English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) is the language instruction educational program for eligible English learners (ELs). The program provides support for English language acquisition and the development of skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. During enrollment, students are identified and screened using the WIDA screener to determine eligibility. If a student qualifies, the parent/guardian is notified and services are begun.
Although many students can communicate socially, they struggle with the language used for academic purposes. It can take many years for students to develop this academic language that includes complicated text structures, formal grammar use, and abstract concepts. The ESOL program assists students to acquire both social and academic language in English by providing direct instruction on a daily basis. The program provides targeted support that enables English learners to master the skills needed for success in American schools.
ESOL students in kindergarten through 3rd grade typically receive one(45 minutes) ESOL class daily. Students in 4th -12th grade receive one or two ESOL classes each day (50 minutes each), depending on a variety of factors, including the number of ESOL teachers, the number of ELs at the school, student proficiency levels, etc.
Each year, students who qualify for ESOL services are tested with the ACCESS for ELLs test to measure language growth and to determine continued eligibility for the program. The testing window for ACCESS for ELLs is January/February, with results arriving in mid-May. Scores on ACCESS for ELLs will determine whether students meet the exit criteria.
In order to exit English language assistance services, Kindergarten ELs must score a Composite Proficiency Level (CPL)/Overall score of ≥5.0 with at least a 4.5 in the Writing domain and at least a 5.0 in each of the remaining domains (Listening, Speaking and Writing). For grades 1 to 12: ELs must score a CPL of ≥5.0 or greater in order to exit the program. If the student in grades 1-12 scores in between 4.3 – 4.9, an internal English Learner Reclassification Review Committee determines language placement for the next.
When students no longer qualify for the ESOL program they are monitored for two school years to ensure a smooth transition into general education classes, per federal guidelines. During the two-year monitoring period, these students are eligible for instructional and testing accommodations if needed. In rare circumstances, a student who exited the ESOL program does not demonstrate the academic language proficiency needed for success in general education classes. The student support team may recommend re-entry to the ESOL program in such cases. Once the two-year monitoring period has ended, re‐entry to ESOL is not permitted by federal guidelines.