According to federal and state law, every public and charter school in Pennsylvania must provide an English language instruction program to all student whose English proficiency levels do not allow them to reach Pennsylvania’s academic standards and graduation requirements. The goals of PE&T’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program are as follows:
- To provide an appropriate ESL course as part of the core curriculum for students who dominant language is not English and who qualify for services.
- To provide adequate certified staff and instructional time for our ESL program, as determined by the size and needs of our ELL population.
- To allocate adequate resources and funds to our ESL program, on par with other core subjects.
- To ensure that students in the ESL program are included in all school statewide testing with appropriate accommodations as defined by the PA Department of Education.
- To help students meet PA’s academic standards and graduation requirements.
- To conduct an annual evaluation of the ESL program’s effectiveness for the purpose of program innovation and improvement.
- To ensure ELLs have access to all aspects of PE&T’s academics and extra-curricular life.
- To assist ELLs’ families and communities in becoming an active part of PE&T and help them support their children in PE&T’s academics and extra-curricular activities.
Our ESL Program
Our program helps students develop the English listening, speaking, reading and writing skills needed for high levels of literary and academic achievement in all subject areas. Students in the ESL program receive 48 minutes of instruction each day and earn credit which counts toward PE&T’s English/Language Arts requirements for graduation. The ESL curriculum ins the equivalent of other English courses at our school.
How students enter PE&T’s ESL Program
In accordance with federal and state law, when a student enrolls at PE&T, parents/guardians are required to complete a Home Language Survey (HLS). If a language besides English is indicated on this survey, the student must be assessed to determine if ESL is necessary, unless the student meets two of the three academic criteria below:
- Final grades of B or better in core subject areas (Mathematics, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies)
- Scores on district wide assessments such as Terra Nova that are comparable to the Basic performance level on the PSSA
- Scores of Basic in Reading, Writing and Math on the PSSA
If a student was in designated as and ELL at their previous school, ACCESS test records for that student will be requested from their previous school and the student will be placed in English or ESL according to their test results.
PE&T administers the state-approved W-APT as its placement test. This test assesses students’ ability to read, write and understand the kind of English used in classrooms. If a student scores below a certain level on the test, placement in the ESL program is made.
A parent’s right to refuse ESL services
Families must be notified of the results of testing and the type of program a student will be placed in. According to PA law, parents can choose for their children NOT to participate in an ESL program ONLY if the instruction conflicts with the family’s religious beliefs.
Exiting PE&T’s ESL Program
As per state requirements, students must remain in the ESL program until they have achieved proficiency in English. Students must meet BOTH of the required criteria and ONE of the additional criteria listed below:
Required Exit Criteria:
- Score of Basic on the annual Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA).
- For students transferring from other states, out-of-state academic achievement assessment results may be considered when the academic proficiency level is comparable to Basic on the PSSA.
- For students that are in a grade that is not assessed by the PSSA, LEA’s must use each of the remaining criteria listed below to exit students.
- Composite score of 5.0 or better on the annual state English language proficiency assessment (ACCESS for ELLs).
- A score of Proficient of the reading PSSA can be used along with all other required criteria to justify exit for students who achieve a composite proficiency score of 4.5-4.9 on the January administration of the ACCESS test.
Additional Exit Criteria:
- Final grades of C or better in core subject areas (Mathematics, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies)
- Scores on district-wide assessments that are comparable to the Basic level of performance on the PSSA.
Students who have Exited the ESL program at PE&T will be monitored for a period of two academic years. Students are monitored quarterly by their core subject teachers using the Post Exit ELL Monitoring Form provided by the state of Pennsylvania. Students can be re-classified as an ELL if warranted by inadequate progress in their core subjects as determined by the ESL coordinator and classroom teachers.
If you have any questions about our ESL program, or your child’s participation or progress in this program, please contact Ms. Rosemarie DeFelice, ESL Program Coordinator & ESL teacher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 267-514-1823 ext. 241.