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English Language Learners

ESL (English as Second Language) or ELL (English Language Learner) is a program designed to provide students who speak another language with the English skills necessary to succeed in all areas of school and out in the real world. Our goal is to enable them to take full advantage of their education by achieving academic language proficiency in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.

Students who are identified as English Learners (ELs) should be served in an instructional program designed for ELs, defined as either an English as a Second Language (ESL) or Bilingual Education (BE) program by Minnesota statute. Districts and charters schools have discretion in selecting appropriate language programs but the program chosen should be considered sound by experts in the field. 

The program should be designed to meet varying needs across proficiency levels. For example, students at the beginning levels of English proficiency need more intensive services than students at transitional levels of English proficiency. Whichever model is implemented by the district or charter school should be clearly articulated and available to parents, staff, and students.

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Home Language Questionnaire (HLQ)
A home language questionnaire (HLQ ) is completed for all students who enroll in a district.  The HLQ is the first step in determining whether a student is eligible for English Learner programs and services.  How the student looks or sounds in English should not determine whether or not an HLQ is completed.  Districts and charter schools must determine the primary home language of ALL students.

Parent Notification of English Learner Services
When a student is first identified as an English Learner, the state requires that parents are notified of English Learner services available to the student.  Districts and charter schools that receive Title III funding from the federal government are required to notify parents every year that their child receives English Learner services.  All parents have the option of declining English Learner services.

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