Contract for Excellence

Allowable Programs and Activities

New Category:

Updated - July 2008




The following Model Programs are some of the most commonly known programs implemented around the nation that have been proven to be effective in closing the achievement gap for Limited English Proficient / English Language Learners (LEP/ELLs). It is strongly recommended that districts with LEP/ELLs use their Contract for Excellence (C4E) funding to design, support, and implement innovative model programs based on best practices that will assist LEP/ELLs to attain English proficiency, meet State academic and student achievement standards, and insure equitable access to such programs. The Model Programs highlighted below can be implemented as part of the seven allowable C4E contract program areas and services: (1) class size reduction; (2) time on task; (3) teacher/principal quality initiatives; (4) middle and high school restructuring; (5) full-day Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten; (6) model programs for English Language Learners; and (7) experimental programs. 


School districts are responsible to ensure that programs and services for LEP/ELLs, including LEP/ELL students with special needs, are in accordance with CR Part 154, and the district's comprehensive plan.  The links and resources in the Appendix of this document provide options that a district may wish to consider for meeting its overall responsibilities under the No Child Left Behind Act and New York State (NYS) laws and regulations related to the education of LEP/ELLs. This includes the Regulations of the Commissioner C.R. Part 117, C.R. Part 100, C.R. Part 200, C.R. Part 154, C.R. Part 80, Education Laws 3204 and 3602, and Article VII in New York State.


I. Native Language Support

A high-quality preschool program must be designed to draw on and support the strength of the state’s ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse child population. There is substantial research indicating that the use of English and the Native Language in preschool programs, can contribute to greater school readiness. Programs should provide ongoing multilingual technical assistance and professional development to teachers, program staff and program administrators.

Although they differ in terms of implementation, both the Two-Way Bilingual Education and Dual Language Programs attempt to bring language minority and mainstream students together at the program and instructional level and to provide content area instruction and language development in both languages.  These programs aim to foster academic achievement in English and another language, the development of bilingual/biliterate skills, and positive cross-cultural attitudes and competence.    Research indicates that LEP/ELLs acquire literacy skills in English faster and do better in school, if they have a strong foundation in their home language. Districts should also consider establishing these programs for students with special needs. Classrooms may want to use the integrated co-teaching service approach or consultant teacher services to ensure that the students’ special needs are addressed in the areas of language acquisition, culture, and disability.

Supporting native language and bilingual resource materials in school libraries and in local community libraries will help to increase the literacy skills of LEP/ELLs and to support immigrant parents with materials in different media types (e.g., print materials, CDs, DVDs, etc.) that would help them to learn and understand, and be able to navigate themselves in their newly-adopted country.  These materials will facilitate the students/families’ acculturation and to provide them with the skills and knowledge to become active participants at work and the children’s schools, and to access social support services. Research shows that when the students’ native language is used at school and home, it can accelerate the second language acquisition process and help foster academic success.

Districts should consider a range of bilingual service options that include native language literacy and native language supports in content areas for LEP/ELLs with disabilities. Districts could establish late-exit transitional bilingual education programs for students with disabilities.


II. Professional Development (PD) and Effective Teaching Practices

§       Such activities, to be effective with LEP/ELLs and LEP/ELLs with disabilities, should adopt a team-approach model that includes Bilingual Special Education Teachers, Bilingual Teachers of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities and all other clinical staff (Psychologists, Social Workers, Therapists, etc.) in ongoing professional development activities.

§       Schools and districts should instill practices that are culturally responsive in the classrooms as well as in school-wide management.  This has shown to improve academic achievement, reduce suspensions of LEP/ELLs with and without disabilities, and reduce referrals to special education.


o      Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI: An approach to mathematics instruction that helps teachers to understand children’s intuitive mathematical thinking.

o      Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP): Lesson preparation and delivery model that helps teachers promote students’ English language development through subject matter instruction.

o      The Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA): An instructional model for second and foreign language learners based on cognitive theory and research. CALLA integrates instruction in priority topics from the content curriculum, development of the language skills needed for learning in school, and explicit instruction in using learning strategies for academic tasks. CALLA can be used in ESL, EFL, bilingual, foreign language, and general education classrooms.


Culturally supportive classroom strategies lessen intimidation and reduce language barriers for LEP/ELLs. When teachers understand and respect cultural differences in and among their students, they can create a class environment and design instruction that does not detract from the students' cultural values. Professional Development activities should include, but not be limited to, (1) Information on heritage cultures, and how they may affect (1) Academic learning; (2) Literacy acquisition; (3) Social integration; (4) Information on literacy and linguistic testing tools available to mainstream teachers; (5) Resources on how to use technology and assistive technology in literacy assessment; (6) Information on legal and educational mandates that need to be met in testing of LEP/ELL populations; and (7) Information on testing accommodations. It is also important to develop targeted professional development for administrators so that they become vested in the concerns and challenges of this population. 

Include training on second language acquisition and effective ESL methodologies for monolingual English-speaking special education teachers, related service providers, providers of pupil personnel services, IEP teams, and Committees on Special Education.

An LEP/ELL curriculum that supports high academic achievement in all academic subjects, that is consistent and comprehensive in its approach to instruction is absolutely critical for LEP/ELLs as they attempt to both simultaneously "catch up" to other students who speak English proficiently and to "keep pace" with grade-level content. This curriculum should (1) Integrate academic language and vocabulary with content concepts; (2) Include core components of content-based instructions; (3) Integrate language and content standards into curriculum units; and (4) Use matrices and develop multicultural units.

Although content area teachers might like to assume that all students can comprehend texts, this may not always happen.  When students read, they need to encode letters, decode words in the texts, understand the meaning of these words, use the information from texts to construct knowledge, and demonstrate their understanding.  The context that surrounds the word or words is important as well.  Students should be provided linguistic cues, as in writing the word on the board or providing it in front of the student on some sort of card or other means for seeing, as well as a non-linguistic representation such as an illustration that will develop a strong mental model.  Graphic organizers are important in establishing understandings of difficult concepts and vocabulary. If students cannot read, then they are hindered in developing content area knowledge. Every content area teacher has a responsibility to help students to access, read, and understand texts successfully.


III. Extended Day Support

Extended day programs can help fill the day program gap. Staff members can readily use techniques that stimulate and stretch language production, build vocabulary, model appropriate speech, and expand listening comprehension.  Good extended day programming motivates children to use their English and native language. Effective strategies for LEP/ELLs may include integrating reading, writing, listening, and speaking; teaching language through content and themes; focusing on vocabulary development; and offering choices to spur motivation and integrated skills through well-designed media, technology, and inquiry projects, field trips, service-learning, and presentations.  (“Extended day programs” at best refer to after-school activities.  Should additional language be provided to address “Saturday and Summer Enrichment” activities?  Also, are we to assume from this paragraph that the “tutorial programs” mentioned here refer to “well-designed media, technology, and inquiry projects, field trips, service-learning, and presentations”?)


IV. Parental Involvement Programs

Often language and/or cultural barriers prevent parents from feeling confident in their own ability to collaborate with schools and assist in their children’s academic achievement. Children from diverse cultural backgrounds tend to do better when parents and professionals collaborate to bridge the gap between the culture at home and the learning institution. Some examples of how schools can immediately increase parental involvement and subsequently establish mutual trust and respect between themselves and parents are: (1) Translate parent meetings and informational materials into community languages; (2) Offer adult English classes and family literacy programs; (3) Make explicit unstated rules and behavioral expectations (for example, that parents are expected to attend parent/teacher conferences);

(4) Invite and encourage parents to volunteer at the school; and, (5) Offer power-sharing relationships by encouraging parents to form advocacy groups, and enabling them to share in decision-making about school programs and policies.  Also, schools and districts should be encouraged to learn more about the language and culture of the families they serve.


V. Programs for New Immigrant

Many new LEP/ELL students need a period of adjustment, not only to the education system they are entering, but also to the social environment of this country.  This is a time during which they need an emotionally-safe educational atmosphere that fosters rapid language learning, acculturation, and enhancement of self-esteem. Newcomer programs differ tremendously in terms of general structure and set-up, curriculum, length of stay, and language of instruction. What they do share is a dedication to helping limited English proficient newcomer students’ transition to the American school system (and culture) as quickly and painlessly as possible, and to provide  educational approaches that emphasizes English language acquisition, while recognizing that development of language skills is but one of the many steps in the transition process.

Recently arrived English-speaking students who have been in this country fewer than three years need educational and acculturation support programs as well that will fully prepare them to participate in the mainstream school and community environments.  Supplemental programs tailored to the linguistic and literacy needs of the English-speaking such as after- school, Saturday and summer school programs should also be considered.

Over the past decade, New York State has been receiving many new refugees from many countries around the world. Refugees come to us with many different social and educational backgrounds. Most will need bilingual or ESL services, in addition to overcoming their social, economic, linguistic and political situation.  (What about their emotional needs?)


VI. Other Programs for LEP/ELLs

SIFE LEP/ELLs require special attention to succeed in all-English classrooms. Interrupted formal education (i.e., education that is incomplete or of poor quality), may lead to limited literacy skills in the native language, a lack of understanding of school processes and procedures, and be below grade level.  Effective instructional approaches will vary based on such factors as the student's native language and age and unique features of the school and community. Classroom teachers should be prepared to teach content as well as literacy and numeric skills (numeracy?) that are at times many grade levels behind the students' peers. Structuring the language development programs (bilingual educationà this may not be available in all instances, right?) around past content objectives is equally as important as providing instruction on current objectives.

Long-term language learners are LEP/ELLs who have been in the U.S. seven or more years and are below grade level in reading/writing and other content areas. Many of our LEP/ELLs with disabilities are classified as long-term LEP/ELLs. This should be considered when developing programs and strategies that have been proven effective for students with disabilities.  LTEs often have very good conversational English skills and can appear fluent, but are making progress in their English ability at a very slow rate.  They are clearly lacking the academic language proficiency to successfully cope with the language demands of the classroom which, in turn, leads to inability to cope with the content itself. A student with oral English conversational fluency, but lacking academic language skills, will still need language support to make gains both in language and content learning. These language supports may include explicit vocabulary instruction (i.e. pre-teaching and contextualizing vocabulary), alternate reading text, and scaffold writing activities. Just like academic content, academic language increases in complexity from grade level to grade level so LEP/ELLs are chasing a moving language target as well. Academic struggles for long-term language learners may not only be a result of below average English language skills. These students have undoubtedly not acquired all of the content instruction to this point, and have missed fundamental concepts that are necessary for comprehending grade level content.

Many LEP/ELLs that have exited ESL or Bilingual Programs may need support to transition into the mainstream school’s social and educational environment. Schools should make sure that LEP/ELLs continue to perform at grade level in all academic areas, because they are counted as part of the schools accountability system for two years after exiting ESL and/or Bilingual programs. If needed, former LEP/ELLs should be given the opportunity to continue attending programs for LEP/ELLs during and after school. Tutorial support programs for one to two years after exiting are effective during this transition period. Also, mainstream teachers should be notified and work with ESL and Bilingual teachers to provide additional support if needed.  


VII. Recruitment and Retention of Bilingual and ESL Teachers

§       A well-defined set of staffing policies and procedures designed to meet the needs of students with limited English proficiency in grades K-12;

§       A career ladder for bilingual teaching assistants in partnership with a school of education at a major university and with advising and counseling personnel at feeder community colleges;

§       Knowledgeable district support for prospective teachers on the credentialing process;

§       A comprehensive package of recruitment activities designed to advertise and promote a progressive living and working environment;

§       A full range of staff development activities to improve the skills of the current teachers and teaching assistants;

§       A close professional relationship among the bilingual education coordinating staff and professional and community organizations that support bilingual education; and

§       Facilitate local and state grants for completion of Bilingual and ESL university programs.

§       Information on pathways to certification for individuals who are fluent in one or more languages;

§       Information pathways to certification for individuals who are currently certified to teach and who may lack the Bilingual Extension and/or Special Education training;

§       Information on types of temporary certificates available;

§       Training for appropriately certified and licensed personnel so that they can provide the mentoring and supervision needed for college students who are completing coursework, leading to initial or provisional certification, and other district employees who are seeking professional or permanent certification;

§       Administrative support for planning and collaboration among personnel in the following disciplines: Bilingual General Education, Bilingual and Monolingual Special Education, ESL, and Bilingual and Monolingual Speech-language, and Bilingual and Monolingual Pupil Personnel Services.


Best Instructional Practices for LEP/ELLs:

§       Conduct formative assessments to screen for reading problems and monitor progress and adjust instructional practices and strategies.

§       Provide intensive, small-group reading interventions for ELLs at risk for reading problems.

§       Provide extensive and varied vocabulary instruction throughout the day.

§       Develop academic English competence beginning in the primary grades.

§       Schedule regular peer-assisted learning opportunities, including structured language practice.

§       Provide activities that promote oral and listening opportunities.

§       All content area instruction should have a language rich environment.


Complexities when implementing Response to Intervention (RTI) for LEP/ELLs

Disproportionate representation of students from diverse socio-cultural and linguistic backgrounds in special education has been a persistent concern in the field for more than 30 years.  Pre-referral intervention emerged during the 1970s in response to the concerns about inappropriate identification and labeling of children for special education which has evolved over time into a variety of models.  Current discussions about Response to Intervention (RTI) models for the identification of learning disabilities (LDs) reflect these concerns as well (Vaughn & Fuchs, 2003).


When RTI is implemented with culturally and linguistically diverse learners, it is critical that the pre-referral intervention process is culturally and linguistically responsive; that is, educators must ensure that students’ socio-cultural, linguistic, racial/ethnic, and other relevant background characteristics are addressed at all stages, including reviewing student performance, considering reasons for student difficulty or failure, designing alternative interventions, and interpreting assessment results (Ortiz, 2002). Without such examination, even pre-referral intervention practices may not result in improved student outcomes and may continue to result in disproportionate representation in special education.


From: Preventing Disproportionate representation: Culturally and linguistically responsive Pre-referral interventions, S. B. García, & A. A. Ortiz, University of Texas at Austin, 2006, The National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (NCCREST)





All programs and activities under the option of Model Programs for LEP/ELLs in the C4E Program shall:


§       Facilitate student attainment of the New York State learning standards.

§       Predominantly benefit LEP/ELL students, and students in poverty and/or students with disabilities.

§       Predominantly benefit those students in schools identified as requiring academic progress or in need of improvement or in corrective action or restructuring.

§       Be developed in reference to practices supported by research or other comparable evidence as to their effectiveness in raising achievement.

§       Be accompanied by high quality, sustained professional development focused on content pedagogy, curriculum development and/or instructional design to ensure successful implementation of each program and activity.

§       Be consistent with federal mandates, state law, and regulations governing the education of such students.

§       Be used to supplement, and not supplant, funds allocated by the district in the base year for such purposes.

§       Supplement and not supplant programs funded under other state or federal program.  Sources.


Federal Law, Regulation, and Guidance:


No Child Left Behind Title III

PL 107-110: Guidance on standards, assessments, and accountability for Language Instructional programs for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students: Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).


National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition & Language Instruction Educational Programs (NCELA)



U.S. Department of Education - What Works for English Language Learners


U.S. Department of Education - Doing What Works Website


U.S. Department of Education Regional Comprehensive Centers, Center on Instruction



NYS Education Law and Commissioner’s Regulations (Cr):


Diagnostic Screening of Pupils

CR Part 117: NYS Regulations on Identification and Services to LEP Students – Regulations governing initial identification and services to limited English proficient (LEP) students in New York State.


Apportionment and Services for Pupils with Limited English Proficiency

CR Part 154: Amendments to Commissioner’s Regulations Related to NCLB: – Education of Students with Limited English Proficiency as amended by the Board of Regents on July 17, 2003 and effective May 2, 2003.


Continuum of Services for Students with Disabilities

CR Section 200.6 includes, but is not limited to, requirements pertaining to: grouping requirements; appropriate certification requirements; consultant teacher services; related services; resource room programs; special classes; twelve-month special services and/or program


New York State Education Department Guidance Materials:


Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign language Studies



New York After School Network

This self-assessment tool provides an opportunity for program leaders and key staff, in collaboration with other stakeholders, to utilize a common set of standards to assess, plan, design and execute strategies for ongoing program improvement. The self-assessment tool itself is an evolving document. The goal is for it to be used throughout New York State, and possibly beyond, but also to continue to be refined based on the knowledge gleaned from its use, to maximize the effectiveness of self-assessment as a tool for appraisal, planning and implementation.


The Teaching of Language Arts to Limited English Proficient/English Language Learners Trilogy


Research Studies, Research Reviews and Other Best Evidence:

From English Language Learners to Emergent Bilinguals, O. García, J. A. Kleifgen, and L. Falchi, January 2008, A Research Initiative of the Campaign for Educational Equity

Teachers College, Columbia University


Challenging Common Myths about Young English Language Learners, L. Espinosa, Jan. 2008, FCD Policy Brief, Advancing PK-3, No 8, NY


Two-way and monolingual English immersion in preschool education: An experimental comparison. National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) Barnett, S., Yarosz, D., Thomas, J., & Blanco, D. (n.d.). New Jersey: New Brunswick.


A parent's and teacher's guide to bilingualism. Tonawonda, NY: Multilingual Matters, Inc. Baker, C. (2000)

[NCELA Resource ID: BE020884]


English Language Learners with Special Needs: Effective Instructional Strategies (Ortiz, A. A., 2001):

Secondary newcomer programs: Helping recent immigrants prepare for school success. Short, D. (1998).


Globalization, immigration, and education: The research agenda. Suarez-Orozco, M. (2001). Harvard Educational Review, 71, 345-365.

[NCELA Resource ID: BE022309]


The Effects of Test Accommodations on Test Performance: A Review of the Literature. Sireci, S. G., Li, S., & Scarpati, S. (2003). (Center for Educational Assessment Research Report number 485.) Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts.


The effect of a simplified English language dictionary on a reading test. Albus, A., Bielinski, J., Thurlow, M., & Liu, K. (2001). (LEP Projects Report 1.) Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.


Trends and Developments in English-Language and Literacy (English-Language Learning in the Classroom, English-Language Assessments: Questions & Answers) ETS – Innovations Magazine            Spring 2008;



The 2008 English-Language Learners Symposium sponsored by ETS


Current State of English-Language Learners in the U.S. K-12 Student Population; Rose M. Payán and Michael T. Nettles Introduction ETS Research and Assessment


Resources about English Language Literacy, Academic Language, and Content Area Literacy
A resource guild from the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA)


The Center on Instruction: materials and resources on reading that help educators improve reading outcomes for students in grades K-12


Preparing English Language Learners for Academic Success, Center for Public Education


Methods for Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Learners, (Hoover, Klingner, Baca, & Patton, 2008) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education).


English language learners with special education needs: Identification, assessment, and instruction. (Artiles, A. J., & Ortiz, A. A. (Eds.). (2002)) Washington, DC, and McHenry, IL: Center for Applied Linguistics and Delta Systems.


Collaborative Strategic Reading (Klingner & Vaughn, 1996; Klingner, Vaughn & Schumm, 1998; Klingner, Vaughn, Dimino, Schumm, & Bryant, 2001)



Resources About Secondary English Language Learners:


Double the Work: Challenges and Solutions to Acquiring Language and Academic Literacy for Adolescent English Language Learners, Alliance for Excellent Education, 2007


Creating a formula for success: Why English language learner students are dropping out of school, and how to increase graduation rates. Advocates for Children of New York and the New York Immigration Coalition. (2002, June). New York, NY: Author.


Claiming opportunities: A handbook for improving education for English language learners through comprehensive school reform. Coady, M., Hamann, E. T., Harrington, M., Pacheco, M., Pho, S., & Yedlin, J. (2003). Providence, RI: The Education Alliance at Brown University.


Multiple measures approach to high school graduation. Stanford, Darling-Hammond, L., Rustique-Forrester, E., & Pecheone, R.).  (2005CA: School Redesign Network.


Transfer in the Academic Language Development of Post-secondary ESL Students

B. Jiang & P Kuehn, Bilingual Research Journal, 25: 4 Fall 2001


Additional Resources For Information About LEP/ELLs:


Bilingual ESL Technical Assistance Centers (BETAC)


Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL):


Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE):


Teaching Diverse Learners (TDL):

BUENO Center for Multicultural Education: 


The NYS Bilingual Special Education Resources Network:

Key Issues in Bilingual Special Education Work Papers:


Bilingual Research Journal Online:

National Center for Culturally Responsive Education Systems:

Supporting Special Student Populations in Two-Way Immersion Programs:


Linguistic Minority Research Institute, University Of California, A University of California Multi-Campus Research Unit

The High Schools English Learners Need (Gold, Maxwell-Jolly)
The Feasibility of Developing a California Education Longitudinal Study (Kaufman)
The Redesignation Dilemma (Linquanti)
The Initial Impact of Proposition 227 (Gándara, et al)
The Schooling of English Learners (Rumberger, Gándara)
How Long Does it Take English Learners to Attain Proficiency? (Hakuta)
Review of the Research on Instruction of Limited English Proficient Students (Gándara)



State and National Professional Organizations


New York State Association for Bilingual Education 


New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages        


National Association for Bilingual Education


Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages