Oxford School District
English Learner Program Plan
I. Program Overview
The Oxford School District has designed a research-based language instruction program at elementary and secondary levels in order to accommodate the growing numbers of limited and non-English-speaking students enrolling in the district. These students are referred to as English Learners (EL). English Learners are provided English language instruction using a methodology called sheltered English. Sheltered English is an approach that integrates English language and content area instruction for the purpose of increasing English language proficiency and academic content knowledge of EL students.
Elementary EL services are based upon student English proficiency levels. Classes are taught by a certified EL teacher or by an EL tutor, who is supervised by the certified EL teacher. Students may be taken out of the regular classroom for instruction or instructed within the general education classroom. The elementary EL curriculum follows the individual student’s classroom curriculum but applies Sheltered English language teaching methods. The sheltered English language teaching method controls the English vocabulary and language structure so the student can understand the classroom content area skills and concepts while at the same time developing his/her English language proficiency. Newcomers who have had minimal exposure to English may participate in an English language development curriculum designed by the EL Teacher.
The EL classes for middle and high school students are for one class period each day. A certified EL teacher teaches the secondary classes and focuses on language development in the core content areas of English, Mathematics, History, and Science. The EL teacher develops the EL curriculum to meet the individual needs of the EL student. The EL teacher focuses on providing instruction that will allow EL students to complete grade level work in the core subject areas, pass the grade level tests, and pass the state standard tests required for graduation. EL students may also have the opportunity to take English I and/or World History in a sheltered English classroom with an EL certified teacher if the EL teacher holds these certifications.
EL students who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) and receive other specialized instruction in the Oxford School District will continue to receive EL instruction as well. The EL teacher/tutor will focus on English language development and modified instruction of content area material. The EL teacher/tutor will conference with the student's general and special education teachers to discuss the teaching and learning methods needed in order to meet the criteria of the student's Individual Education Plan (IEP).
Classroom teachers are provided with opportunities in EL professional development. All classroom and EL teachers must be fluent in written and oral English.
The Oxford School District will notify parents and other stakeholders within 30 days if the EL program fails to show progress on Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs). The district will conduct annual evaluations of EL program effectiveness.
The district will enroll EL students at the time of registration. The following will not be a barrier for EL students to enroll in the Oxford School District:
- lack of a social security number
- lack of an immunization record at the time of registration
- immigration status
- English-speaking status
The district will assist parents in obtaining immunizations and immunization records to the extent practical. Parents will be given 30 calendar days to obtain certification of immunization compliance or temporary compliance. Notice of no less than 7 calendar days will be provided to the parents of EL students before the student is dropped from the roll for failure to provide proof of immunizations.
- Step 1-Home Language Survey:
A Home Language Survey will be given annually for each student enrolling in the Oxford School District. The home language survey will be provided in a language the parent can understand, to the extent practical, or in an understandable and uniform English format. Home Language Surveys will be kept in the cumulative folder of each student.
- Step 2-Initial Assessment of Language Proficiency:
If any language other than English is indicated as the primary language on the Home Language Survey, the student will be given the state approved English proficiency screener if they are new to the district. All assessment records will be kept in the EL classroom file and the cumulative folder. A copy of the assessment results will be sent to the district test coordinator, the EL coordinator, and the district data analyst.
- Step 3-Parent Notification:
All parents are notified within 30 days of the first day of school if their child qualifies for EL services. A student who enrolls after the first 30 days of school will be screened within 2 weeks of enrollment and parents will be notified if the student qualifies for EL services. An annual copy of the Parent Notification of Services will be kept in each student’s file within the EL classroom.
- Step 4-Program Placement:
The Oxford School District will follow the most current Mississippi Department of Education Guidelines for English Language Learners for initial grade level placement. Students will be placed in a sound language instructional educational program in addition to mainstream classes. If the parent or guardian waives EL services the OSD may choose to provide services in accordance with Title I Section 1001 if deemed academically necessary.
Identification and English Proficiency Level:
Students who are new to the Oxford School District will be assessed with the state adopted screener unless he/she comes from another Mississippi public school and the Oxford School District is able to obtain assessment results from the institution. Returning students will be assessed annually with the state approved English proficiency assessment to determine the student’s English proficiency progress. The results of this test, the classroom teacher’s recommendation, and the EL teacher’s assessment will determine the student’s eligibility to receive services during the school day. Students will receive EL services based upon English proficiency levels.
Method of Instruction:
Students may be taken out of the regular classroom for instruction or instructed in the classroom. The elementary EL curriculum follows the individual student’s classroom curriculum but uses sheltered English language teaching methods. The sheltered English language teaching method controls the English vocabulary and language structure so the student can understand the classroom content area skills and concepts while at the same time developing his/her English language proficiency. Content and language goals for newcomer students who are at a proficiency level of 1-2 will focus on basic academic literacy, oral, and listening skills.
Meeting the Educational Strengths and Needs of the Student:
The EL teacher develops the EL curriculum which is designed to meet the individual needs and strengths of the EL student so that he/she may pass the state standard tests, pass the grade level tests, and do grade level work in the core subject areas of English, Math, History and Science.
It is the goal of the Oxford School District that each EL student will increase his/her English language proficiency level by an increment of no less than one level each year he/she is in an American school setting for the full school year.
- Specific Help the EL Student Will Receive to Learn English and Meet Age Appropriate Academic Achievement Standards for Grade Promotion and Graduation:
In the EL classroom students are taught English using reading materials that are no more than 1 level above their English proficiency in order to ensure appropriate instructional level of content and to advance English proficiency.
Remediation services for EL students are based on each student’s academic progress compared to his/her EL peer group. If EL students do not show adequate progress appropriate to their years of educational opportunities in an English-speaking school system, Tier services may be employed to ensure additional educational opportunities to increase academic advancement.
EL students receive accommodations and differentiated instruction from the classroom teacher and the EL teacher during classroom instruction, homework, tests and core subject area state tests. Some examples of differentiated instruction are: direct instruction at the student’s English ability, photocopies of lecture notes, using picture books and bilingual dictionaries, translating instruction when practical, and using visual aids to promote understanding. Some examples of accommodations for math, science, or history include giving oral classroom tests, accepting oral responses to homework questions, reading and/or paraphrasing test questions, and using a bilingual dictionary during testing. No modifications are allowed for the reading comprehension tests. Bilingual, print dictionaries are allowed on all classroom and state tests with the exception of spelling tests.
K-8 ELL Grading and Instruction:
According to the Oxford School District grading policies, English Learners may receive a “Z” grade. The “Z” grade is given in place of a failing grade, (65 or below), because the student does not have enough language skills to meet the grade level requirements of the core curriculum. Each EL student’s grading scale (“Z” grade or non-modified grades) will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the EL Team. All elementary EL students will participate in state and local assessments as required.
High School EL Grading and Instruction:
At the high school level, the EL student will be responsible for learning the same content material as the students in the mainstream classroom in order to earn Carnegie units for graduation. Carnegie units are points students earn for passing a high school class. EL high school students will receive instruction using simplified English in alignment with the student’s English proficiency level. According to the Oxford School District grading policies, English Learners may receive a “Z” grade. The “Z” grade is given in place of a failing grade (65 or below) because the student does not have enough language skills to meet the grade level requirements of the core curriculum. Each EL student’s grades will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the EL Team. A “Z” grade does not give the student credit for the class and it does not affect the student’s grade point average (GPA). All EL high school students must participate in the high school subject area assessments required by the state. The language on the state subject area tests is not modified or changed, but EL students are allowed to use bilingual dictionaries during testing.
Requirements for Exiting the EL Program, Expected rates of transition, and the Expected Rate of Graduation:
Every EL student is required to have services provided to him/her under state and federal regulations. The Oxford School District has determined a student will be exited from the EL classes and will move to a monitoring status for two years if the following requirements are met:
- Exiting Criteria for Grades 3-8:
- The student must score proficient on the annual state adopted English proficiency test.
- The student must perform at a proficient or advanced level on the Reading/Language Arts portion of the state required assessment.
- Exiting Criteria for Grades 9-12:
- The student must pass the English I class.
- The student must pass the English subject area test or its equivalent
- The student must be proficient on the annual state adopted English proficiency test.
Expected Rate of Transition/Graduation:
The EL student’s rate of transition and graduation from a secondary school depends on many variables, including:
- English language proficiency when they enter the Oxford School District
- Grade level in which they enter the school district
- Support from family and friends at home
- Support and modifications from the student’s teachers
It is expected that a young child will be orally proficient in English within 2-3 years. During these early years the student learns survival language skills and basic interpersonal communication skills. The student will still have difficulty understanding the language used to learn academic content. Usually a student will be proficient enough in English to learn academic content without any EL accommodations after 7 to 10 years of schooling in an American school. For this reason, each student’s exit from the EL program is considered on an individual basis. After a child reaches the proficient level on the state approved English language proficiency test, he/she may or may not be exited from the EL program. The EL program in the Oxford School District will monitor the child’s progress for two years after he/she exits from the EL program to assure proficiency in English. If necessary, the student may return to the program at anytime either by the request of the classroom teacher or by the request of the parent.
Meeting Objectives of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) of EL Students with Disabilities:
EL students who have a documented disability and receive other specialized instruction in the Oxford School District will continue to receive EL instruction. The EL teacher/tutor will focus on English language development and modified instruction of content area material. The EL teacher/tutor will also conference with the student’s specialty teachers to discuss teaching methods and learning needs in order to meet the criteria of the student’s IEP. If a student is being monitored for possible specialized instruction, the school will provide an interpreter who is proficient in interpreting for IEP testing and meetings where applicable.
Parental Right to Refuse Services:
Every parent of an EL student has the right to refuse EL classes for his/her child. Parents may request to have the child removed from the EL program at anytime. If a student has been classified as an EL student, based on the Home Language Survey and state adopted English proficiency assessment, the student is still required, by federal law to take the English Language Proficiency test until the student has tested proficient in English. Parents will be assisted in selecting programs and methods of instruction that best meet the needs of their child where applicable.
Special Opportunity Programs:
EL students will have the same opportunity as all other students in the Oxford School District to be screened for and/or to participate in special opportunity programs such as extra curricular sports, academic programs, gifted education, athletics, and special education based on the same criteria as all other students in the school.
PTOs and Parent Involvement:
Parent Teacher Organizations at each school in the Oxford School District are encouraged to recruit parents of EL students and to select a parent as an EL liaison. At least once per year, there will be a district-wide EL parent meeting to discuss parent rights and parent involvement.
All EL students will be included in universal screeners and benchmark assessments conducted by the school. Benchmark assessments generally take place once per nine-week period.
All EL students are included in statewide assessments. All EL students will receive state allowable accommodations for testing until they are exited from EL services. Allowable accommodations are selected on a case-by-case basis and are documented in each student’s EL Services Plan. Test administrators giving EL student accommodations will be trained and qualified to do so.