Understanding Programs for ELLs:
Leadership for Increased Student
Success and Achievement
JoAnne Negrin, Ed.D.
Supervisor of ESL, Bilingual Education, World Languages, & Performing Arts
NCLB/Title I Coordinator
Vineland Public Schools
July 23, 2014
Content Objectives
• To understand how case law and state and
federal code shape our programs for ELLs
• To develop strategies for dealing with
common situations with ELLs that you will
encounter as a principal
• To build awareness of resources at your
Language Objectives
To master key vocabulary related to ELL issues
• ELL Scaffolded Model Curriculum
Things to Know
• Children who have high
literacy levels in their home
language learn English faster
and better than children who
do not develop native
language literacy
• Bilinguals are better at
focusing their attention,
excluding distractors,
problem-solving, and creative
• Developed bilingualism is a
huge advantage that can help
mitigate any disadvantages a
student may have
The LEP Designation
• Limited English Proficient OR
• Language-Enhanced Pupil?
Great Moments in ELL History:
• Civil Rights Act (1964): Language is a proxy for
national/ethnic origin.
• Implications for promotion/retention as well
as for HIB (DOJ and OCR can investigate based
on national origin, race, or color under Title VI
of the Civil Rights Act)
• ELLs have a right to access to gifted and
talented programs, extracurriculars, etc.
Lau v. Nichols (1974)
• Lau v. Nichols (1974): “…Under these stateimposed standards there is no equality of
treatment merely by providing students with the
same facilities, textbooks, teachers, and
curriculum; for students who do not understand
English are effectively foreclosed from any
meaningful education…We know that those who
do not understand English are certain to find
their classroom experiences wholly
incomprehensible and in no way meaningful.”
Equal Educational Opportunities Act
• Codifies the Lau v. Nichols decision
• If you receive federal funds, you must provide
equal opportunity for access to all programs
and activities
Castañeda v. Pickard (1981)
• Programs must be based on sound
educational theory
• Programs must be implemented effectively
with sufficient resources and personnel
– I.D. and placement, C&I, staff qualifications,
materials, access to programs, exit criteria, parent
• Programs must be evaluated for effectiveness
Castañeda – Second Prong
• “If no remedial action is taken to overcome
the academic deficits that limited English
speaking students may incur during a period
of intensive language training, then the
language barrier, although itself remedied,
might, nevertheless, pose a lingering and
indirect impediment to these students’ equal
participation in the regular instruction
program”. (Castañeda, 648 F.2d at 1011)
All About AMAOs
• There are 3 Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives
(AMAOs) every ESL/Bilingual program in the state must
– AMAO 1: Percentage of students who exhibit the required
amount of growth on the ACCESS for ELLs test (changes by year)
– AMAO 2: Percentage of students reaching proficiency as
determined by the ACCESS for ELLs test by time in program (4
years or less, 5 years or more)
– AMAO 3: Percentage of LEP students proficient on standardized
tests in Language Arts and Math (NJ ASK, HSPA)
AMAO data is available on the NJDOE Homeroom website
Special Education Concerns: OverIdentification
• Diana v. California Board of Education (1970):
Students classified due to language difference;
inappropriate assessment
Concerns: Under-Identification
• Schools are very sensitive to the possibility of
• As a result, ELLs with special needs are
sometimes left behind
N.J.A.C. 6A:14 – 3.5(b)
Determination of Eligibility
• In making a determination for special
education and related services, a student shall
not be determined eligible if the determinant
factor is
• Due to a lack of instruction in reading,
including the essential components of reading
instruction, or math OR
• Due to limited English proficiency (emphasis
Differing Explanations for Observable
Observable Difficulty
Possible ELL Explanation
(Observed in English)
Possible Disability
Explanation (Observed in
multiple contexts across
both languages)
Omits words or adds words Direct transfer from L1
to a sentence
Early stages of L2
Word retrieval difficulties
Has difficulty retelling
events of a story read
Early stages of L2
development; may
understand but does not
have enough expressive
language to retell
Short-term memory
Does not understand or
speak L2
Attention difficulties
Becomes distracted easily
Expressive language
Difficulties with
Comprehension difficulties
Too much decontextualized
oral language
(Sanchez-Lopez, 2007)
Normal Processes in L2 Acquisition
Silent or nonverbal period
Language Loss
Indicators of Disability
• Difficulty learning language at a normal rate
compared to “true peers,” even with special
assistance in both languages
• Short mean length of utterances in both
• Auditory processing problems (e.g., poor
memory, poor comprehension) in both
Indicators of Disability
• Poor sequencing skills: Communication in
both languages is incoherent, disorganized,
and leaves listener confused
• Communication difficulties when interacting
with peers from a similar background
• Lack of organization, structure, and sequence
in written and spoken language; difficulty
conveying thoughts
“Why is he in ESL? He speaks English
just fine!”
• Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS):
Usually require 1-2 years to develop
– Example words: table, “what’s up?”
• Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency
(CALP): Usually requires 4-7 years to develop
– New meanings (table)
– General academic words (act upon, attach, inquiry)
– Content area words (molecule, diameter)
There has never been a better time!
• SGPs/SGOs – It’s a collaboration, not a
• NJDOE Model Curriculum ELL Scaffolds
• ELLs are everywhere!
Every Teacher is a Language Teacher
• “Educators have begun to realize that the
mastery of academic subjects is the mastery
of their specialized patterns of language use,
and that language is the dominant medium
through which these subjects are taught and
students’ mastery of them tested.” (Lempke, 1988,
Sheltered Instruction (SIOP)
• SIOP is a research-based method of teaching
language and content that is widely used.
• Most sheltered instruction practices
correspond to what effective teachers do
• Makes explicit the language objective in every
• Provides supports so that ELLs and all
struggling learners can meet content
What you can do: School Level
• Ensure that teachers have the resources to
help students develop their L1 while they are
acquiring English (Title III $$$$ can help)
• Ensure that your evaluation process includes
differentiation for ELLs
• Provide and/or encourage professional
What you can do: District Level:
• Ensure that your district has an assessment
policy for ELLs
• Promote professional development at the
district level
• Collaborate with other buildings on issues
related to ELL achievement
Information Technology Solutions
• Ensure that data on ELL performance (such as
broken down ACCESS scores) is available to all
teachers who have an ELL
Technology for Family Engagement
Technology for Collaboration
Show Me The Money: Uses for Title III
• Title III can be used for professional
development of mainstream teachers in issues
pertinent to the achievement of ELLs
• Sheltered Instruction training, supplemental
classroom materials in L1 for mainstream
• “WIDA-fying” mainstream curricula to provide
scaffolds for ELLs that all teachers can use
• Colorín Colorado:
• NJDOE Title III Office:
• N.J.A.C. 6A:15:
• Borderless Learning:
• Borderless Learning (Twitter)