English Language Learners (ELLs) have varying levels of English language proficiency (ELP), all types of educational experience, and one or more home language and culture. ESL support is tailored to individual student need based on his/her grade level and ELP level (known as DPI Level). The following examples describe different types of ESL support.
Instruction in the General Education Classroom with ESL and Native Language Support
This type of service delivery is offered to students who are English language learners at all grade levels and at varying levels of English language development. Assistance may be offered in specific content areas or in instructional areas, such as literacy. This support is provided in a general education setting by an English as a Second Language (ESL) certified teacher or a Bilingual Resource Teacher (BRT) certified in bilingual education in collaboration with the general education teacher. Primary language support can be provided by a BRT or a Bilingual Resource Specialist (BRS). A BRS provides primary language and cultural support and works closely with ELL families, serving as an interpreter, translator, and cultural broker. This support helps students access grade level the content, skills, vocabulary and academic language to be successful in school.
Effective ESL programs result in increased access to core instruction and increased English proficiency.
ESL Academic Content Class
These classes are for students who have newly arrived to the U.S. or are in the early stages of developing English and are designed to help students to increase their English skills and learn academic topics at the same time. Teachers adjust the level and quantity of English so students can access the materials. In these classes, all students are ELLs and are taught subjects, such as math, science, social studies or language arts, by ESL certified teachers. For the rest of the students' day, they are in classes with other native English speaking students, so they are a part of the school community and continue to develop English from others. Content based classes occur mainly at the secondary level.
Before ELL students graduate from ESL and bilingual education programs, they are monitored for two years. Monitor-status students have tested at an advanced level of English ability and are no longer in ESL programs and are fully integrated into the general education curriculum. The ESL and bilingual teachers closely watch the student’s academic growth and work with the general education teachers to see how the student is doing. ESL and bilingual staff also help classroom teachers to learn ways for teaching ELLs. After two years, if students have had academic success, they leave ELL programming and no longer need to be tested on their English abilities each year.