ENGLISH LEARNER PROGRAMS - OVERVIEW
What programs does the district provide for English learners?
All English learners receive instruction at their English proficiency level that will support them in learning both social and academic English, as wEL as the information and the skills they need to eventually meet grade level content area standards. In some situations, they may be placed in classrooms with students at their same level of English proficiency for part of the day. In some situations, they may be placed in regular classrooms for the entire day, with the teachers providing extra support. All programs at every grade level include daily level-appropriate English Language Development, as wEL as appropriate access to the core curriculum. The actual program of instruction a student receives is based on his/her English proficiency level. If you have any questions about the English learner program services your child is receiving, you may contact their classroom teacher.
Structured English Immersion
Most EL students are placed in a Structured English Immersion (SEI) Program, where depending upon their proficiency level, the focus is on:
- academic language and vocabulary development, including content area reading and writing skills
- foundational content area vocabulary, concepts, and skills
- support for oral language skills
- incorporation of sheltered instruction (SDAIE) strategies (see section on sheltered/SDAIE instruction)
All English learners are automatically placed in English-only instruction. If parents choose to do so, they may request that their child participate in one of our dual language programs, where instruction is currently offered in both English and Spanish or English and Mandarin.
English Learners in Special Education Programs (students with disabilities)
The program for identified English learners who also have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is determined by the IEP team.
At any time, a parent may request to opt out of the school district’s language acquisition program or out of particular English learner services within a language acquisition program. However, the district remains obligated to assess the student annually to determine their progress towards reclassification, inform the parent when progress is not made, and offer programs and services to consider at that time.
If a parent is interested in a different program from those listed above, please contact the English Learner Program Coordinator at your school site. Alternative programs will be provided, to the extent possible, if the parents or legal guardians of 30 students or more per school, or the parents or legal guardians of 20 or more students at one grade level at the same school request the alternative program. Parents may also provide input regarding language acquisition programs during the development of the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).
Are English learners allowed to participate in other specialized district or school programs?
Yes. English learners may participate in all programs provided for all students, such as GATE (Gifted and Talented Education program), Special Education (program for students with disabilities), honors/AP classes, AVID (preparation for college success), etc., based on the criteria for participation in those programs.
ENGLISH LEARNER PROGRAMS – ELEMENTARY LEVEL
Which grade levels are included in “elementary school?”
Elementary schools include students in grades TK through grade 5. Students are placed in the appropriate grade, according to their age. In addition, some elementary schools provide non-mandatory pre-school programs for students beginning at three years of age. (Some pre-school programs charge a fee for participation in the program.)
How are the school day and school year organized at the elementary level?
Most elementary school students have one teacher for most of the school day, although teachers may “team” and share students for part of the day. Students will generally have the same teacher for the entire school year. Some English learners may also receive support from the school’s English learner program instructional assistant(s) and/or additional support teachers.
How are students graded at the elementary level?
Students receive a standards-based progress report each trimester, generally in November, March, and June. This means that their performance is evaluated in comparison with the California State Content Area Standards for their grade level. (See state content area standards at http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/.) In each curricular area, the report indicates that the student is performing at one of four levels:
Level 4 - Working Beyond the Standard (above grade level)
Level 3 - Achieving Standard (at grade level)
Level 2 - Progressing Toward Standard (below grade level)
Level 1 - Working Below Standard (significantly below grade level)
Students also receive grades in “effort.” Students do not receive letter grades or percentage scores on their progress report, nor are they ranked within a class. English learners will also receive an additional progress report indicating their progress in acquiring English, based on the State English Language Development (ELD) Standards. (See ELD standards at http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/el/er/documents/eldstndspublication14.pdf.)
What services are provided for English learners at the elementary level?
At all elementary schools, English learners are placed in regular classrooms. Certificated teachers provide daily level-appropriate English language development, in addition to appropriate support for content instruction. In general the school’s English Learner Program Instructional Assistants can provide extra support for the students at the lower levels of English proficiency. Adopted textbooks support the core instruction, with supplementary texts/materials provided, as needed. English learners at the higher levels of proficiency and above are generally served through the regular classroom program, with extra assistance provided by the classroom teacher or other support personnel within the regular classroom. Valley Elementary School also has a dual immersion (Spanish) program where native English speakers and native Spanish speakers work toward bilingual proficiency. Adobe Bluffs Elementary School has a dual immersion (Mandarin) program where native English speakers and native Mandarin speakers work toward bilingual proficiency.
ENGLISH LEARNER PROGRAMS – MIDDLE SCHOOL
Which grade levels are included in “middle school?”
Our middle schools include students in grades 6-8. Students are placed according to their age.
How is the school day and school year organized at the middle school level?
Middle school students will generally have one teacher for basic ed./humanities, which includes language arts and one other core content class (social studies, science, or math) for 2-3 periods of the school day. The rest of the day, they will generally have a separate teacher for each of the other classes (additional core content classes, electives, and physical education). The school year is divided into semesters (2 semesters per year) or trimesters (3 trimesters per year), depending on the school. Students’ schedules may change at the semester or trimester, although the basic ed./humanities class will generally continue through the entire school year.
How are students graded at the middle school level?
Students receive a progress report/report card every six weeks. For each class, the student will receive an alphabetic grade – A, B, C, D, F – with A being high, F being low, and C indicating an “average” performance for the grade level. Students also receive a grade in each class for Work Habits (effort) and Citizenship (behavior). Work Habits and Citizenship grades are: O= Outstanding, G = Good, S = Satisfactory, N = Needs improvement, U = Unsatisfactory. Students are not ranked within a class. Student grades and ongoing progress are available online through the My Plan Portal at https://myplan.powayusd.com/LoginPolicy.jsp. Parents are provided a login to access this information. Although we expect students to meet grade-level standards, no specific grades or courses are required to “graduate” from middle school.
What services are provided for English learners at the middle school level?
Middle school programs vary, based on student needs. In general, students at the lower levels of proficiency are placed in a separate basic ed./humanities class for part of the day, or they may be placed in a separate English language development class for one period per day. At some schools with larger English learner populations, students at the higher levels of proficiency are also placed in a separate class for part of the day. In general, students are in regular classes for the rest of their day, with support. Students at the higher levels of proficiency are placed in regular classes for the entire day, with appropriate support being provided by the regular classroom teacher. Meadowbrook Middle School also provides social studies instruction in Spanish as a (bilingual) program option. Some English learners may also receive support from the school’s English learner program instructional assistant(s). State-adopted textbooks with supporting supplementary materials are used across content areas, based on student needs.
ENGLISH LEARNER PROGRAMS – HIGH SCHOOL
What grade levels are included in “high school?”
High school includes students in grades 9 (Freshman year), 10 (Sophomore year), 11 (Junior year), and 12 (Senior year). Students are placed in a grade level according to their age.
How is the school day and school year organized at the high school level?
Students will generally have a different teacher each period of the day. The school year may be divided into trimesters (3 trimesters per year), or quarters (4 quarters per year), depending on the school. Students’ class schedules and teachers may change each trimester or quarter. Students take 3, 4, or 5 courses per day, depending on the school.
How are students graded at the high school level?
Students receive a progress report/report card every six weeks. For each class, the student will receive an alphabetic grade – A, B, C, D, F – with A being high, F being low, and C indicating an “average” performance for the grade level. At most schools, a student must receive at least a “D” to get credit for the class; some schools/classes require a “C” grade in order to pass the class.
At some schools, students also receive a grade for “Work Habits” (effort) and/or “Citizenship” (behavior), on the following scale:
- O – Outstanding
- G – Good
- S – Satisfactory
- N – Needs Improvement
- U – Unsatisfactory
Students are not ranked within a class. Student grades and ongoing progress are available online through the My Plan Portal at https://myplan.powayusd.com/LoginPolicy.jsp. Parents are provided a login to access this information.
What are the requirements for graduation from high school?
There are three requirements for graduation from high school:
1.Earn 230 class credits across a variety of classes (See school websites for specific course requirements.) Each semester/trimester class is “worth” 5 credits toward high school graduation; at most schools, a student must receive at least a “D” in the class to receive credit for the class; some schools require a grade of “C” or better.
Do high school courses taken in another country “count” toward the graduation requirements?
Each student’s transcript from the previous school is evaluated by the school’s registrar to determine which courses would “count” toward the 230 credits required for graduation, based on the course content and number of hours of instruction, not the language of instruction.
Are there opportunities for students to receive a high school diploma if they are not able to complete these requirements by the end of 12th grade?
Yes. Our Adult Education program provides opportunities for students to continue working toward a high school diploma or GED certificate beyond their 12th grade year. Our Adult Education program also offers continued support for English language development through English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.
What programs are provided for English learners at the high school level?
High school programs vary, based on student needs. At all schools, English learners at the lower levels of English proficiency are placed in separate English Language Development classes for their language arts (English) instruction. Students at the higher levels of English proficiency are generally placed in regular English classes, or in a “sheltered” English class where the teacher incorporates specific strategies to help students be successful with the regular grade-level curriculum. Students are placed in other classes, as required for high school graduation and college eligibility (a-g completion), with necessary supports. (You may contact the site counselors for more information on a-g courses.) Some English learners may also receive support from the school’s English learner program instructional assistant(s). English learners may enroll in honors and Advanced Placement classes, based on interest, readiness, and/or teacher recommendation.