Programs for English Language Learners

We offer families of English Language Learners three programs that help their children learn English. The three programs are:

  • Dual language
  • Transitional Bilingual Education
  • English as a New Language.

If your child’s current school does not offer the program you want, the school can help transfer your child to a school that offers the program of your choice.

Dual Language

Dual-language programs include both native English speakers and English Language Learners. The students learn in both English and their home language. In most dual-language programs, the students get half of their instruction in their home language and the other half in English.

The goal of the program is for students to learn how to speak, read, understand, and write in two languages, and also learn about and appreciate other cultures.

Transitional Bilingual Education

Transitional Bilingual Education programs put together students who speak the same home language so they can to learn to speak, understand, read, and write in English while continuing to learn in their home language.

The students learn subjects, such as math and science, getting help in their home language, while they learn English. As students’ English improves, they spend more time learning in English and less time learning in their home language. The goal of the program is to transition students to an English-only classroom setting.

English as a New Language

In an English as a New Language program teachers work with the students to build their speaking, writing, reading and listening skills in English using supports in the students’ home language. The goal of the program is to support students as they become capable in English. There are three types of English as a New Language programs:

  • Push-in: an English as a New Language teacher works with a general education teacher to provide language and vocabulary support to students.
  • Pull-out: English Language Learners who spend most of the school day in an English-only classroom are brought together for targeted instruction in English.
  • Self-contained: English Language Learners are grouped together in a classroom, usually for the entire school day, to learn subjects, such as math, science, and social studies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my child learn English if he or she is using our home language often?

A common concern is that students will be confused when learning in two languages. Research has shown that there is no language confusion. Using a student’s home language is the best way for them to develop English. Students who learn in two languages develop mental flexibility that helps them learn in powerful ways.

What kind of lessons and activities should I expect to see in a Dual-language or Transitional Bilingual Education program?

Students get part of their instruction in English and part in the home language, but the content is the same as in classrooms that are English-only. Students learn subjects such as math, science, and social studies in two languages. A student who is bilingual can listen, speak, read, and write in both English and the home language. Skills in one language transfer to the second language. When a student has strong skills in the home language, those skills transfer to the second language.

How do I learn more about programs for my child?

All New York State schools must hold meetings for families of newly enrolled English Language Learners. During that meeting, families:

  • Are informed about the different programs available for English Language Learners in their schools or district.
  • Get information and materials about the programs.
  • Are able to ask questions about services, with assistance from an interpreter, if needed.

At the end of the meeting, parents:

  • Fill out a form to confirm that you have the information you need to make decisions for your child.
  • Receive an English Language Learner Student Placement form that you will use to tell us which program you want your child to be placed in.

When can my child leave English Language Learner programs?

There are three ways students can end their English Language Learner status:

  • For students in grades kindergarten to twelve, students must score at the Commanding/Proficient level on the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test.
  • For students in grades three to eight, students must score at the Expanding/Advanced level on the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test and must score three points or above on the New York State English Language Arts assessment in the same year.
  • For grades nine to twelve, students must score at the Expanding/Advanced level on the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test and 65 points or above on the Regents Exam in English in the same year.

Once your child has ended their English Language Learner status, they become a Former English Language Learner. Former English Language Learners are allowed to receive two years of support.

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