In October of 2013, the MMSD Board of Education adopted a policy and procedures specific to the instruction of English Language Learners.  Links in the document below offer MMSD Staff the opportunity to find resources and guidelines pertaining to each policy item.  Additional questions can be answered by contacting the Office of Multilingual and Global Education.

BOE Policy - English Language Learners

The BOARD is committed to providing high quality and appropriate services to students who are identified as English Language Learners (ELL). The BOARD recognizes that students identified as ELL students are entitled to an effective instructional program and supportive services appropriate to meet their needs. ELL students shall also have full access to supportive services, such as language development and speech therapy, as may be available to other students in the DISTRICT provided such services are appropriate. The BOARD is also committed to engaging the parents/guardians of ELL students through outreach to, communication with and the inclusion of parents/guardians in educational decisions that affect their students.

BOE Procedure - English Language Learners

I. Definitions

A. English Language Learners: A student whose ability to use the English language is limited because of the use of a non-English language in his or her family or in his or her daily, non-school surroundings, and who has difficulty in performing ordinary classwork in English as a result of such limited English-language proficiency, also known as Limited English-Proficient (LEP) students.

B. Home Language Survey: The tool utilized to determine whether a language other than English is spoken in the home.

C. DPI-Approved English-Language Proficiency Assessment: Language proficiency assessment used to determine a student’s language proficiency level in English.

D. English Language Development Levels: Determined after administration of the annual English-language proficiency assessment, the levels span from Level 1 (Entering) to Level 6 (Reaching), which indicates that a student has achieved full proficiency and is no longer considered an ELL student. These scores can be used to:

  1.  Monitor student progress on an annual basis,
  2.  Establish when ELL students have attained English-language proficiency according to state and  federal criteria,
  3.  Inform classroom instruction and assessment, and
  4.  Aid in programmatic decision-making.

II. Identification of ELL Students

A. ELL students shall be identified annually using a home language survey and Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) approved English-language proficiency assessment. A student will be assessed using the DPI-approved English-language proficiency assessment if, through the home language survey, it is determined that:

  1. The student communicates in a language other than English,
  2. The student’s family uses a language other than English, OR
  3. The student uses a language other than English daily in non-school settings.


B. The DPI-approved English-language proficiency assessment shall be administered to eligible students shortly after enrollment. Students scoring at Level 1 through Level 5 on the English-language proficiency assessment shall qualify for English as a Second Language (ESL)/Bilingual education services. In addition, other factors may be considered to determine whether a student should be identified as an ELL student. Additional factors are:

  1. Prior academic records from within or outside of the United States,
  2. Course grades that indicate a lack of progress due to limited English-language skills, AND
  3. Information regarding actual classroom performance.
  4. Parents/guardians will be provided written notice of their child’s qualification for services in the language of preference for home correspondence (to the extent practicable).


D. Parents/guardians whose student qualifies for ESL/Bilingual education services shall be offered the opportunity to accept or decline those services using a permission/decline form.

E. If a parent/guardian declines ESL/Bilingual education services for their child, the student is still identified as an ELL student and is eligible for testing accommodations, as set forth below, and will be assessed annually for English-language proficiency. A parent/guardian who has previously declined services can choose to accept services at a later date if the student remains eligible.

F. Parents/guardians may appeal to the BOARD if, based on the results of the English-language proficiency assessment and consideration of the additional factors, a student is determined not to qualify for services as an ELL student.

G. Parents/guardians who believe their student was misidentified as an ELL student due to an error on the Home Language Survey must submit their concern in writing to the OFFICE OF MULTILINGUAL & GLOBAL EDUCATION.

III. Classification and Reclassification of ELL Students

Annually, all ELL students, regardless of whether they previously consented to services, shall be reassessed for their English-language proficiency using a DPI-approved English-language assessment. Each year, ELL students will be classified based on their language group, grade level, age and English-language proficiency level.

A student that is identified as being at Level 6 using DPI-approved English-language proficiency assessment shall be considered “Fully English Proficient.” A student that is reclassified as Fully English Proficient will no longer participate in the annual assessment for English-language proficiency, receive ELL testing accommodations on standardized tests and/or state assessment, or be eligible for ELL programming.

Parents/guardians shall be notified in writing if their student is reclassified as Fully English Proficient and exited from receiving ELL services. Students reclassified as Fully English Proficient shall be monitored for two years in order to ensure academic achievement without ELL services. Monitoring shall include the review of academic achievement data in math, reading and science, local assessment data, classroom performance data, and other indicators of English-language proficiency. The student’s reclassification may be cancelled if, at any time during the two-year monitoring period, the student’s English-language proficiency is in question.


IV. Programming and Support Services Available to ELL Students

The BOARD shall provide all qualifying ELL students an effective instructional program and support services designed to appropriately meet the student’s individual needs. ELL programming and support services shall reflect the student’s cultural background and shall meet the purpose of helping ELL students acquire English-language skills so that they may perform ordinary classroom work in English.
The level of programming and support services will be determined individually and be based on student need. Programming will be based on best-practice methods and may include English as a Second Language (ESL), bilingual education or dual-language approaches.


V. Assessment of Academic Achievement of ELL Students

ELL students shall be assessed for academic progress/performance in accordance with legal requirements and established DISTRICT guidelines. Students shall not be exempted from state-
required assessments based solely on their status as an ELL student. Decisions regarding the administration of a state-required assessment shall be made on a student-by-student basis after taking both English-language proficiency and academic data into consideration. An ELL student may only be exempted from a state-required assessment if it has been determined that even with allowable accommodations, the assessment will not serve as a reliable, valid indicator of the student’s academic knowledge and skills. An ELL student who is exempted from a state-required assessment must be provided a DPI-approved alternate assessment. Test results and/or an exemption from taking a state-required test shall not be used as the sole criterion for reclassification, determining grade promotion, eligibility for courses or programs, graduation or participation in post-secondary education opportunities. Such results shall be used in a manner that is consistent with DISTRICT policy and practices in making instructional, promotion and/or graduation decisions.

Parents/guardians shall be provided written notice of student assessment arrangements.

VI. Parental Notification

Parents/guardians have a right to be notified, in the language indicated in the language of preference for home correspondence (to the extent practicable), about their students’ services at multiple points:

A. Student Screener Evaluation: ELL placement decisions must have a timely, built-in process for notifying parents/guardians and obtaining their permission for placement in language instruction educational programming. Schools must notify parents/guardians of children identified for participation in such a program no more than 30 days after the start of the school year. For a child identified as in need of an English-language instruction educational program after the start of the school year, parents/guardians must be notified as soon as practicable but in no case more than two-weeks after placement in the program.

B. Parent/Guardian Permission and Decline of Services: Parents/guardians will be provided written communication that their student was screened for English-language proficiency, and that they qualify for services. Parents/guardians will have an opportunity to accept or decline services.
C. Notice of Assessment Arrangements and Accommodations: Parents/guardians of ELL students will receive information regarding state-required assessments in the same manner as the parents/guardians of non-ELL students.

D. Notice of Appeals: A parent/guardian may appeal a decision to not place a student in an English-language instruction program. A parent/guardian must file a written Notice of Appeal with the DISTRICT Clerk within 10 days after the school term begins. The BOARD will then hold a hearing on the question of placement.

E. Parent/Guardian Notification of Monitor Status: Parents/guardians will be provided written notification of the motion to move the student into “monitor” status once the student has reached English-Language Proficiency Level 6.

F. Parent/Guardian Notification of Exiting Programming: After the two-year monitoring period, if no additional services are necessary, parents/guardians will be provided written notification that their student is fully proficient in English and no longer requires support for academic work, and is, therefore, being exited from the ELL programming.