English as a Second Language
Mr. Jerry Diviney
Federal Programs Director
Mrs. Amy Dunn
Special Education Director
State of Tennessee
Department of Education
English as a Second Language Policy Guidance
Contact: Jan Lanier, ESL Coordinator
Steven Nixon, ESL Assessment Consultant
The Tennessee Department of Education has the vision to serve all Limited English Proficient (LEP) students in the State with research based English as a Second Language (ESL) programs that are sufficient in moving them toward a goal of proficiency.
The Title III Project Team will work to provide the needed support for these goals to be accomplished in a reasonable time frame and manner. Further, all LEP students will have access to the best public education available, including all classes, extracurricular activities, support and enrichment opportunities with no discrimination or segregation because of English language ability.
Title III within the Department of Education in the State ofTennesseeis focused on providing Limited English Proficient (LEP) students the best opportunities possible by offering support on the issues of
- Program design approval for ESL;
- Uses of Title III federal funds;
- ESL intake and follow-up testing for Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs) and Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) purposes;
- Maintaining student to teacher ratios as stated on the Consolidated Applications;
- Support on technical issues as needs arise; and
- Federal guidelines by disseminating that information to the Local Education Authorities (LEAs) in a timely manner.
The Title III project forTennesseestrives to provide and maintain equity among LEAs for services of LEP students throughout the State and to work toward reaching the federal goals set in place by the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) at the U.S. Department of Education.
State Board of Education
The State Board of Education created the Basic Education Plan (BEP) Bluebook which is found at http://tennessee.gov/sbe/BEP/BEP%20Booklet%20FY10%20FINAL.pdf
Under this plan, ESL is funded at
- 30:1 as a student: teacher ratio
- 300:1 as a student: translator ratio
Although funding is based on this level, the State Board of Education policy states that staffing be maintained at a 45:1 student teacher ratio. The staffing ratio can be found at
ESL Class Size
ESL class size cannot exceed class size for other courses at the specific grade level. For example, if a regular kindergarten is staffed at 1 teacher: 20 students, the minimum standard for ESL would be the same ratio. Keeping in mind, that these students are at high risk and are coming into the district with more funding, the district should create, within budget guidelines, the best possible class size for these students. Class size can be found at http://state.tn.us/sos/rules
- Local boards of education shall have policies providing for class sizes in grades K-12 in accordance with the following:
Average class size
Maximum class size
- The average class size for a grade level unit (such as the unit K-3) shall not exceed the stated average, although individual classes within that grade level unit may exceed the average.
- No class shall exceed the prescribed maximum size.
- Local school systems shall not establish split-grade classes solely for the purpose of complying with the provisions of the class size averages and maximums.
- Local boards of education must approve the establishment of any split-grade classes for any purpose. The average class size specified for the grade levels involved in split-grade classes will be the maximum size allowed in such classes.
Home Language Survey
All students entering aU.S.public school, must be administered a home language survey. This survey should be kept in the child’s cumulative folder. State Board Policy requires these three questions:
· What is the first language this child learned to speak?
· What language does this child speak most often outside of school?
· What language do people usually speak in this child’s home?
More questions may be added, but answers to these three questions determine whether students need to be screened for ESL services. If the answer to any of the above questions is a language other than English, the child will be classified as Non-English Language Background (NELB) and assessed for English proficiency.
Students who are identified as Non-English Language Background (NELB) on the Home Language Survey are tested with the Tennessee English Language Placement Assessment (TELPA).
In February of each year English Learners (ELs) will be tested with the English Language Development Assessment (ELDA). This is a mandated assessment and is administered only to active ESL students. Students who are in transition are tested with other mandatory State ofTennesseeassessments: TCAP and Gateway.
Service to LEP Students
According to Title VI, all students have the right to equal access of educational opportunities. Failure to allow a student into any academic course for which s/he has had the pre-requisite courses is denying access to full educational opportunities. LEP students have the right to be in any enrichment, support or extra-curricular activities. They may not be retained or failed due to English language development. If there is a language problem that denies access to the curriculum, the district/school has the obligation of making that program/class accessible to the LEP student. These guidelines are firm whether or not the district accepts Title III funding.
Private Schools and Title III
Students in private schools have the same rights to ESL services as students attending public schools. The LEA must meet with the private school and decide through the consultation process how the service will be provided. Although it is not required that the private school test the students with the same intake test as public school ELs, it is the responsibility of the LEA to determine the service needed. The State feels contends that the best way to ensure equity here is to use the same intake instrument. The intake instrument should test all 4 domains of language: reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Services must be negotiated and agreed upon during the consultation. These services should begin at a comparable time. For example, if the district begins ESL classes the day the school year begins, to meet this comparability clause, the LEA must ensure the private school begin services when the private school begins or at most within a week.
Because these students are Title III students all parent notification requirements for Title III parents must be followed. It is the responsibility of the LEA to see that this is completed.
Requirements for LEAs
Data from districts will be collected by the Educational Information System (EIS) that is populated by local computer record-keeping and enrollment systems, such as Chancery and STAR. Therefore, for funding as well as other federal requirements, it is essential that districts code students correctly for enrollment. In EIS these codes are
· L = English Language Learner
· 1 = Transition Year I
· 2 = Transition Year 2
· g = a student who was L, 1, or 2 during his freshman year in high school (allows a 5th year + 1 semester for on-time graduation)
· N = Non English Background Student (first language was not English, but does not need ESL classes or support)
· E = English is native language (for Americans from English speaking homes, British, Australian, Canadian, etc. This is not to be used for children from ESL backgrounds.)
Funding will be taken from the information in the EIS system for Title III funding using counts that are in EIS as of October 1.
Districts are required to keep the following lists broken down by gender, proficiency level (where relevant), grade-level, language group, ethnicity, and identification number:
· list of immigrant students
· list of students not tested withELDA
· list of NELB students
· list of students on a waiver
· list of current T1 students
· list of current T2 students
· List of current English Language Learners (ELs)
These lists may be pulled from the computer system used by the district. They should be organized with a header stating school district, district number, date, Title III contact, federal programs contact. Similar reports should be available by school upon request.
It is the responsibility of the district to notify the State Department of Education of changes in personnel that impact ESL, e.g., Title III Coordinator, ESL Coordinator, Federal Program Coordinator, within 14 days of the change. It is further the responsibility of the district to send a representative to all State ESL training related to record keeping, testing, federal requirements, etc. Should the district be unable to send a representative, it should contact Jan Lanier for needed information.
If your district needs assistance with any aspect of your district’s ESL program, the State Department of Education will offer you the necessary technical assistance. We are available for regional trainings, for interpretation of test scores, to help design or re-design ESL program within districts, etc. We acknowledge both the challenge and fulfillment of working with a diverse population.
Overview of Title III: English as a Second Language
Service Requirements for Non-English Background Students
· All students registering in the district must be given a Home Language Survey with the following 3 questions: 1. What is the first language this child learned to speak?
2. What language does this child speak most often outside of school?
3. What language do people usually speak in this child’s home?
· Every student who has an answer other than English on the Home Language Survey (HLS) must be assessed with the Tennessee English Language Placement Assessment (TELPA)
· Students who score a 1 on the TELPA, or who scored a 1 or 2 composite on the previous year’s English Language Development Assessment (ELDA) must receive a minimum of one hour of ESL services daily
· Students who score a 2 on the TELPA or who scored a 3 composite on the ELDA must receive services as needed. For many, this will be 1 hour per day.
· Students who score a 3 on the TELPA do not qualify for ESL services and are coded as Non English Language Background (NELB) in the Education Information System (EIS)
· Students who score composite 5 on the ELDA must be exited from services and coded as an 1 (Transition 1) in EIS for the first year in transition.
· Students who score a composite 4 may be exited and coded as 1. If they are not exited, their names must be submitted to the state with a reason for not exiting them.
· English Learners (ELs) may never be retained or failed based on language ability.
· All ELs (not Transition students) must be assessed annually with ELDA until exited.
· ELs must have full access to content curriculum through necessary modifications and accommodations.
· ELs must take the math, language arts, social studies, and science TCAP annually with one exception: during the first year in the US, the student may be exempt from the English Language Arts Achievement test. No EL is exempt from the English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA)
· An ESL program may be provided through various service delivery models including: ESL pull-out programs, ESL cluster centers to which students are transported from their zone schools, resource centers/ESL laboratories, newcomer centers, push-in or inclusion models, sheltered content classes, content based ESL classes, structured immersion classes, or scheduled ESL class periods.
· ESL teachers must be fluent in all four domains (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) of English. Each district should have a plan in place for assessing the teacher before hiring.
· ELs should be allowed to participate in all extra-curricular and special programs if they wish to participate.
· Districts should post definitions of Immigrant and LEP (EL in TN) students on their websites and make sure teachers and administrators understand these definitions.