ELL Special Ed - Center for the Education and Study of Diverse

Some Questions…
English Language Learners, Alternative Language Programs & Special Needs
Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations
at New Mexico Highlands University
Provide working responses to questions related to New
• English Language Learners (ELLs);
• Alternative Language Programs; and
• Special Needs.
Let’s Get Right to It!
• Who are ELLs?
• What is an alternative language program?
• Special needs?
• "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."
Lau v. Nichols (1974)
What does Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 require for
English-language learner students?
Federal law requires programs that educate children with
limited English proficiency to be:
1. based on a sound educational theory;
2. adequately supported, with adequate and effective staff and
resources, so that the program has a realistic chance of success;
3. periodically evaluated and, if necessary, revised.
Does OCR require districts to follow a particular educational
approach, such as bilingual education?
No. OCR does not require or advocate a particular educational
approach to the instruction of ELL students. Districts have
substantial flexibility when developing programs to meet the
needs of ELL students.
What if parents do not want their child to have services to
address their English needs?
• Parents can opt to not have their children enrolled in an ELL
• When a parent declines participation, the district retains a
responsibility to ensure that the student has an equal
opportunity to have his or her English language and
academic needs met. Districts can meet this obligation in a
variety of ways (e.g. adequate training to classroom teachers
on second language acquisition; monitoring the educational
progress of the student).
English Language Learners
with Special Needs?
“If ELLs are failing in general ed., there is no harm in placing
them in special ed. where they will receive individualized
• Research shows that ELLS in special education with learning
disabilities demonstrate lower verbal and full-scale IQ scores
after placement in special education than at their initial
• This means that even in special education, ELLs (in general) do
not receive the type of instruction they need (due to the lack
of ESL instructional methodology and other professional
development for special education professionals).
English Language Learners
with Special Needs?
• The terminology “English language learner” (ELL) is
used to avoid the negativeconnotation of “limited English
proficient” (LEP). However, LEP is still used by the
government and in law.
• The dropout rates for English language learners are 1520% higher than the overall rate for non-English language
learners. This lack of academic success is also the cause
for referrals of English language learners to special
English Language Learners
with Special Needs?
• Research shows that ELLs are typically either overrepresented or under-represented in district special
education programs across the U.S.
• The ELL population percentages are disproportionate
when compared to their English speaking peer
populations’ percentages.
English Language Learners
with Special Needs?
• Research demonstrates that English language learners
with the least amount of language support are most likely
to be referred to special education.
• ELLs receiving all of their instruction in English were
almost three times as likely to be in special education as
those receiving some native language support.
ELL Students With Disabilities
OCR v.
Denver Public Schools
Language dominance was not
Instead the determination of language
dominance was based on subjective
information regarding the student’s
language use and background. Persons
who determined language dominance
were not necessarily qualified to
administer special education
Sometimes LEP students were
evaluated in English only
because school staff persons
decided that the student was
“fluent enough in English”.
Diagnostic testing instruments
that are published in English
were often translated into other
languages for students who
speak another language
Staff persons disregarded advice
of evaluators that unknown
effects of linguistic differences
affect the reliability and validity
of the results and should be
considered when interpreting
test scores.
District failed to ensure that
language-minority student
were not assigned to special
education programs on the
basis of criteria that
essentially measure and
evaluate English-language
Schools lack special
education staff persons who
are qualified to deliver
recognized alternative
language services.
The District does not pay special
education teachers to receive training in
alternative language service delivery, as
they do alternative language program
teachers in the regular education setting.
Students who met the eligibility
criteria to receive dual services
(alternative language programs
and special education programs)
were not receiving both.
Some LEP students receiving special
education services do not also receive
alternative language services at all
schools. Some LEP students who did
receive alternative language services,
receive less service time when qualified for
special education.
What can we do before referring?
Improve General Education: Teacher
• General education teachers who can teach an increasingly
diverse student population
• English language learners
• Children from diverse cultural backgrounds
• Children living in poverty
Improve General Education:
• Teacher teams to improve instruction in general
Data driven
School-wide interventions
Appropriate language supports
• Parent and community involvement
• How can schools understand their students if they don’t
understand where they come from?
Prereferral Strategies*
Child study teams
Informal problem solving
Parent interviews
*Some students should be referred for an evaluation
immediately, depending on suspected disability
Classify English Language Learners For
Evaluation Purposes
• Limited English proficient – recent arrival (less than one year).
• Limited English proficient – one to three years.
• Long-term limited English proficient – over three years
(regardless of services).
Why is LEP Status Important?
• Will determine
language or
languages of
How Do You Determine LEP
• For most students, information is included in referral.
• Consult bilingual/ESL service providers.
Evaluation of
When is it necessary to evaluate language or languages?
When the suspected disability has language component.
Next Steps
• Determine suspected category of disability.
• Determine existing data.
• Determine additional data needed.
Next Steps (cont.)
• If additional data gathering is necessary, determine in which
language or languages child will be evaluated.
• Determination of language of evaluation can be done based
on the previously outlined categories of LEP:
• Recent arrivals should be tested in native language
• All other LEP students should be tested in both languages if
appropriate and depending on suspected disability
What Should the IEP Team Do
Section 300.533 (Determination of needed evaluation data)
allows teams* to review existing data to determine if child has
“…a particular category of disability” and “whether the child
needs special education and related services…”
*Always include bilingual/ESL service provider as part of team.
For What Categories Should An Evaluation of
Language Be Conducted?
Speech Language Impaired
Specific Learning Disabilities
Mental Retardation
Multiple Disabilities
Traumatic Brain Injury
Deaf and Hearing Impaired
For Which Categories Is It Not Necessary to
Evaluate Language? *
Visually Impaired
Orthopedically Impaired
Other Health Impaired
Emotionally Disturbed
*Unless the IEP team suspects that the child’s language skills are
delayed as well.
Why Determine Suspected
Disability For LEP Students?
• IEP teams routinely conduct language evaluations for students
they suspect have a non-language related disability.
• To better calibrate evaluations and produce better results.
Suggested Strategies for
• Gather as much background information as possible including
academic records, parent interviews*, and observations.
• For additional instruments, use bilingual personnel or trained
personnel working with trained interpreters.
*Particularly important for ELL students.
Suggested Strategies for
Evaluation (cont.)
• Use only instruments normed on a sample that includes
children similar to those being evaluated
• Report findings descriptively, never report scores
(approximate measures).
Evaluation Issues
• Beware of language load when using translations
• Beware of item difficulty (importance of bilingual evaluators)
• Train evaluation personnel to work with and prepare
interpreters whenever necessary
Training Special Education Personnel to
Work with Interpreters
• Evaluation personnel is often reluctant and unsure of how to
work with interpreters.
• Trained interpreters are much more effective in translating the
message accurately.
• Trained evaluation personnel working with trained
interpreters will produce better results.
Planning for Special Education and
Related Services
• Link evaluation results to IEP
• Link language(s) of evaluation to language(s) of services
bilingual instruction or ESL services
Delivery of Special Education and
Related Services
• Use team approach whenever possible, especially for students
who need special education and language support services
• Allow time for team planning - saves time and money in the
long run
What Else Can You Do?
Frequent review of referrals and placements of ELL students
Close collaboration with bilingual/ESL personnel
Training for special education personnel
• Title III NCLB
• Under Civil Rights law and the No Child Left Behind Act, school
districts that receive Federal financial assistance have an
obligation to identify and serve all ELL/LEP students. Title III of
the No Child Left Behind Act particularly focuses on providing
financial support for districts to develop scientifically researchbased instructional programs for ELL/LEP students. These
programs must ensure that ELL/LEP and immigrant students:
• Attain English language proficiency;
• Develop high levels of academic attainment in core academic
subjects; and
• Meet the same challenging state academic standards as all
children are expected to meet.
State Law
New Mexico Bilingual Multicultural Education Act (2004)
NMSA 22-23-1 to 22-23-6
Subsections A and B of the Act (NMSA 22-23-6) outline the following requirements that districts shall meet to be
eligible for financial support:
Subsection A:
1. “Provide for the educational needs of linguistically and culturally different students, including Native American
children and other students who may wish to participate, in grades K-12, with priority to be given to programs in
Grades K-3, in any public school or any combination of public schools in a district;
2. Fund programs for culturally and linguistically different students in the State in Grades K-3 for which there is an
identifiable need to improve the language capabilities of these students before funding programs at higher grade
3. Use two languages as mediums of instruction for any part or all of the curriculum of the grade levels within the
4. Use teachers who have specialized in elementary or secondary education and who have received special training in
Bilingual Multicultural Education conducted through the use of two languages. These teachers or other trained
personnel shall administer language proficiency assessments in both English and in the home language until
proficiency in each language is achieved;
5. Emphasize the history and cultures associated with the student’s home or heritage language;
6. Establish a parent advisory committee, representative of the language and culture of the students, to assist and
advise in the development, implementation and evaluation of the Bilingual Multicultural Education Program; and
7. Provide procedures to ensure that parental notification is given annually prior to Bilingual Multicultural Education
Program placement.”
Subsection B
“Each Bilingual Multicultural Education Program shall meet each requirement of Subsection A of this section and
be approved by the department to be eligible for state financial support.”
New Mexico Bilingual Multicultural
Education Regulation
Public schools providing an approved Bilingual Multicultural Education
program shall include:
 instruction to attain proficiency and literacy skills in two languages, one of
which is English;
 sheltered content instruction;
 standardized curriculum that is aligned with the state academic content
standards, benchmarks and performance standards; and
 instruction in the history and cultures of New Mexico
The following content areas shall be included in all programs:
 language arts in the home or heritage language; for funding purposes, time
allotted for instruction in the home language must be equivalent to the time
provided for English language arts and must be consecutive in nature (that is,
not fragmented throughout the day);
 modifications of instruction in the English language arts that address the
developmental, linguistic and academic needs of students; and
 depending on the program model:
 content area instruction in two languages that utilizes the student’s language,
history, and/or culture;
 fine arts instruction in two languages that utilizes the student’s language,
history, and/or culture and the arts traditions of his/her community.
Bilingual Program Models
Dual Language
ELL/FEP/ English native
Instructional Time:
3 hours per day for each
language, including all
subject areas.
ELL students
Instructional Time:
2 to 3 hours per day.
Heritage Language
FEP/ English native
Instructional Time:
1 to 2 hours per day.
ELL/FEP/ English native
Instructional Time:
1 to 3 hours per day.
ELL students
Instructional Time:
2 to 3 hours per day.
Required Courses:
Minimum of 3 hrs. in the
Home language (Language
Arts and two Content
areas) and 3 hrs. in English,
including ESL for ELL
Required Courses:
1 hr. of Home language and
1 hr. of ESL.
May have 1 additional hr. of
Bilingual in a Content Area
(Math, Social Studies,
Science or Fine Arts).
Required Course:
1 hr. of Home language.
May have 1 additional hr. of
Bilingual in a Content Area
(Math, Social Studies,
Science or Fine Arts).
Required Courses: 1 hr. of
Heritage language and
1 hr. of ESL for ELL
May have 1 additional hr. of
Bilingual in a Content Area
(Math, Social Studies,
Science or Fine Arts).
Required Courses:
1 hr. of Home
language and 1 hr. of
May have 1
additional hr. of
Bilingual in a Content
Area (Math, Social
Studies, Science or
Fine Arts).
Purpose: All students will
be bilingual and biliterate in
English and the home/2nd
Purpose: ELL students will
become bilingual and
biliterate in English and the
home language.
Purpose: All FEP and
English native speakers will
become fluent in the
home/2nd language.
Purpose: All students will
become bilingual and
biliterate in English and the
Heritage lang.
Purpose: All ELL
students will become
proficient in English.
Program Placement
Parent Notification
• Provide procedures to ensure that parental notification is given
annually prior to program placement. U.S. Civil Rights law and policy
require districts that receive Federal financial assistance to provide
the parents of language minority students with notice of all school
activities containing the same information that is provided to the
parents of other students, regardless of the subject matter. To be
adequate, such notices must be furnished in a language, manner
and/or form that are understandable to parents. (See examples in
the Appendixes of this manual).
• Parents of ELL/LEP students do not need to respond to the student
placement notification in order for the student to participate in the
program. Whether the parent(s) responds or not, the district is
obligated to provide ESL/ELD instruction strategies to ensure that
the student’s English-language and academic needs are met.
Parent Notification
Parent Notification Requirements of Individual ELL/LEP Student Placement:
Within 30 days after the start of the school year and prior to placement, parents must be
notified with regard to:
Reason for identification which includes student’s level of English proficiency
(as indicated by the New Mexico English Language Proficiency Assessment);
Method of instruction used in the program (content, instructional goals, English
and home language instruction);
How the program will meet student’s educational strengths and individual needs;
Program exit/expected rate of transition for ELL/LEP students;
The right to remove the child upon request;
The right to decline enrollment in the program or decline the method of
instruction; and
Information given to parents must be in an understandable and uniform format in
the language of the parents when feasible. (Some Native American languages
are not available in a written format.)
A LAT Team
• Language Assistance Team
Anything Else?
Thank you!
Adrian Sandoval
[email protected]
Phone: 505-243-4442
Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations
at New Mexico Highlands University