allocated for teaching English to the parents and communities of EL children.
For more information on Title III and how it aligns to our District goals, see our adopted Local Control Agency Plan (LCAP).