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Hot List Q & A
ELL Status and Transcripts

Question:
    I am an ESL teacher at a small private school and our school is discussing how an ELL student is identified on their transcripts. We use School Dynamics and are unsure as to how this works technically and legally. We want our ELLs to be immersed in content classes when possible and we want those teachers to provide the necessary accommodations so that those ELL language needs are addressed. This is only my first year teaching, but I believe you have to have the ELL students marked as such in some way on the transcript in order to legally provide those accommodations (is that correct?). If this is the case, I am seeking guidance on how public schools execute this.
   Thank you for your time,

Reply:
    I am not sure what guidelines private schools must follow, especially if you don't receive state or federal funding. Perhaps somebody else out there can address that, but I can help you with what public schools do. The first thing you want to do is document whether your ELLs are in need of language support. You can do this by administering a test such as the WIDA MODEL or W-APT. We use the W-APT because it is free, as is the training to administer the test. Once we have determined that the student is an ELL in need of services, we designate them as such in our student management system.

    You will also want to look at the WIDA Can-Do indicators when deciding on the supports and accommodations that you will give ELLs at each level of proficiency. The DOE has done some great work providing ELL scaffolds for the model curricula, and you can use that as a jumping off point for discussion with the rest of the staff.

    It is good to have students immersed in content classes where possible, but even more important to ensure that they are able to understand the content. If you have staff members who can assist students in their L1, that is a great support. I would also recommend SIOP/Sheltered Instruction training for your staff so that they will have the tools to work effectively with ELLs.

Good luck!
JoAnne Negrin
Supervisor of ESL, Bilingual Education, World Languages, and Performing Arts
Vineland Public Schools

June 2013

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