• “There is no equality of treatment merely
    by providing students with the same facilities,
    textbooks, teachers, and curriculum;
    for students who do not understand English are
    effectively foreclosed from any meaningful education.”

    Lau v. Nichols, 1974  

English as a Second Language (ESL)

  • Background

    The West Linn-Wilsonville English as a Second Language (ESL) program is guided by the district's set of powerful vision themes.  Each district vision theme is exemplified in the ESL program.  The district's stated ESL program goals are:

    • To provide English Language Learners (ELL) with educational experiences that create conditions for each student to maximize his or her human potential
    • To provide English Language Learners with effective English language development and support for academic success in all subject areas leading to high school graduation

    The ESL program is designed to be an integral part of the total educational program in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District.  The program design process follows the Office of Civil Rights guidelines and responds to the Oregon Department of Education Guidance for Developing and Evaluating the LEP District Plan. 

    English Language Learners represent a relatively small  demographic in the population of the school district.  However, the number of ELL students has rapidly grown from 25 during the 1997-1998 school year to 352 during the 2005-2006 school year. 

    West Linn-Wilsonville School District supports a generous professional development program that encourages the growth of every teacher at every stage of career.  Professional development is offered each year specifically for teachers who have English Language Learners in class.   The district fully funded and supported an ESOL cohort program for district teachers.  Twelve West Linn-Wilsonville teachers completed graduate coursework, and earned or are earning the ESOL endorsement.  This district cohort program partners with Portland State University to bring the coursework to our campus.  The graduate course sequence began in May 2005 and was completed fall 2006.  In the past ten years, the number of certified staff with ESOL endorsement has increased from 0 in 1997 to 17 in 2007. 

    Parent and community involvement has been instrumental in helping define common ground and directions for the education of ELL children and as well as continuing to make recommendations for improvements to the district ESL program. 

    The West Linn-Wilsonville School District uses a school improvement curriculum review and renewal process to continually evaluate, review, and improve school district programs.  The ESL Steering Committee, composed of parents, teachers and administrators, reports annually on the status of the district's ELL program and makes recommendations for improvement. 

    Program Approach

    Program Educational Goals

    Broadly, the West Linn-Wilsonville School District model builds on current research in language acquisition, literacy development, and second language learning.  The district program model responds to the learning from brain research and engages the instructional best practices represented in the literature.  The plan aspires to achieve relative to the following three major goals:

    • Each child will experience welcoming learning environment with  time and value for his/her home language, family, and culture in the school setting.
    • Each child will be progressing in learning English along the continuum described in Oregon’s English Language Proficiency Standards and at a rate equal to or greater than the rate described in the state Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAO) targets.
    • Each child will be progressing in other subjects as he/she develops English competence for academic work as measured by classroom assessment and Oregon State Assessment Standards at a rate equal to or greater than the AYP targets.

    Identification and Assessment of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Students

    All students enrolling in the district are screened to identify potential ELL students.  When enrolling students in their neighborhood schools, parents/guardians complete the District Registration Form which includes home language questions and information on a student’s place of birth and ethnic background.  Using established criteria, the district reviews the provided registration information to identify potential ELL students.  These identified students are forwarded for further assessment to determine if ESL program services are appropriate.

    Students identified as potential ELL students are formally assessed using the ELPA Language Assessment to determine English language proficiency.  Students are referred for placement into the district’s ELD program if they qualify under the district’s eligibility criteria.  Parents are notified of recommended placement based on assessment results and may accept or decline the recommended services.

    The school’s Child Study Team considers the results of the ELPA 21 assessment, along with other supporting data as needed and makes a determination about the eligibility of the child for language assistance.  Members of the Child Study Team are appointed by the school principal and may include the classroom teacher, ELD teacher, and administrative, assessment, and/or support staff as appropriate.  The team will include staff with expertise in second language and cultural issues whenever possible.  The Child Study Team could also recommend assessment for special education or gifted education.  In these cases, parent permission will be obtained in accordance with the school procedures for those programs.

    Program Services for English Language Learners

    The major components of the West Linn-Wilsonville School District Program for English Language Learners combine to provide a comprehensive educational experience for each English Language Learner.  The program draws from the positive elements of several effective, research-based, program approaches, applying varying models in schools with needs determined by the number and language needs of students who attend.  The various elements of the K-12 program are:

    • A Welcoming Learning Environment

    • Sheltered Instruction

    • English as a Second Language Instruction

    • English Language Development

    • Content Based ELD Instruction

    Reassessing and Exiting ELL Students; Monitoring Performance

    The West Linn-Wilsonville School District believes that the acquisition of English as a second language is a long-term process.  Experts do not all agree, but most believe that full English proficiency is attained somewhere between 5 and 7 years.  For some children the process is even longer.  Each child will progress from beginning to proficient English in his or her own unique time and way.  Language acquisition will be influenced by many factors and variables.  English Language Learners will generally benefit from support even as they reach the higher levels of proficiency.  It is clear from research and from our students’ experience that withdrawing English language learning support too early may slow a child’s academic progress.

    ELL students are reassessed yearly using the Oregon English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA) to track their English language proficiency development.  The district has established criteria to determine when students have developed sufficient language proficiency in speaking, writing, and comprehension of English to enable them to participate meaningfully in the education program – the time when ELD services are no longer required.  Students satisfying the criteria are exited from ELD services after review of all supporting data and approval by the Child Study Team. 

    Students exited from ELDprogram services are monitored for evidence of academic achievement two or three times a year for a 2-year period following exit.  During this monitoring period, if there is evidence of insufficient academic achievement due to probable language proficiency issues, the student is reassessed using the ELPA 21 Language Assessment.  Those students eligible for ELD services and for whom services are recommended by the Child Study Team and agreed to by the parent, are reinstated in the district’s ELD Program and again begin receiving ELD services.

    ELL Students and Other District Programs

    The West Linn-Wilsonville School District believes that all students including ELL students should have access to all district programs.  Among the programs are Special Education, Title I, Gifted Education, Honors/AP courses, enrichment programs, summer school, and athletics/activities programs.

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