OBE-FLS

Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies' (OBE-FLS) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). This document represents a collection of the most common questions gathered by OBE-FLS from our constituents in the field. We hope that you will find them helpful and informative. The FAQ is an effort designed to respond to the needs of our constituents.

If you cannot find the specific answer to your question, or if you would like further clarification of the information contained in this FAQ document, please contact your local RBE-RN office, or the Albany Office at (518) 474-8775, or the New York City Office at (718) 722-2445. Any additional questions or suggestions may be forwarded to: OBEFLS@mail.nysed.gov. Please use the letters "FAQ" in the subject line of your e-mail system.

Check for regular updates since the document will be constantly changing.

Instructional Programs for LEP/ELLs

General Information


Terms and Definitions

Who are the English Language Learners (ELLs)?

Students whose primary language is a language other than English are often referred to as English Language Learners (ELLs). In New York State, under Part 154 of the Commissioner's Regulations (CR Part 154) English Lanugage Learner students are:

  1. Students with limited English proficiency shall mean students who by reason of foreign birth or ancestry, speak a language other than English, and
    1. either understand and speak little or no English; or
    2. score below a state designated level of proficiency, on the New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners (NYSITELL) or the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT).

(CR Part 154.2)(a)(1)(2) PDF File (15 KB)


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NYS State Regulations

What is the purpose of Commissioner's Regulation Part 117?

The purpose of this part is to establish standards for the screening of every new entrant to the schools to determine which pupils are possibly gifted, or have a possible handicapping condition and/or possibly are an English Language Learner in accordance with subdivision 2-a of section 3204 of the Education Law.

What is the purpose of Commissioner's Regulations Part 154?

The purpose of CR Part 154 is to establish standards for the education of English Language Learners.  In accordance with these standards, all districts must provide ELL students with equal access to all school programs and services offered by the district commensurate with their ages and grade level, including access to programs required for graduation.


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Student Identification

What is the initial identification procedure for ELLs in New York State?

In New York State there is a very specific initial identification process designed to determine whether a newly enrolled student may be an English Language Learner. This initial process must be conducted within the first two weeks of a student's enrollment and it includes the following four steps:

  1. Administration of the Home Language Questionnaire (HLQ);
  2. Conducting an informal interview in English and in the native language;
  3. Administration of a formal English assessment; and
  4. Placement in an appropriate program (i.e., bilingual education, free-standing ESL, or monolingual English programs).

The HLQ is administered to determine whether there is another language spoken at home and represents the first step in the identification process. The HLQ must be completed by the parent or guardian of each new entrant at the time of the students' initial enrollment in a New York State school. Schools must provide the HLQ in the language the parent or guardian best understand. If the responses on the HLQ indicate that a language other than English is spoken at home or that the student understands a language other than English, then an informal interview in the native language and English must be conducted. If the informal interview indicates that the student is possibly ELL, the assessment of the students' level of English language proficiency must be conducted using the NYSITELL. The Home Language Questionnaire is available in a variety of languages.

A flow chart of the initial dentification process may be found at:
http://www.p12.nysed.gov/biling/pub/LEPproc.pdf PDF File (51 KB)

An informal oral interview in English and when necessary in the native language is conducted for each student whose HLQ and other background information indicate that he or she may be ELL. The informal interview gives a preliminary assessment of a student's understanding of, and ability to speak the English language. Such an interview is not intended to provide an exact or complete assessment of a student's oral language proficiency. The informal interview must not take the place of the formal CR Part 154 initial identification procedure.

Placement in the appropriate instructional program begins after the administration of the New York State Identification. Based on the results of the NYSITELL, students are identified either as ELL or English proficient (EP). Students who are identified as EP must enter a general education program. Similarly, students who are identified as ELL must be placed in a bilingual education or freestanding English as a Second Language program (ESL) program.

Identifying immigrant students

The following memo explains the districts’ obligations in enrolling and making residency determinations, particularly with respect to students who are not citizens of the United States. School districts may not deny resident students a free public education on the basis of their immigration status. This guidance is intended to provide an overview of and recommended strategies for addressing common issues that districts face in these areas.

Identifying immigrant students


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Program Placement

What are the criteria for placing ELLs Bilingual Education or ESL programs?

Students who are identified as English proficient, must be placed in the general education program; those identified as ELL must be placed in a Bilingual Education or free-standing ESL program. Parents of students identified as ELLs must be notified by letter of their child's identification and placement in a bilingual or free-standing ESL program.

In the event of unforeseen placement delays, the schools must temporarily place the newly enrolled student in the program that is most appropriate, based on the available information. Under no circumstances should students be kept out of school or denied instruction while awaiting final completion and determination of the identification process.

Each school district having an enrollment of 20 or more pupils with limited English proficiency in the same grade, the same building, all of whom have the same native language, which is other than English, shall provide such pupils with Bilingual Education programs. Parents have the option to withdraw their child only from participation in a Bilingual Education instructional program. Prior to withdrawing their child from such a program, they must meet with the coordinator of the bilingual education program and the building principal. Parents also have the option to transfer their child into a bilingual education program if such a program is offered in another building in the same school district. However, as a minimum, the student must participate in a free-standing ESL program. There is no withdrawal option for ESL programs placement.

How long may a student remain in a Bilingual program?

Students enrolled in grades K-12 can remain in a bilingual program based on Part 154 regulations and availability of programs.

How long may a student remain in ESL programs?

ELLs must receive instruction in an ESL program until they reach the "proficient" level on the NYSESLAT, regardless of years of service. Students receiving ESL Services beyond 6 years are classified as Long Term ELLs and must be reported as such on the annual CR Part 154 data information/report. After the sixth (6) year, districts must continue to provide ESL services. No State funding will be generated, however, they continue to receive funding under Federal NCLB Title III. State and Federal laws and regulations require that all ELLs receive services until they score proficient on the NYSESLAT. For additional information please see ‘the Official Ruling on Year of Services for LEP/ELLs from NYSED.’
Memo to Superintendents Regarding Services for LEP/ELLs After six (6) Years of Services

 


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What is the New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners (NYSITELL)?

The New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners (NYSITELL) is the only assessment instrument in New York State for measuring the English language proficiency of a student who may possibly be an ELL. The results of the NYSITELL are used to determine the type of instructional program into which the student must be placed. The NYSITELL is a secure test.

When is the NYSITELL administered?

The NYSITELL is administered once the parent/guardian completes the Home Language Questionnaire (HLQ) and an informal interview is conducted in the native language and in English. The initial English language assessment using the NYSITELL is conducted only once at the time of the student's enrollment in a NYS school. The NYSITELL results will reveal whether or not the student should be classified as ELL. It will also tell you the level of the student's English proficiency in order to appropriately place the student and to plan instruction.

Where can a school order copies of the NYSITELL?

Initial online request for the NYSITELL may be submitted upon receipt of a memorandum in early June from the Office of State Assessment entitled "Procedures for Requesting and Storing the NYSITELL ". Accompanying this memorandum is a school data sheet, which contains your user name and password to log onto the online request system to place your request. Questions concerning the ordering of NYSITELL materials should be directed to the Office of State Assessment at 518-474-8220. For more information about ordering, visit the Office of State Assessment.

How often is the NYSITELL administered?

The NYSITELL is administered only once within two weeks of the student's initial enrollment in a New York State school.

  • If a student transfers into a NYS district from another NYS district, the NYSITELL is not to be administered to this student. Every attempt must be made to obtain the student's records from his/her original school.
  • If a student does have records, place the student based on the most recent NYSESLAT score.
  • If the student has no records, treat as a new entrant and carry out the entire identification procedure.
  • If a student comes from another state, treat the student as a new entrant and the entire initial identification procedure must be followed.

How are test results reported?

The results are reported in raw scores, scale scores and performance levels. More information may be found at the NYS NYSITELL website.

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The New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT)

The NYSESLAT (New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test) is the annual English language assessment used to determine if a LEP/ELL student continues to be limited English proficient, based upon such student scoring at a state designated level of English proficiency on the NYSESLAT (CR Part 154.2)(c). The NYSESLAT has five levels: K-1, 2-4, 5-6, 7-8 and 9-12. It consists of Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing sub-tests that are aligned with the NYS Leaning Standards for English as a Second Language.

What is the purpose of the NYSESLAT?

The NYSESLAT is used to measure progress toward the LEP/ELL's achievement of proficiency in English. Based on the test, the student's proficiency level in English is clasified as beginning, intermediate, advanced, or proficient. Such classification must be used to provide the required amount of ESL and English language arts instruction prescribed under Part 154 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.

How are NYSESLAT test results reported?

NYSESLAT results are reported in raw scores, scale scores, and English proficiency levels. The NYSESLAT results determine whether a student continues to qualify for instructional services for LEP/ELLs, or if the student will exit from bilingual education or ESL instructional services.

Who takes the NYSESLAT?

The NYSESLAT is a mandated test for all LEP/ELLs. Every LEP/ELL student must take the NYSESLAT until she/he has reached the level of proficient in English on the NYSESLAT, which will allow her/him to exit a bilingual education or ESL program.

When is the NYSESLAT administered?

The NYSESLAT is administered only in April-May of each year. The NYSESLAT is a secure test.

Where can a school order copies of the NYSESLAT?

An "Instructional Guide" containing instructions for ordering the NYSESLAT is sent to building principals of public, charter, and nonpublic schools each year, usually in March. The Instructional Guide provides information on how to initiate an electronic order of the NYSESLAT. Orders are made by the school principal or designated staff person. More information may be found at the New York State Education Department NYSESLAT website.

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Assessment and Testing of ELL Students

Is the NYS English Language Arts (ELA) assessment available in other languages?

No. The ELA assessment is a test of English language arts, and therefore is not available in other languages. At this time, there are no state language arts tests in other languages.

In what languages are the NYS content-area assessments available?

The Grades 3-8 assessment in Mathematics is available in Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian and Spanish. The Grade 4 and 8 Science assessments and the Grade 4 and 8 Social Studies assessments are available in Chinese, Haitian Creole, and Spanish.

Are all NYS assessments translated in the languages represented in the schools?

No.  NYS only translates content-area exams in the following five languages: Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian and Spanish.  Math, Science and Social Studies, at the 3-8 level, are published by NYSED in several of the most commonly-spoken languages in NYS. In Math – Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian and Spanish; in Science and Social Studies - Chinese, Haitian Creole, and Spanish.

All Regents level content-area tests (Mathematics, Science, Social Studies) are available in the Chinese (Traditional), Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, and Spanish languages.

May an ELL student be exempted from the Comprehensive ELA Regents Examination?

No. All students must take and pass the ELA Regents in order to earn a high school diploma.

Are there written or oral translations of the English Language Arts (ELA) assessments?

No. English language learners may use bilingual dictionaries and glossaries when taking the Grades 3–8 English Language Arts Tests. These bilingual dictionaries and glossaries may provide only direct translations of words. Bilingual dictionaries or glossaries that provide definitions or explanations of words are not permitted.

What should a school do if it is not able to secure a translator for a standardized test?

Schools and districts should provide accommodations to ELLs to the best of their ability during the testing situation.  Districts need to plan ahead of time to be able to find appropriate translators. It is also recommended that districts keep a list of potential translators.

Can ELLs be exempt from any NYS assessments?

NCLB requires that the reading/language arts proficiency of ELL students be measured as part of the school accountability program. USED has approved the use of the NYSESLAT in lieu of the Grades 3–8 NYSTP for some ELL students. ELL-eligible students (including those from Puerto Rico) who on April 1, 2010, will have been attending school in the United States for less than one year may use the NYSESLAT in lieu of the 3–8 New York State Testing Program (NYSTP) in ELA to meet the NCLB participation requirement for AYP in elementary/middle-level ELA. For this purpose, the United States is defined as schools in the 50 States and the District of Columbia and does not include Puerto Rico, the outlying areas, or the freely associated States.  Students may be exempt from only one administration of the NYSTP in ELA (From the 2009-10 Student Information Repository System manual).

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/sirs/

The calculation of dates for exempting first-year ELLs is contained in the School Administrator's Manual (SAM) for the Grade 3-8 ELA Assessment that is issued each year.  Information can be found here: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/english/ela-ei.html

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Accommodations for ELL students on state assessments

Schools may provide testing accommodations to ELLs, as needed, on all NYS ELA and content-area assessments (i.e., Mathematics, Science and Social Studies). Districts/schools must make all necessary arrangements to make these accommodations available for ELLs who need them. A list of NYS approved accommodations may be found in the School Administrator's Manual (SAM) for each respective test. http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/sam/secondary/home.html

Testing Accommodations for LEP/ELLs students on NYS ELA and Content-area assessments include:

  • Time Extension (all exams): Schools may extend the test time for ELL students on NYS ELA and content-area Assessments and on Regents Examinations. Principals may use any reasonable extensions, such as "time and a half" (the required testing time plus half that amount), in accordance with their best judgment about the needs of the ELL students. Principals should consult with the student's classroom teacher in making these determinations
  • Separate Location (all exams): Schools are encouraged to provide optimal testing environments and facilities for ELLs students. NYS assessments may be administered to ELLs individually or in small groups in a separate location.
  • Third Reading of Listening Selection (English Language Arts Exams Only). Proctors may read the listening passage three times to ELLs on grades 3-8 English Language Arts assessments and on the Regents Comprehensive Examination in English.
  • Bilingual Dictionaries and/or Glossaries: ELLs may use bilingual glossaries when taking State examinations in all subjects except foreign languages.
  • The bilingual dictionaries and glossaries may provide only direct one to one translations of words. Bilingual dictionaries and/or glossaries that provide definitions or explanations are not permitted. Bilingual glossaries in the content areas are available for downloading at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/biling/bilingual_glossaries.htm
  • Simultaneous use of English and Alternative Language Editions are not allowed for English Language Arts Examinations. For state examinations for which the Department provides written translations, ELLs may use both English and an alternative language edition of the test simultaneously. However, they should be instructed to record all of their responses in only one language. The alternative language edition used by the student should be so indicated on the student's answer sheet.
    Note: There are no translations of English Language Arts examinations.
  • Oral Translation for Low Incidence Languages are not allowed for English Language Arts Examinations. Schools may provide ELL students with an oral translation of a state examination when there is no translated edition provided by the Department. All translations must be oral, direct translations of the English editions. Written translations are not allowed. No clarifications or explanations may be provided. Translators should receive copies of the English edition of the tests one hour prior to administration. The Department's Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies, and the Regional Bilingual Education - Resource Networks can assist schools in locating suitable translators.
  • Writing Responses in the Native Language are not allowed for English Language Arts Examinations. LEP/ELL students making use of alternative language editions or of oral translations of state examinations may write their responses to the open ended question in their native language. Scoring the tests is the responsibility of the school. However, the Department's Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies, and the BETACs can assist schools in locating persons who can translate the students' responses into English to facilitate scoring of the answer papers.

What accommodations are permitted for ELLs on the NYSESLAT?

The NYSESLAT is designed specifically for ELLs. Therefore, testing accommodations ordinarily permitted for ELLs taking other State tests are not permitted for NYSESLAT. ELLs with disabilities should be provided the testing accommodations specified in their IEP or Section 504 Accommodation Plan (504 Plan), with the two exceptions:

  • The Reading subtest may NOT be read to ANY student
  • For the Writing subtest, students may NOT receive assistance or have their responses corrected for spelling, grammar, paragraphing, or punctuation.

For further information, please visit:  http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/nyseslat/

Can LEP/ELLs be exempted from any NYS Regents Examinations?

A high school principal may grant exemptions to new entrants from another country or from another State on selected Regents Examinations for students who are initially placed in grades 11 or 12. This exemption includes all transfer students initially placed in 11th or 12th grade, and includes monolingual students as well as ELLs. What exemptions apply to students who arrive in NYS and are placed in the 11th grade? A principal may grant an exemption from the Global History and Geography Regents Exam only if the student's first entry to a New York State school is in Grade 11. The principal may exempt a student from the requirement for the Regents examination in Global History and Geography ordinarily taken and passed before the date of the student's entry.
CR Part 100.5 (iii) (b) PDF File (10KB)

What exemptions apply to students who arrive in NYS and are placed in the 12th grade?

A principal may grant an exemption from the Science Regents Exam only if the student's first entry into a New York State school was in Grade 12. The principal may exempt a student from the requirement for the Regents examination in Science and the Regents examination in Global History and Geography which are ordinarily taken and passed before the date of the student's entry.
CR Part 100.5 (iv) (b) PDF File (10KB)

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Test Accommodations for Former ELLs

Are there testing accommodations available for former ELL students?

Yes. Beginning in 2008, schools are permitted to provide ELL testing accommodations on NYS assessments to former ELLs for up to two years after testing at the proficient level on the NYSESLAT.

Details of the testing accommodations now permitted to former ELLs can be found at the following web site:

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/biling/bilinged/formerlepells.htm

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Instructional Programs for ELL Students

New York State requires that students who are identified as ELL be provided an instructional program that will enable them to learn English and to master the academic skills needed to progress in school. The two instructional programs for ELLs in New York State are: 1) a bilingual educational program; and 2) a freestanding English as a second language program.

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What is Bilingual Education?

The fundamental definition of Bilingual Education is the use of two languages as the mean of instruction in part or all of an instructional program.

Officially bilingual education was federally supported through "The Bilingual Education Act of 1968", and the combined Supreme Court "Lau v. Nichols" decision of 1974. These legislations mandated educational equity through support for students with limited English proficiency by requiring instruction in their native languages.

The general objectives of Bilingual Education are: to equally facilitate language and academic development in two languages, English and the student's native language; to acknowledge the native language of the students; to foster a positive self-concept/image; and to aid students' understanding of other cultures.

Research studies consistently demonstrate that minority children's cognitive/academic development and socio-psychological development are enhanced by maintaining and further developing their first language. In fact, Cummins's "Developmental Interdependence Hypothesis" holds that the development and maintenance of minority students' home language contribute significantly to the learning of a second language and academic success.
http://www.hiceducation.org/Edu_Proceedings/Joe%20Wu.pdf External Link Icon/p>

[Above paragraph taken from: J. Wu & O. Bilash. Empowering Minority Students Though Bilingual Education. Paper delivered at The Society of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education June 13 to 16, 2007,Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.]

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What are approved Bilingual Education program in NYS?

For grades kindergarten through twelve, a bilingual education program shall mean a program of instruction consisting of three components: ESL, content area instruction taught in the native language and English, and a native language arts component (i.e. instruction in a language other than English which should parallel English Language Arts (ELA) instruction). Such instruction shall take into account the first language and culture of the ELL students.
(CR Part 154.2)(1)(ii)(2)(e) PDF File (14KB)

Bilingual education programs are designed to help students acquire English proficiency while they continue to master the content areas appropriate for their age and grade. The programs are designed to facilitate students' transition into the English language general instructional program. They prepare students to meet the New York State learning standards by providing the academic, linguistic, cultural, and social experiences that support lifelong learning and effective participation in the life of the community.

Currently, there are two types of bilingual education programs in New York State: 1) transitional bilingual education programs, in which ELLs receive instruction in the native language and in English; and 2) two-way bilingual education programs, in which both English proficient (EP) students and ELLs receive instruction in English and a language other than English in the same classroom.

When must a district implement a Bilingual Education program?

A school district is mandated to implement a Bilingual Education program if it has an enrollment of 20 or more students with limited English proficiency in the same grade assigned to a building, all of whom have the same native language (other than English). In New York City, when 15 students who speak the same language and are in the same grade or two contiguous grades, a bilingual class must be established. The same holds true at the high school level when there are 20 students in the same grade who speak the same language.
(CR Part 154.3(g)(i) PDF File (14KB)

What should the language arts component of Bilingual Education programs include?

According to CR Part 154, the language arts instructional component of Bilingual Education programs shall include Native Language Arts (NLA) instruction, English as a second language (ESL) instruction, and English language arts (ELA) instruction as prescribed by the requirements based on the student's English proficiency level.
(CR Part 154.2)(1)(ii)(2)(e)(1) PDF File (13KB)

In a Bilingual Education program, how much ELA instruction should be included?

English Language Arts instruction shall be provided to students at the advanced level of English language proficiency for a minimum of one unit of study or 180 minutes a week, divided into substantially equal daily allotments of instructional time.
(CR Part 154.2)(1)(i). PDF File (10KB) See Language requirements chart.

What should the ESL component of a Bilingual Education Program include?

The English as a second language (ESL) component of a Bilingual Education program should include well-designed instruction to develop skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing and communicating in English through the integration of academic content appropriate for the student's age, grade level and English language skills. The time requirements for ESL instruction within a bilingual education program shall be the same as those established for ESL instruction within a free-standing ESL program. The curriculum for the ESL component of a bilingual education program should be based on the NYS Learning Standards for English as a Second Language (ESL).
(CR Part 154.2)(2)(e)(1)(ii) PDF File (13KB)

What should the Native Language Arts (NLA) component of a Bilingual Education program include?

The Native Language Arts component of a Bilingual Education program shall include instruction for at least one unit of study or a total of 180 minutes per week, and shall be provided in substantially equal daily allotments of instructional time. The curriculum for the NLA component of a bilingual education program should be based on the NYS Learning Standards for Native Language Arts.
(CR Part 154.2)(e)(1)(iii) PDF File (13KB)

What should the content area component of a Bilingual Education program include?

The content area instructional component shall include grade-and age-level appropriate instruction in the required content area subjects in the native language and English, in a systematic and structured way, and shall be designed to develop the cognitive skills of limited English proficient students.
(CR Part 154.2)(2)(e)(2) PDF File (13KB)

Who can teach native language arts classes?

Teachers providing native language arts instruction at the elementary (K-6) level must hold a teaching certificate with a bilingual education extension in the target language (other than English). In the middle and high school grades (7-12), the native language arts teachers must hold a teaching certificate in the target language (other than English).

Should this instruction include NYS Learning Standards?

Yes. The New York State Learning Standards along with the performance indicators and core curricula serve as the basis for the Native Language Arts, English as a Second Language, and English Language Arts instruction.

What is the policy on class size under CR Part 154 for ESL pull-out programs?

CR Part 154 does not address this issue. Class size should follow the districts’ established policy for in- class and pull-out programs.  We recommend that smaller groups be organized by grade or ESL proficiency levels when developing district policy.

Can a Teacher's Assistant provide direct instruction to ELLs?

No. A Teacher's Assistant may provide supplementary instruction to a ELL student under the direct supervision of an ESOL or bilingual-certified teacher.

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English as a Second Language


What is English as a Second Language (ESL)?

English as a Second Language (ESL), also known as "English to speakers of other languages" (ESOL), is a specific discipline that is taught by a certified ESL teacher or a common branch (K-6) teachers with a bilingual extension in a K-6 bilingual program (October 2011 Memo). ESL is a component of both a free-standing ESL and a Bilingual program. 

What is an English as a Second Language program?

For grades kindergarten through twelve, a free-standing English as a second language program shall mean a program of instruction composed of two components: a language arts instructional component and a content area instructional component. In an ESL class, specific methodologies and instructional materials that allow students to learn English systematically and cumulatively are used. Instruction shall take into account the first language and the culture of the students.
(CR Part 154.2)(d) PDF File (14KB)

When should a district provide an English as a Second Language program?

When a district has one or more limited English proficient student a free-standing English as a second language program must be provided. ESL services must be provided to LEP/ELL students until they exit LEP/ELL status by testing at the "proficient" level on the NYSESLAT.

What is meant by the Language Arts instructional component?

The language arts instructional component shall include English language arts instruction and English as a second language instruction. The language arts instructional component for the beginning and intermediate levels of English proficiency in grades K-12 is ESL instruction. The learning standards for English language arts (ELA) and English as a second language (ESL), and key ideas and performance indicators for such standards, shall serve as the basis for the ELA and ESL curricula, respectively.
CR Part 154.2)(d)(1) PDF File (10KB)

When should an advanced LEP/ELL student receive ELA?

English language arts instruction shall be provided to students at the advanced level of English language proficiency for a minimum of one unit of study (180 minutes per week) or its equivalent, divided into substantially equal daily allotments of instructional time. A minimum of one unit of study in ESL must also be provided for advanced level students.
CR Part 154.2)(1)(i) PDF File (10KB)

What does NYSED require in the area of language arts?

School districts must ensure that ample and varied experiences with language are provided for all students, including ELL students, to enable them to use language effectively and meet the high standards set for English language arts. NYSED requires the following learning experiences for all students, across all content areas, students will:

  • Read a minimum of 25 books or their equivalent per year;
  • Write an average of 1000 words per month;
  • Listen on a daily basis for specific purposes;
  • Speak on a daily basis to investigate topics.

See the English Language Arts Resource Guide at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/ela/pub/ccela.pdf PDF File (620KB)

Language experiences in English and in the native language fulfill these requirements. The International Reading Association (IRA) proclaimed its support of literacy in the native language. See the IRA's resolution on "Initial Literacy Instruction in a First Language." PDF File (97KB)

What should ESL instruction include?

English as a second language instruction shall be designed to develop skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing and communicating in English through the integration of academic content appropriate for the student's age, grade level and English language skills. This instruction should be provided in substantially equal daily allotments of instructional time.
(CR Part 154.2)(d)(1)(ii) PDF File (10KB)

What should the content area component of ESL provide?

The content area instructional component of ESL shall provide grade-and age-level appropriate instruction in the required content area subjects in English supported by English as a second language methodologies, employed in a systematic and structured way, and shall be designed to develop cognitive skills of LEP/ELLs.
(CR Part 154.2)(2)(ii)(2) PDF File (13KB)

Who can teach English as a Second Language classes?

ESL can be taught by a certified ESL teacher or a common branch (K-6) teachers with a bilingual extension in a K-6 bilingual program (October 2011 Memo). These teachers have completed extensive coursework in linguistics, sociolinguistics, methods of teaching a second language, teaching language through content, and foundations of bilingual and multi-cultural education. ESOL teachers in NYS are certified to teach grades K-12.

How many ELL students do we need to have before we are required to hire a certified ESOL teacher?

One. An appropriately certified teacher must instruct all ELL students who are eligible for ESL services.

What are the district's responsibilities if they are having difficulty securing a highly-qualified and certified ESL teacher to provide ESL services?

CR Part 154 requires that all identified ELLs must receive the required ESL and Native Language instruction, if in a bilingual program.  If a certified ESL or bilingual teacher is not available, the district must follow immediate steps to provide alternative instruction elsewhere, as directed in Education Law 3214(e). Districts are not exempt from this requirement.

How many students may an ESL teacher have in her/his caseload?

The student teacher ratio should not exceed that of the district's policy for both classroom and pull-out programs. It is strongly recommended the ratio be smaller.

Can a Teacher's Assistant provide direct instruction to ELLs?

No. A Teacher's Assistant may provide supplementary instruction to an ELL student under the direct supervision of an ESOL-certified teacher. However, the certified ESOL teacher must provide direct instruction for the minimum number of units per week.

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Transitional Services for ELLs

What are Transitional Services for ELLs in CR Part 154?

Each school district shall ensure a smooth transition for former limited English proficient students transferring from a bilingual or free-standing English as a second language program into an English mainstream program. Instructional and support services such as Academic Intervention Services (AIS), content area support, ESL instruction or regular consultation between the ESL teacher and mainstream teachers may be included. Transitional services shall be provided for the first year after the student is placed in the English mainstream instructional program.
(CR Part 154.3)(2)(i) PDF File (14KB)

Before transitional services are provided, ELLs should always have the opportunity to participate in magnet schools, gifted and talented, and other special programs as well as participating in after-school programs for language enrichment. ELLs should also be able to participate in bilingual vocational/career awareness programs; they do not have to wait until transition.

For how long must transitional services be provided under CR Part 154?

CR Part 154 requires that schools ensure a minimum of one-year transition for former English Language Learner students into a mainstream English program.
(CR Part 154.3)(2)(i) PDF File (14KB)

For how long must transitional services be provided under NCLB Title III?

Schools receiving federal funds under NCLB must monitor and provide transitional services to former ELLS for up to two years after they no longer meet the State's definition for limited English proficient.
http://www.ed.gov/news/press releases/2006/09/09132006a.html External Link Icon/p>

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Former ELL students

Who are Former ELLs?

Former ELLs are students who have achieved a score of "proficiency" on the NYSESLAT.

What types of services should be provided to former ELLs?

Instructional and support services such as Academic Intervention Services (AIS) must be provided to former ELLs when the monitoring of their progress indicates a need for such intervention. ESL instruction or regular consultation between the ESL teacher and mainstream teachers may also be included.

Can former ELLs continue to receive ESL services?

Yes. Any services that would help the student continue to progress toward meeting the New York State standards may be provided, including ESL instruction.

Do former ELLs qualify for testing accommodations?

Yes. Former ELLs are eligible for accommodations on state assessments for up to two years. See Accomodations

Do former ELLs generate State aid?

No. Former ELL students do not generate State Aid or Title III funding.


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ELL students with Interrupted Formal Education (SIFE)

New York State defines these students as those who:

  • come from a home where a language other than English is spoken and enter a school in the US after grade two; and/or,
  • are immigrant students who enter a school in the United States after grade 2;
  • have had at least two years less schooling than their peers; and,
  • function at least two years below expected grade level in reading and in mathematics; and,
  • may be pre-literate in their native language.

The early identification of ELLs with interrupted formal education is essential, as they represent an at-risk population. Schools must begin to collect and disaggregate data including such variables as age of arrival, mobility, years of schooling at time of arrival, and breadth and scope of content learned in both the native country and the United States. As these students are highly heterogeneous, multiple and varied interventions may be required.


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English Language Learner (ELL) and Special Education (SPED) Students


State Policy Clarification - Bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) Services for English Language Learners (ELLs) who are Students with Disabilities - PDF PDF document(61 KB)

New York State Model Forms: Student Information Summary Form and Individualized Education Program (IEP)


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Reading Materials

What kind of language resources and materials are available?

Below are links to some major publishing houses and vendors of books, software, and other classroom materials in Asian languages PDF File (35 KB) , Haitian PDF File (13 KB) and Spanish PDF File (20 KB). For additional information on Asian languages, contact ALBETAC at ALBETAC@gmail.com, on Haitian, HABETAC at habetac@brooklyn.cuny.edu, and on Spanish, the Spanish BETAC at nyssbetac@gmail.com


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New York State Learning Standards

What are the New York State Learning Standards?

The New York State Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) have launched several initiatives as part of the state's educational reform agenda. Fundamental to this effort has been the establishment of 28 learning standards in seven disciplines: English Language Arts; English as a Second Language; Math Science and Technology; Social Studies; Health; Career Development and Occupational Studies; Languages Other than English; and the Arts. The learning standards form the foundation for what students must know and be able to do to as a result of being educated in NYS public schools. Central to the 28 standards are the four English Language Arts (ELA) standards. Curriculum, Instruction & Instructional Technology (CI&IT)

Which Learning Standards pertain to ELL students?

The 28 learning standards apply to all students, regardless of their experiential, linguistic, or cultural background, capabilities, or developmental and learning differences. In particular, the ELA standards are the standards that apply to ESL and native language arts. Bilingual and ESL teachers are expected to teach to these standards in ESL, English language arts, and native language arts.

The language arts instructional component in an ESL classroom should be based on the Learning Standards for English as a Second Language. http://www.p12.nysed.gov/biling/resource/ESL/standards.html

Similarly, the native language arts instructional component in a Bilingual Education Program should be based on the Learning Standards for Native Language Arts, which are aligned to the English Language Arts Standards. http://www.p12.nysed.gov/biling/resource/NLA.html


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Support for Teachers and Administrators

Where can educators and administrators find local support?

The Regional Bilingual Education - Resource Networks (RBE-RNs) offer staff development and technical assistance for all educators. Staff at the fourteen centers provide resources and training on issues pertaining to educational programs and services for English language learners (ELL). They are funded through contracts from the New York State Education Department's Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies. The mission of the RBE-RNs is to enhance the development of knowledge and competencies of educators, parents, and local communities needed to support the academic excellence of ELL students. The RBE-RNs provide the highest quality technical assistance to promote equity and excellence in the education of English Language Learners in New York State schools.


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In-Service Training/Professional Development

Are school districts with ELL students required to provide in-service training?

Yes. School districts with English Language Learner students shall provide in-service training to all personnel providing instruction or other services to such students in order to enhance, understand and appreciate students' native languages and cultures and their ability to provide appropriate instructional and support services. (CR Part 154.3)(2)(j) PDF File (14 KB)


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Information for Parents of ELLs

What is the school district's responsibility to the parents or guardians of ELLs students?

The School district's responsibility to the parents or to persons in a parental relation to a student designated as an English Language Learner is to notify the parent in English and a language they understand the child's placement in an instructional bilingual or free-standing English as a second language program and their options. School districts offering programs to limited English proficient students meet with the parents or other persons in parental relation to such students, at least twice a year, to help them understand the goals of the program, and how they might help their children. (CR Part 154.3)(k)(1) PDF File (14 KB)

Can a parent withdraw their ELL student from a Bilingual Education program?

The parents or other persons in parental relation to a student designated as an English Language Learner shall have the option to withdraw their child from participation in a bilingual education instructional program, provided that:

  • the parents or other persons in parental relation to a student designated as an English Language Learner meet with the school principal and the school or district supervisor of bilingual education to discuss and explain further the nature, purposes, educational value of the program and the skills required of personnel;
  • at a minimum, the student shall participate in a free-standing English as a second language program.
  • in a school building where the number of eligible students does not require the offering of a bilingual education program, parents or other persons in parental relation to a student identified as limited English proficient shall have the option to transfer their child to a school within the district provided such program is available at another school. A parent who chooses not to exercise the transfer option shall be informed that his or her child shall participate in a free- standing English as a second language program (CR Part 154.3)(2)(i)(ii).

Can parents withdraw their ELLs student from an English as a Second Language (ESL) program?

No. There is no opting out from ESL once a child is identified and placed in the ESL program. New York State requires that all identified ELL students receive ESL instruction appropriate to their proficiency level. Parents do not have the option to withdraw their child from an ESL program.  See Memo: Parent Withdrawal Memo to Field 5-09

Is a school district required to provide a parent orientation for parents/guardians of ELLs students?

Parents or other persons in parental relation to a student designated as an English Language Learner who is a new entrant, as defined in the Commissioner's Regulations, shall be provided an orientation session on the state standards, assessments, school expectations and general program requirements for the bilingual education program and the free-standing English as a second language program. Such orientation shall take place within the first semester of their child's enrollment in the school and, when needed, shall be provided in the first language of the student's parents or other persons in parental relation to the student http://www.p12.nysed.gov/biling/pub/part117.2.html

(CR Part 154.3)(4) PDF File (10 KB)

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Non-Public Schools and ELLs

Do ELLs in non-public schools have to take the NYSESLAT?

According to the NCLB Non-Public School regulations, "Private school students receiving Title III services, like participating public school students, must be assessed annually for their level of English proficiency in the domains of listening, speaking, reading, writing and comprehension. LEA's in timely and meaningful consultation with private schools are responsible for administering an annual English proficiency assessment that is agreed upon by the private school. The state assessments may be used, if they are appropriate, or other assessments, such as those administered by the private school, may be used. The assessments selected must be comparable to those used for the public school students, and aligned with the achievement of the academic content and student academic achievement standards established by the state, or by the private school."


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What is Foundation Aid?

Foundation Aid is the NYS operating formula of allocating resources to school districts by consolidating some thirty existing aid programs into a Foundation Aid formula that will distribute funds to school districts based on the costs of providing an adequate education, adjusted to reflect regional costs and concentrations of pupils who need extra time and help in each district.

Schools districts receiving large Foundation Aid increases of 10 percent or $15 million will be required to develop a " Contract for Excellence" which will commit school officials to demonstrate that funds are spent to produce measurable results in student outcomes.

What are the new responsibilities for school districts receiving Foundation Aid under Part 154 Regulations?

Each school district receiving total foundation aid, including each community school district of the city of New York, shall develop a comprehensive educational/services plan to meet the educational needs of pupils with limited English proficiency. Such plan shall be kept on file in the district and made available for department review upon request of the department. (CR Part 154.3)(a) PDF File (11 KB)


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What is Contract for Excellence (C4E)?

C4E requires school districts with large aid increases and low student performance to spend their aid increases in ways that are documented to improve student achievement. The law requires school districts to target funds for students with the greatest educational needs and to supplement, rather than supplant, existing district effort. Districts provide data on the allocation of C4E funds on programs with a track record of success in raising student achievement and identify student performance targets they expect as a result of C4E expenditures. End-of-year assessments will determine if performance targets are met and form the basis for subsequent year's C4E planning. Funds can be spent in one of seven programs.

Last Updated: June 25, 2014