Students who have a language other than English present in their Home Language Survey (taken at enrollment) will be screened to see if they qualify for ESL services through a conversation and an assessment tool. This English language proficiency assessment is administered shortly after enrollment to determine the level of English proficiency. If a student scores at DPI (Department of Public Instruction) levels 1-5, the student qualifies for ESL/Bilingual education services. If a student scores a DPI level 6, the student is determined fully English proficient and does not qualify for ESL/Bilingual education services. 

Notification and Consent

Teachers report the student's level of English proficiency to families. After families have been given information about ESL/Bilingual education, they have the right to either accept or decline these services. Families also have the right to change their decision at any time during the student's career in MMSD. Schools are required to notify families of English proficiency status yearly (WI State Statute 115.96(2/3).

Bilingual/Bicultural Program Requirements

If any school, within a school district in Wisconsin, has 10 Limited English Proficient students speaking the same non-English language at grades K-3, 20 students at grades 4-8, or 20 students at grades 9-12, the district must design a program and prepare a formal plan of services (PI-1849) to meet the needs of these students. The statute requires all such programs to be staffed by licensed bilingual teachers. When bilingual licensed teachers are not available, ESL licensed teachers may be used with bilingual teacher aides except in programs serving Spanish speakers. The obligation to maintain a state approved bilingual-bicultural program (WI State Statute 115.97) for students begins when any one of the three grade cluster "trigger" numbers is reached within a single school building. Districts may combine student numbers across different schools to meet the minimum threshold for state-assistance, but this is not an obligation.

Pupil Nondiscrimination

Under this law, no student may be denied admission to any public school, be denied participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be discriminated against in any school-related activity or program on the basis of the student's sex, race, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation or physical, mental, emotional or learning disability. This law, like its federal counterparts, requires that every student receive an equitable educational opportunity. In order to meet this requirement, language barriers must be overcome or removed.

 Federal No Child Left Behind Act  (NCLB)

Public Law 107-110-January 2002    115 Stat. 1425

Section 3302:  Parental Notification Requirements under Title III-A, NCLB, for Eligible Entities (Consolidated and Consortia Applications) Receiving Title III-A Funds


To inform parent or parents that their child has been identified as limited-English proficient and is/will be participating in a language instruction educational program

 A child shall not be admitted to, or excluded from, any federally assisted education program on the basis of a surname or language-minority status

WHEN Not later than 30 days after the beginning of the school year


  • For a child not identified as in need of program prior to the beginning of the school year, parental notification shall be made within 2 weeks of the child being placed in a program
WHAT –  in general, notification to include:
  • Reasons for the identification as LEP and in need of placement
  • Child’s level of English proficiency
  • How such level was assessed
  • Status of child’s academic achievement
  • Method of instruction used in program (to be) provided
  • Methods of instruction used in other available programs (to include how they differ in content, instruction goals, and use of English and a native language in instruction
  • How program will meet the educational strengths and needs of the child
  • How program will specifically help their child learn English
  • How program will specifically help their child meet age appropriate academic standards for grade promotion and graduation
  • Specific exit requirements for program
  • Expected rate of transition from program into “regular/mainstream” classrooms
  • Expected rate of graduation from secondary schools (when T3 funds used for children in secondary schools)
  • For child with disability: how program meets objectives of the IEP
  • Rights to have child immediately removed from program upon their request
  • Options to decline to enroll child in program or to choose another program or method of instruction if available
  • Required when the language instruction educational program has failed to make progress on the annual measurable achievement objectives (AMAO)
  • Not later than 30 days after such failure occurs
  • Information to be provided in an understandable and uniform format and, to the extent practicable, in a language that the parent can understand
  • LEAs shall implement an effective means of outreach to parents of LEP students to inform them how they can
    a. be involved in the education of their children
    b. be active participants in assisting their child to learn English, to achieve at high levels in core academic        subjects, and to meet the same challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards as all children are expected to meet.
  • This outreach shall include holding, and sending notice of opportunities for, regular meetings for the purpose of formulating and responding to recommendations from parents of LEP students
  • LEAs shall assist parents to select among various programs and methods of instruction, if more than one program or method is offered

Taken from: The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction bulletin, Legal Responsibilities When Serving Limited-English Proficient (LEP) Students in K-12 Public Schools found on the world wide web at: https://dpi.wi.gov/english-learners/legal-requirements

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