English Language Learner (ELL) Program
The Essex Westford School District is committed to supporting the academic and social needs of all English Language Learners (ELL) attending our schools and ensuring that ELL students can participate meaningfully and equally in educational programs.
An ELL student is a student with a home language other than English and who is limited English language proficient based on results from an English language proficiency assessment approved by the state of Vermont.
Historically terms have been used to describe the ELL students, including English as a Second Language (ESL), Limited English Proficiency (LEP), English Learner (EL) and English Language Program (ELP). The EWSD ELL Program is inclusive of students who fall into all of these categories.
Download a copy of the full Essex Westford School District Lau Plan.
Eligibility for English Language Learner (ELL) Services:
Students are determined to be eligible for ELL Services through a screening and identification process and outlined by specific exit and entry requirements established by the Vermont Agency of Education.
- At the time of registration, parents/guardians of each new student will complete the Primary Home Language Survey. If any other language is indicated on the Survey, the ELL teacher assigned to that school is notified and provided with a copy of the Survey.
- The ELL teacher assigned to the student’s school will review the survey, conduct any necessary interview and/or testing, and complete the EWSD Screening Form for English Language Learner (ELL) Student Identification which can be found in the full EWSD Lau Plan (below).
- If it is determined that this student is an ELL student, the ELL teacher will develop an ELL Student Service Plan which outlines the nature and frequency of ELL services provided to the student that year. The Service Plan will be revisited throughout the year and may be revised to meet the changing needs of the student. Parents/guardians will receive notification of assessment results and ELL status determination, as well as a copy of the ELL Student Service Plan (if applicable). Parents will be given an opportunity to ask questions or share their concerns.
Based on the screening and identification process, ELL students fall into one of three categories:
- Current ELL – An ELL student who qualified and is receiving services.
- Monitoring – An ELL student who has passed the ACCESS test must be, per VT regulations, monitored by a qualified ELL teacher for two years prior to fully exiting the program. Students are listed as Monitoring Year 1 (MY1) or Monitoring Year 2 (MY2). During this time, ELL teachers will review student academic records, assessment results and consult with teachers to ensure that the student’s academic progress is not being hindered by language proficiency.
- Exited – Following two years of monitoring an ELL students will exit the ELL program.
English Language Learner (ELL) Standards:
Vermont is a member of the WIDA Consortium. ELL instruction and Assessment Programs in Vermont are aligned with the WIDA Standards. To learn more about the Standards and the WIDA Consortium visit the WIDA site. The WIDA standards include “Can Do” Indicators for each grade level which outline what a student at each language proficiency level should know and be able to do.
Participation in State Assessments:
Vermont regulations require that an ELL student continue with ELL programming until he or she passes the state ACCESS for ELLs assessment or the school determines that the student is eligible to exit services based on other compelling local assessment data.
ELL students are required to take all other state assessments unless he or she qualifies for an exemption as outlined by state or federal regulations. For example, currently newcomer ELL students are exempt from participation in the state assessment SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) for English Language Arts if they have moved into the U.S. within one calendar year of the assessment window. The student is, however, required to take the state math and science assessment.
English Language Learner Program Staff:
Students who are English Language Learners (ELLs) in grades K-12 are provided with a comprehensive ELL Program that is staffed by highly qualified ELL teachers. These teachers focus on meeting the needs of all students in the program in two areas: becoming proficient in the English language and adjusting to the school and community culture. Below are the list of the EWSD ELL staff:
- District English Language Learner Coordinator: Jackie Tolman
- English Language Learner Teachers:
- Rachel Rosenblum (Founders Memorial School)
- Sophie Larson (Founders Memorial School)
- Kayla Johnson (Essex Middle School)
- Meghan Fahey (Essex Elementary School)
- Terri Geffert (Hiawatha Elementary School)
- Kristina Natal (Summit Street School)
- Magdalena Lucia (Thomas Fleming School and Westford Elementary School))
- Deb Cherson (Albert D. Lawton School)
- Christina Sealey (Essex High School)
- Marina Brzostoski. Cynthia Yopp (Center for Technology Essex)
- Nepali-speaking Liaison: Prem Bhatttarai
- Maay-Maay/Somali-Somali Liaison: Noor Bulle
- Translation Services: Eliane Barrett & Jackie Tolman
- School Based Liasion to the Office of Instruction - Christine Sealey