English Learner (EL) Programming

Pickerington Schools is home to over 650 English Learners (ELs) speaking more than 57 languages. The district provides various levels of services to this highly heterogeneous group of students who possess diverse gifts, educational needs, backgrounds, languages, and goals.  Our program accelerates English language literacy while valuing the social and cultural knowledge that a child brings to school. The district primarily serves ELs based on language needs through self-contained instruction and integrated instructional settings. Our department includes an EL coordinator, an EL administrative assistant, EL specialists, and paraprofessionals.

Administrative Team

Denise Mitchell
Denise Mitchell
Administrative Secretary, English Learners, Teaching & Learning Department
Deepak Dhakal
Deepak Dhakal
Bilingual Liaison - Nepali
Wafa Hinnawi
Wafa Hinnawi
Bilingual Liaison - Arabic
Awa Mbaye
Awa Mbaye
Bilingual Liaison - French and Wolof
Katie Warren
Katie Warren
Bilingual Liaison - Tigrinya
Francisca Opuku-Agyemang
Francisca Opuku-Agyemang
Bilingual Liaison - Akan, Twi, and Ga

EL Teaching Team

Tammy Bader
Tammy Bader
English Language Learners/5-6
Megan Butcher
Megan Butcher
Michelle DiPietro
Michelle DiPietro
English Learner (EL) Teacher
Jodi Hall
Jodi Hall
English Learner (EL) Teacher
614.833.6385 Heritage Elementary
Janelle Henderson
Janelle Henderson
English Language (EL)
Beth Klamo
Beth Klamo
English Learner Teacher Pickerington Elementary
Diana Loving
Diana Loving
English Learner Teacher
Tracy Massey
Tracy Massey
District Wide Instructional English Learner (EL) Coach
Jennifer McGraner
Jennifer McGraner
7th & 8th Grade EL Teacher
Lakeview JH 614.830.2200
Christy McNulty
Christy McNulty
English Learner Teacher
614 835-2000 (Harmon)
Maryann Miller
Maryann Miller
English Learner Teacher / PHSN
(614) 830-2799
Akeyla Ragland
Akeyla Ragland
District Wide English Learner (EL) Coach
Jodie Schlaerth
Jodie Schlaerth
English Learner Teacher
Debra Skarsten
Debra Skarsten
EL - Grades 7, 8

About English Learning (EL)

What is EL?

According to an article found on the Ohio Department of Education’s website, “In Ohio, more than 39,800 limited English proficient (LEP) students/English Learners (EL) were enrolled in the state’s elementary and secondary public schools during the 2010-2011 school year. The terms ‘limited English proficient’ and ‘English Language Learners’ refer to those students whose native or home language is other than English, and whose current limitations in the ability to understand, speak, read or write in English inhibit their effective participation in a school’s educational program. The number of ELs reported in Ohio for school year 2010-2011 represents an increase of 38 percent over the number reported five years previously and an increase of 199 percent over the number reported 10 years ago.”

English Learners Handbook

The English Learners handbook can be downloaded here (PDF)

The Following text is for test purposes. Please disregard.

Information Contained within the English Learners Handbook

Created during the 2015-2016 school year (updated 6/2019) The mission of the Pickerington EL Department is to prepare students for academic success through integrated content-based language instruction and to prepare educators to work with this diverse population through professional development. The department will foster academic achievement, critical thinking and problem solving for students, while advocating for cultural education and enrichment for English learners within the district and the larger community.

Section 1 

EL Program Overview

EL Federal Definition
According to Section 25 of Title IX of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, the term English Learner is an individual

A. who is aged 3 through 21;
B. who is enrolled or preparing to enroll in an elementary school or secondary school;
C. (i) who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English;
i. who is a Native American or Alaska Native, or a native resident of the outlying areas
ii. who comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual’s level of English language proficiency; or
iii. who is migratory, whose native language is a language other than English, and who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant; and
D. whose difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language may be sufficient to deny the individual –
i. the ability to meet the State’s proficient level of achievement on State assessments described in section 1111(b)(3)
ii. the ability to successfully achieve in classrooms where the language of instruction is English; or
iii. the opportunity to participate fully in society.

The U.S. Department of Education published the following support materials to outline guidance for serving English Learners in a public school setting.

Home Page
Dear Colleague Letter
English Learner Toolkit

EL Definition from Ohio’s Department of Education
According to the Ohio Department of Education, “In Ohio, more than 39,800 English Learner (EL) students/English Language Learners (ELL) were enrolled in the state’s elementary and secondary public schools during the 2010-2011 school year. The terms “English Learner” and “English Language Learners” refer to those students whose native or home language is other than English, and whose current limitations in the ability to understand, speak, read or write in English inhibit their effective participation in a school’s educational program. The number of ELs reported in Ohio for school year 2010-2011 represents an increase of 38 percent over the number reported five years previously and an increase of 199 percent over the number reported 10 years ago.”

Pickerington EL Program Philosophy
The Pickerington Local School District is committed to providing a high quality English Learner (EL) program that validates each student’s native language and culture as a means to ensure linguistic, academic, and social-cultural success in a diverse society.  In order to meet students’ English language development needs, the Pickerington Local School District is committed to providing an evidence-based program of instruction that will allow us to:

  • Enable all students to achieve high standards.
  • Provide instruction for EL students in the most appropriate program according to needs, assessment, and ODE regulations.
  • Provide instruction that builds on students’ cognitive abilities and prior education.
  • Emphasize English language development and content area learning at every grade level.
  • Provide ongoing valid assessments of students that reflect the stages of English language acquisition.
  • Evaluate data and make program adjustments to continually improve student learning.
  • Encourage the use of native language support through technology to access content area curriculum while simultaneously providing English language instruction.
  • Promote understanding of and respect for cultural and linguistic diversity by students, parents, staff, and community.
  • Develop higher teacher competencies of ELs’ needs through comprehensive training of all staff on extensive teaching strategies/methodology and second language acquisition.
  • Develop and maintain services in the areas of special needs, gifted, and at-risk students.
  • Support and expand early childhood and family literacy programs.

Pickerington EL Program Vision and Mission

We aspire to:

  • Equip Pickerington English Learners with the skills needed to compete in our global society.
  • Improve our community and society by providing opportunities for cultural education and enrichment.
  • Provide resources and programs to our English Learners to accelerate their learning and ensure students are technologically savvy.
  • Stay current in educational policies and professional development so that our practices are research-based and considered best practice for ELs.
  • Advocate for our English Learners to various stakeholders.

The mission of the Pickerington EL Department is to prepare students for academic success through integrated content-based language instruction and to prepare educators to work with this diverse population through professional development. The department will foster academic achievement, critical thinking and problem solving for students, while advocating for cultural education and enrichment for English learners within the district and the larger community.

The Pickerington EL Program Overview
Pickerington Schools is home to nearly 400 English Learners (ELs) speaking more than 49 languages. The district provides various levels of services to this highly heterogeneous group of students, with diverse gifts, educational needs, backgrounds, languages, and goals. The purpose of our program is to accelerate English language literacy while valuing the social and cultural knowledge that a child brings to school. The district primarily serves ELs based on language needs through self-contained instruction and/or inclusive instructional settings. Our department includes an EL coordinator, an EL administrative assistant, EL specialists, and paraprofessionals.

In the elementary and middle school buildings, teachers provide a combination of inclusion classes with content teachers and small group instruction depending on the language proficiency level of the student. Proficiency levels range from one to five in each of the domains. If an EL student is a level one or two, they will receive more support. Typically they will be placed in an inclusive classroom (mostly ELA and some math) in which the EL co-teaches or provides support in the inclusion class. In addition, the level one and two students will also receive small group instruction. Small group instruction is used to reinforce information that was learned in the content classroom, front-load content that has yet to be introduced in those content classrooms, focus on identified gaps in data, or work on specific features of the four language domains (listening, speaking, reading, or writing). If a student is a level three or four, they will receive more inclusive instruction and will be pulled for small group on an as-needed basis.

In the junior high buildings, teachers work with the EL students in a similar manner, however their small group instruction is embedded in the school schedule. If an EL student is at the pre-functional or beginner level in their English language acquisition, their language support is scheduled for one period. The JH EL teachers work with content teachers in an inclusive setting (ELA, math, science, and/or social studies) to meet student needs.

In our high school buildings, EL teachers also have instruction that is embedded in the school schedule. If an EL student is at the pre-functional or beginner level in their English language acquisition, they will be scheduled into an EL class. They will take this class for English credit in addition to grade level ELA courses. The EL teachers also provide additional supports in language acquisition through language support classes. In addition, the EL teacher co-teaches with academic teachers. The courses differ from year to year and are dependent on the needs of the students.

Section 2
Assessment and Placement

Under Title III, part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act , there are three assessment requirements for English Learner (EL) Students:

  1. Test to determine language skills.
  2. Yearly language test to measure development and progress of English proficiency.
  3. Testing to measure students’ progress in meeting State learning goals.

Initial Language Test
Students are initially tested for current English language skills to determine appropriate programming using the Ohio English Language Proficiency Screener (OELPS).

Annual Language Assessment
Under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, schools must test students for English language skills. The Pickerington Local School District reports students’ English skills in: Writing, Speaking, Reading, and Listening. The Ohio Test of English Language Acquisition (OTELA) was given to EL students prior to the 2015-2016 school year. Starting the 2015-2016 school year, EL students take the Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA).

Implications of Legislation on EL Programs and Student Performance
Parents and guardians are required to receive a letter of notification regarding their student’s enrollment in the EL program after initial enrollment.
→ Parents and guardians must be informed within 30 days of initial assessment of their child’s English Language Proficiency (ELP) level and EL program options. If initial assessment were given during the summer, parents and guardians must be notified within 14 days after the start of the school year.

Testing Requirements on EL Students
EL students must be assessed annually in ELA and math (grades 3-8).
→ There are no exemptions or waivers to excuse EL students from testing. All EL students, regardless of time in country, must take proficiency/state standards tests (with accommodations)
→ States may provide accommodations on state-mandated assessments for EL students in U.S. schools. In Ohio, EL students may receive a bilingual/word-to-word dictionary, oral translation and extended time on assessments.
→ In Ohio, the OELPA (Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment) administration is arranged yearly through the Ohio Department of Education and local testing departments.
→ Students cannot test out of EL status until they demonstrate proficiency in all four areas of language development: reading, writing, speaking, and listening on the Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA).
→ Students who exit/test out of EL status are required to be monitored for four years to ensure they are adequately prepared for mainstream classroom.

U.S. Department of Education and Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Mandates for Servicing EL Students
→ Districts must identify EL students who need assistance.
→ Districts must ensure that all students who need language assistance are provided the opportunity for participation in an EL program.
→ Districts must identify a program in which all EL’s have a reasonable chance for success.
→ Districts must ensure that necessary staff, curricular materials, and facilities exist and are used properly.
→ Districts must annually assess the success of the program and make modifications where necessary.
→ Districts must guarantee that students are not being misidentified and enrolled into special education classes based on language.
→ Districts must develop appropriate evaluation standards, including program exit criteria, for measuring the progress of students.
→ Districts must ensure that parents who are not proficient in English are provided with appropriate and sufficient information regarding the education of their children in a language they understand.

Home Language Survey
The Home Language Survey (HLS) is a questionnaire given to parents or guardians that helps schools and Local Education Associations (LEAs) identify which students are potential ELs and who will require assessment of their English Language Proficiency (ELP) to determine whether they are eligible for EL services. (In Pickerington, the LEA is our Board of Education).

The following three HLS questions have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in their compliance work under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.

  • What is the primary language used in the home, regardless of the language spoken by the student?
  • What is the language most often spoken by the student?
  • What is the language that the student first acquired?

Asking these questions, and then testing a student whose parent or guardian responded to one or more of these questions with a language other than English, is considered minimally compliant under the law.

Key Points:
→ Schools should reassure parents that the HLS is used solely to offer appropriate educational services, not for determining legal status or for immigration purposes.
→ Parents and guardians should also be informed that, even if their child is identified as an EL, they may decline the EL program or particular EL services in the program.
Source: Tools and Resources for Addressing English Learners

Why are students Assessed?
Once students are identified as potential ELs, they must be assessed with a valid and reliable assessment to determine if they are indeed ELs. Such ELP tests must assess the proficiency of students in all four language domains (i.e., speaking, listening, reading, and writing).

Key Points:
→ LEA’s must identify in a timely manner EL students in need of language assistance services.
→ The Home Language Survey (HLS) is the most common tool used to identify potential ELs. An HLS must be administered effectively to ensure accurate results.
→ All potential ELs must be assessed with a valid and reliable assessment to determine if they are in fact ELs.
→ Parents and guardians must be informed in a timely manner of their child’s ELP level and EL program options.
→ LEAs are required to communicate information regarding a child’s ELP level and EL program options in a language the parents understand.
Source: Tools and Resources for Addressing English Learners

Who is Assessed?
In Pickerington, the following students are assessed:

  • A student whose parent or guardian responded on the HLS to one or more of the questions with a language other than English
  • A student who was qualified as EL from another state and transferred into the district
  • If additional information becomes available, it will be addressed on a case-by-case basis

How Are Students Assessed?
Students will be assessed using a valid, reliable commercial English language proficiency screener or the new state developed, standardized English language proficiency screener assessment (when available).

After assessment, the EL staff will notify the administrative team of the student’s EL status. The EL teachers will then confer with the parent(s)/guardian(s) to gain consent or refusal for services by signing documentation. Status forms, consent/refusal forms, and a copy of the assessment will be filed in the student’s green folder and kept with the EL teacher of record.

Students are assessed in English using the test appropriate for their age and grade level. All domains of the language proficiency (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) are measured. Students are assigned a language proficiency based on the composite (average) score of the number of points earned.

EL Program Options
Parents and guardians must be informed within 30 days of initial assessment of their child’s English Language Proficiency (ELP) level and EL program options. If initial assessment were given during the summer, parents and guardians must be notified within 14 days after the start of the school year. In addition to information about the student’s ELP level and program options, parents and guardians must be provided an opportunity to opt out of the EL program or particular EL services in the program. Translating this information into the family’s home language is critical, and if written translation is not provided, an oral interpretation should be made available whenever needed.

Below is a brief outline of programs offered to EL students in Pickerington Local School District after the assessment has been completed.


Small Group:  Students that are a level one or two will receive small group instruction daily.  Level three and four students will receive small group instruction on an as-needed basis.

Inclusion:  EL teachers co-teach with grade level ELA teachers.  The EL students are scheduled into the ELA classrooms with the peers and the EL teachers modify instruction to fit their language proficiency levels and needs.

Imagine Learning:  Imagine Learning is an online program that the elementary buildings use to support the reading instruction and language acquisition of early learners. The goal is to have students log 100 minutes each week. The program can be accessed at home.

i-Ready:  i-Ready is an online program that the elementary buildings use as the reading instruction and language acquisition of emerging learners. The goal is to have students log 45 minutes each week. The program can be accessed at home.

Middle School

Small Group:  Students that are a level one or two will receive small group instruction daily. Level three and four students will receive small group instruction on an as-needed basis.

Inclusion:  EL teachers co-teach with grade level ELA teachers. The EL students are scheduled into the ELA classrooms with the peers and the EL teachers modify instruction to fit their language proficiency levels and needs.

i-Ready:  i-Ready is an online program that the elementary buildings use as the reading instruction and language acquisition of emerging learners. The goal is to have students log 45 minutes each week. The program can be accessed at home.

Junior High

EL Class:  The following classes are designed for newcomer students that have little to no English Language Proficiency:
ENGLEP1  Pre-functional EL Instruction
ENGLEP2  Beginner EL Instruction

Inclusion:  EL teachers co-teach with grade level ELA teachers. The EL students are scheduled into grade level ELA classes and the EL teachers modify instruction to fit their language proficiency levels and needs. EL teachers also support the instruction of content classes.

High School

EL Class:  The following classes are designed for newcomer students that have little to no English Language proficiency. The classes are year long and students will receive English Credit:
ELPF980 Pre-functional EL Instruction
ELB981    Beginner EL Instruction

EL Support:  The following classes are designed as EL support classes for students taking grade-level English classes. They are semester long classes and count as elective credit:
ELS982  English Language Support

Inclusion:  Inclusion classes are offered based on highest student need. The EL teacher co-teaches with the content teacher to ensure the content is comprehensible to the EL student. All EL students will be placed in grade level ELA classes.
EL405  EL Inclusion for English 9
EL411  EL Inclusion for English 10
EL417  EL Inclusion for English 11
EL429  EL Inclusion for English 12

How Is EL Student Progress Monitored?
The EL Program, through the administration and analysis of the annual state-mandated English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA), monitors student progress. This assessment was previously known as OTELA (Ohio Test of English Language Acquisition).
ODE considers English Learners who score a combination of 5’s and 4’s in three domains and a score of 3 in one domain as Trial Mainstream. Trial Mainstream students will remain in the program until they reach “Proficient” status. EL Educators should monitor students’ progress and provide services as needed until they meet the exit criteria.

What Are the EL Levels and What Do They Mean?
Pre-Functional and Beginning Level Students:
At this level, students initially have limited or no understanding of English. They rarely use English for communication. They respond non-verbally to simple commands, statements, and questions. As their oral comprehension increases, they begin to imitate the verbalizations of others by using single words or simple phrases and begin to use English spontaneously.

At the earliest stage, these learners construct meaning from text primarily through non-print features (e.g., illustrations, graphs, maps, tables). They gradually construct more meaning from the words themselves, but the construction is often incomplete. They are able to generate simple texts that reflect their knowledge level of syntax. These texts may include a significant amount of non-conventional features, such as invented spelling, some grammatical inaccuracies, pictorial representations, surface features and rhetorical patterns of the native language (i.e., ways of structuring text from native culture and language).

Intermediate Level Students:  At this level, students understand more complex speech, but still may require some repetition. They acquire a vocabulary of stock words and phrases covering many daily situations. They use English spontaneously, but may have difficulty expressing all of their thoughts due to a restricted vocabulary and a limited command of language structure. Students at this level speak in simple sentences, which are comprehensible and appropriate, but which are frequently marked by grammatical errors. They may have some trouble comprehending and producing complex structures and academic language.

Proficiency in reading may vary considerably depending upon the learner’s familiarity and prior experience with themes, concepts, genre, characters, and so on. They are most successful constructing meaning from texts for which they have background knowledge upon which to build. They are able to generate more complex texts, a wider variety of texts, and more coherent texts than beginners. Texts still have considerable numbers of non-conventional features.

Proficient and Exited Level Students:  At this final stage, students usually can participate in academic topical conversations without difficulty. In most cases, they can follow complex and multi-level directions without assistance and they can understand oral information provided via electronic audio and video media. Students at this level usually speak English fluently in social and grade-level academic settings and they control age-appropriate syntax and vocabulary in their speech.

Generally, students read and understand factual information in non-technical prose as well as discussions on concrete topics related to special events. They comprehend standard newspaper items addressed to the general reader, correspondence reports and technical materials. At this level, they can write short papers and clearly express statements of position, points of view and arguments. In their writing, they usually show control of varied sentence structures, spelling, and vocabulary, expressing well-developed thoughts.
Source of the above proficiency level descriptions: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Inc., 1997, pp. 20-21

Exiting the EL Program
Each year EL students take the Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA), formerly known as Ohio Test of English Language Acquisition, to monitor their progress in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
→ In OELPA, there are three overall performance levels: Proficient, Emerging, and Progressing. The performance levels are determined as follows:

  • “Proficient” students are those scoring any combination of 4’s and 5’s across all four domains;
  • “Emerging” students are those scoring any combination of 1’s and 2’s across all four domains;
  • “Progressing” students are those scoring any combination across the four domains that does not fall into Proficient of Emerging.

→ ELs who score a combination of 5’s and 4’s in three domains and a score of 3 in one domain will remain in the program. These students will remain in the program until they reach “Proficient” status. EL Educators should monitor students’ progress and provide services as needed until they meet the exit criteria.
→ Students identified “Proficient” in grades K-12 are eligible to exit the EL program. After scoring Proficient, the student is no longer considered an English Learner student and will not receive services from the EL program.
→ Students exiting from EL status must be monitored for at least four years to ensure that they have not been prematurely exited and they are meaningfully participating in the standard program of instruction comparable to their never-EL peers.

Third Grade Reading Guarantee and ELs
From ODE’s Ohio’s State Tests: Rules Book (Sept. 30, 2015)

All students scoring below the designated level on the third grade ELA must be retained, except specific groups of students which include the EL. ELs who have been enrolled in U.S. schools for less than three full school years and have had less than three years of instruction in an English as a Second Language (ESL) program are exempt from the retention requirement stated in the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. ORC 3313.608(A)(2)

INFOhio Parent Resources for Third Grade Reading Guarantee

Reading can happen anytime, anywhere! And you and your children can explore the joy of reading together with these INFOhio “Reading Around the Clock” flyers (available in English and Spanish), and videos that give easy tips for working reading practice into everyday activities.

  • So You’re Parenting a Preschooler
  • So You’re Parenting a Kindergartner
  • So You’re Parenting a First Grader
  • So You’re Parenting a Second Grader
  • So You’re Parenting a Third Grader

INFOhio developed them in partnership with the State Library of OhioOhio Educational Library Media Association, and the Ohio PTA, and they are available to all Ohioans for free download. So take a look for great tips on keeping your family reading and preparing your children for Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

ELs and Response to Intervention (RTI) Protocol
→ All ELs must take the i-Ready Math and Reading assessment, regardless of time in country.
→ RTI services for ELs:
ELs could benefit from multi-tiered systems of support. RTI is not an EL program and may not substitute for one. However, RTI can provide additional systems of support for ELs in areas such as assessment, screening, intervention, and monitoring, which when combined can help improve instructional outcomes for ELs (Brown & Sanford, 2011; Saenz, 2008).

  • Math: If allowable in an ELs schedule, RTI math can be provided for all ELs regardless of time in country.
  • Reading: If allowable in an ELs schedule, and so that it does not interfere with EL services, RTI Reading can be provided to ELs.
  • Good Rule of Thumb: If the EL is a level 1 or 2, and/or has been in the country less than three years then the EL teacher should be providing the majority of services. If the student’s schedule permits RTI and EL services, then the student should receive both!
  • RTI and EL teachers should develop a plan that is appropriate for each individual student.

The following guidance document has been developed by the Ohio Department of Education to assist the instruction of English language learners who do not make expected academic progress in school and who may benefit from individualized, intensive intervention services. The following document/checklist covers the area of EL engagement with quality literacy instruction delivered within the school environment.

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Literacy/Reading Instruction for English Language Learners

ELs and Special Education
If a student is not making progress in school, and EL experts have ruled out language as holding a student back, the school will contact the parent(s)/guardian(s) to attend a meeting to determine if their child needs intervention and/or possibly to be evaluated for Special Education services. When a student is assessed and it is determined that the student has a disability and the student requires specialized instruction to further help the progress they make in schools, then an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will be written and put into place after parental consent. An EL student then has dual titles and the EL teacher and Special Education teacher will need to work together to determine appropriate language support.

Key Points:
→ LEAs must identify, locate, and evaluate ELs with disabilities in a timely manner.
→ Disability evaluations may not be delayed because of a student’s limited English language proficiency (ELP) or the student’s participation in a language instruction educational program (LIEP).
→ LEAs must consider the English language proficiency of ELs with disabilities in determining appropriate assessments and other evaluation materials.
♦ In Pickerington, the evaluation team’s planning form takes into consideration the following items:

  • The team has taken into consideration limited English proficiency to plan this assessment.
  • The team has taken into consideration possible sources or racial or cultural bias in planning this assessment.

→ LEAs must provide and administer special education evaluations in the child’s native language, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so, to ensure that a student’s language needs can be distinguished from a student’s disability related needs.
→ LEAs must not identify or determine that EL students are students with disabilities because of their limited English language proficiency.
♦ In Pickerington, the evaluation team’s eligibility determination takes into consideration the following factors:

  • The determining factor for the child’s poor performance is not due to a lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math or the child’s limited English proficiency.
  • For the preschool-age child, the determining factor for the child’s poor performance is not due to a lack of preschool pre-academics.

→ LEAs must provide EL students with disabilities with both the language assistance and disability related services they are entitled to under federal law.

After it has been decided that dual titles are appropriate, an IEP will be written for the EL. In developing an IEP for a student with limited English proficiency, the IEP Team must consider the student’s level of ELP, this includes both BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills) and CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency). BICS refers to language needed for social interactions, whereas CALP refers to the formal academic language. The IEP Team may find it helpful to ask the following framing questions: Source: Tools and Resources for Addressing English Learners with Disabilities.

The following guidance documents have been developed by the Ohio Department of Education to assist the identification and instruction of English learners who do not make expected academic progress in school and who may benefit from individualized, intensive intervention services provided through The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004).

  1. Background and Resources for the English Language Learners-Student with Disabilities Guidance
  2. Referral and Identification of English Language Learners with Disabilities
  3. Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Literacy/ Reading Instruction for English Language Learners

EL Gifted and Talented
In the fall, EL students and all students in PLSD grades 3 and 5, participate in achievement and cognitive tests to identify students who may be gifted learners. A cognitive assessment is also administered in the fall for 7th graders. If a child scores in the 95th percentile or higher, a letter is sent home informing parents of the gifted identification. If a child qualifies for gifted services or programming, parents will be informed of that as well. A parent is always welcome to request administration of a gifted assessment other than fall of 3rd, 5th, or 7th. Administration of those requested assessments will take place during the spring or fall testing window.

The grade 3 assessments cover math, reading, and cognitive. The grade 5 assessments cover math, reading, science, social studies, and cognitive. The ‘cognitive’ piece assesses intelligence and is similar to an IQ test. Students receive a SAI score or Student Achievement Index.

Otis Lennon is a timed test, so EL students are not allowed extended time. They may not use the bilingual dictionary for vocabulary and language.

Stanford is a test where EL students may have extended time and a bilingual dictionary. EL students can use the bilingual dictionary for reading, math, science, and social science.

Superior Cognitive does not allow any accommodations.

Note: If EL teachers think EL students have not developed enough English language proficiency to confidently complete the exam, they may exempt the EL students from taking it.

Section 3
New to EL

This section is designed as a reference for those who are new and/or unfamiliar in working with EL students. If you are a classroom teacher, building or district administrator, or administrative assistant with little to no experience with the EL program, there are a variety of resources available to help you meet the needs of your ELs, both within the Pickerington Local School District and in the Greater Columbus community. Please feel free to reach out to the EL Department by emailing or calling the EL Coordinator.

Definitions for Immigrant, Refugee, and Migrant
Our EL students come from diverse backgrounds, but the ways in which they came to our country differ as well. These differences are described in the following comparison chart:


Definition: An immigrant is someone from a foreign country who relocates to live in another country. They may or may not be citizens.

Legal Status: Immigrants are subject to the laws of their adopted country. They may only come if they have work or a place to live.

Reason of relocation: Immigrants are usually driven by economic factors, they want to be close to family, or they have been adopted.

Resettlement: Immigrants can usually find a home in their new country.


Definition: Refugees move out of fear or necessity. For example, to flee persecution, or because their homes have been destroyed in a natural disaster.

Legal Status: Defined by United Nations

Reason of relocation: Refugees are forced to relocate for reasons such as fear of persecution due to war, religion or political opinion.

Resettlement: From refugee camp to a third country. Usually cannot return to one’s own country.


Definition: Migrant workers (and their families) move from one place to another – within a country or across borders.

Legal Status: Migrants are subject to the laws of their adopted country. They may only come if they have work or a place to live (this varies).

Reason of relocation: Indistinct relocation from one place to another. Possible reasons may include: work, family, or other economic factors.

Resettlement: To “emigrate” means to leave one country or region to settle in another.

Issues Related to EL Refugee/Displaced Students
Refugee and displaced students may have faced:

→ long interruptions in education
→ shortage of adequate teachers
→ family disruption, loss of family members
→ health and food problems in refugee camps

These students may display some symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which may include:
→ being extremely emotional
→ hyperactivity, ADHD
→ confusing fantasy with reality
→ high dependency
→ low self-esteem
→ poor concentration, and/or attention deficit
→ poor memory
→ sleep problems, nightmares
→ inability to make friends
→ violent tendencies
→ viewing violence as a way to solve problems

Developing Cross-Cultural Relations
When people speak of other cultures they often generalize because it is difficult to talk about the culture of a group without generalizing. Treat all generalizations with caution and wariness. While they provide insight, the accuracy and usefulness will depend on the context and circumstance in which you are dealing.

Points to Remember in Developing Cross-Cultural Relations:

  • What seems to be logical, sensible, important and reasonable to a person in one culture may seem unusual, irrational and unimportant to an outsider
  • When discussing cultures, emphasize similarities, not differences
  • Personal observations and reports of other cultures should be regarded with a great deal of skepticism
  • One should make up one’s own mind about another culture and not rely on the reports and experiences of others
  •  It requires experience as well as study to understand the subtleties of another culture
  •  Stereotyping is inevitable in the absence of frequent contact or study
  • The feelings people have for their own languages are not often evident until they encounter another language

Developed by Cao Anh Quan of Smith, Cao, & Associates (Tallahassee, Florida)

Interpretation versus Translation
Districts are required to provide information in an understandable and uniform format and, to the extent practicable, in a language that the parent(s) can understand. Should a parent or guardian need interpretation or translation services, the district must provide them.

Interpretation involves the immediate communication of meaning from one language (the source language) into another (the target language). An interpreter conveys meaning orally, while a translator conveys meaning from written text to written text. As a result, interpretation requires skills different from those needed for translation.

Interpretation Requests
Should you need assistance from an interpreter or getting something translated, please reach out to the EL Department or your EL teachers. We currently provide the following services:

  • ASIST is the company we work most often with to hire interpreters.
  • ASIST provides a phone translation service, which is an extension to the interpretation services offered by our district.
  • ASIST phone translation services can be used:
  • to call home about behavior (within 24 hours)
  • to call home to schedule a meeting or conference time
  • to call home about forms that need filled out
  • This should not be used in place of face-to-face meetings that last longer than a couple minutes or so.
  • Things you should know if you use this service:
  • 1) You will be making a three-way call with an operator/interpreter and the parent/guardian
  • 2) Remind the operator to stay on the line (previously, the operator didn’t realize they needed to stay on the phone, which dropped the call)
  • Many common documents and letters have already been translated and are available in the EL department webpage

For Administrative Assistants

Enrolling Students:
The enrollment process can be challenging for our EL students and there are several things administrative assistants should know:

→ The OTELA or OELPA assessment results are extremely important for our staff to determine whether or not an incoming student has EL status or not. If you see these results in the records sent from a previous school, please forward them along to the EL department (at the District Office and your building) as soon as you get them.
→ Parents and guardians often learn that the Home Language Survey (HLS) is used to identify their children for EL services. When they move or transfer districts, they often indicate all English is spoken at home or that the student has never received EL services. This is a problem because legally a district is required to provide services to these students. If they do not, the district could receive consequences.
→ Even if a parent fills out the HLS with English and “no” to services, but we receive previous English Language Proficiency files or test records, we are required to provide EL services.
→ Examples of compliance issues in the areas of EL student identification and assessment include when school districts:

♦ do not have a process in place to initially identify the primary or home language of all enrolled students

♦ use a method of identification, such as inadequate HLS, that fails to identify significant number of potential EL students

♦ do not test the English language proficiency of all EL students, resulting in the under-identification of EL students

♦ delay the assessment of incoming EL students in a manner that results in a denial of EL services

♦ do not assess the proficiency of EL students in all four language domains

What Occurs at the Welcome Center for EL students?
When parents or guardians enroll their children at Pickerington Local School District, they do so online. One section of the enrollment form contains the Home Language Survey (HLS), a questionnaire that helps districts and schools identify which students are potential ELs and who will require assessment of their English language proficiency (ELP) to determine whether they are eligible for language assistance services.

The following HLS questions are used in Pickerington’s online enrollment process:
-Student Language
-Parent/Guardian Language
-What was the first language spoken by the student?
-What is the language most often spoken at home?
-What is the language most often spoken by the student with friends?
-Has your child ever received English as a Second Language(ESL/ELL) services?

If the answer to any of these questions is other than English or “yes”, the student must be referred to the EL department for an evaluation.

The enrollment process follows the following order:

  1. Documents are collected and photocopied:
    a. Custody documents (if applicable)
    b. Original or Certified Copy of Birth Certificate or Passport
    c. Proof of Residency (settlement statement, mortgage statement, signed lease, current electric or gas bill, a letter from the landlord, or a Friends and Family Affidavit)
    d. Parent Photo I.D.
    e. Immunization records
    f. Special Education (IEP, MFE, 504, etc.)
    g. Evaluation for EL services – if necessary
  2. Students are assigned to a school based on their address.
  3. The Welcome Center has the parent/guardian sign a record release request, which is sent to their previous school. If the family come from out of the country, the Welcome Center requests the academic records be brought with them.
  4. Enrollment information is sent to the appropriate school, technology department, data specialist, transportation and if any language other than English is indicated on the HLS to the EL department at the district office.
  5. Building administrative assistants and/or counselors notify the EL administrative assistant (district office) and the EL teacher of any OTELA/OELPA scores sent from previous school. If the student is moving into PLSD from another state/country, assessment arrangements are made by the EL administrative assistant with the counselor/teacher at the building.
  6. After the student is evaluated a determination is made as to whether or not they qualify for EL services. A parent notification letter is sent home and the parent/guardian may accept or decline services.
  7. A ‘Notification of Status’ form is sent to the district office by the EL teacher. Data is then entered into a database and in Infinite Campus.

For Administrators

Administrator Checklist for ELs
When an EL student enrolls and is placed in your building, this information will be communicated to your building administrative assistant or counselor. At that time, the EL administrative assistant will also communicate with the EL teacher in the building and let them know of the student language proficiency level, or they will reach out to the counselor to arrange a time to assess the student (please read above for more detailed information on the enrollment process).

→ There are several ways to look up whether or not a student falls under EL status. One way would be to look on the front of the student CUM folder. If a student is an EL, there will be a sticker placed on the folder indicating the student’s proficiency level. It will also indicate whether or not the student’s parents need an interpreter when communicating with them. Another easy way to look up EL status is through Infinite Campus. All EL students are flagged with an [A+] EL logo near their name. This can be found in the general information tab.

→ All previous OTELA/OELPA scores have been uploaded to Infinite Campus and Illuminate. This is a great way to keep track of the EL students language proficiency and progress for acquiring the English language. These results will also be placed in the student CUM folder.

→ All EL teachers have an additional EL CUM folder. These green folders contain legal documents (consent/refusal forms), assessment data, parent communication logs, and other data that would be useful to inform instruction.

→ Should anyone in your building need an interpreter, they should make contact with the building EL teacher. The teacher will fill out a request form and assist with any interpretation needs the building has. Interpreters can be hired for face-to-face meetings and three-way phone calls. If you have any further questions about these services, please reach out to the EL teacher, EL coordinator, or the EL administrative assistant.

→ The school website can be translated for parents using the Google Translate feature found at the bottom left corner of each page.

Evaluation Look-fors and Checklist
“Look-fors assist teachers and evaluators by providing specific, practical observable criteria for evaluators to use in the evaluation process so that they can recognize effective teaching. They also give teachers insight into the criteria by which they will be evaluated so that teachers have a deeper understanding of their evaluator’s expectations. These examples of effective practice are given so that evaluators have a clearer picture of what types of evidence support the effective instruction of diverse students,(Staehr Fenner, Kozik, & Cooper, 2014,

For more information regarding this checklist, please refer to the book: Evaluating ALL Teachers of English Learners and Students with Disabilities.

Principle 1: Committing to Equal Access for ALL Learners
Educators are aware of and adhere to the laws and to the precedents set in numerous court decisions regarding full and equal access to public education for all students. Educators describe diverse learners’ full access to the curriculum and the adaptations for unique learners an observer can expect to see so that all students are included in learning.

Principle 1 Look-for (Evidence Found: Yes or No) 

Awareness of what ELs’ home language(s) are and their literacy skills in their home language(s)

Knowledge of ELs’ levels of English language proficiency

Articulates an understanding of ELs’ cultures and backgrounds

Articulates types of language support services ELs receive at the school

Identifies desired instructional outcomes for ELs based on content standards and English language development standards

Describes how instructional materials for ELs at different levels of English language proficiency are chosen, created, or adapted

Articulates an understanding of the laws and policies regarding students’ educational rights and the adherence to these laws and policies in providing appropriate instruction

Commits to sharing the responsibility for educating ELs

Describes a positive and respectful classroom community that is conducive to diverse students’ learning

Thoughtfully planned groupings of diverse learners

A working knowledge of the accommodations necessary for students to gain access to the general education curriculum

Open and honest discussion regarding diversity (including language and disabilities)

Principle 2: Preparing to Support ALL Learners
Educators demonstrate their knowledge of individual student backgrounds as well as the strengths and advantages student diversity brings. They articulate rationales for using appropriate instructional strategies to support diverse learners so that every student will be treated as a valued individual capable of learning.

Principle 2 Look-for (Evidence Found: Yes or No)

Articulates high expectations for ELs, including a nuanced understanding of expectations for what ELs can do with language at their English language proficiency level and the supports necessary for each level

Describes the role of home language literacy skills and the strategies used to support English acquisition

Articulates how ELs’ culture and previous educational experiences affect how they interact with students and teachers

Articulates how ELs’ culture may influence their behavior and work produced

Describes a variety of strategies to effectively scaffold material for students of varying proficiency levels

Describes configuration of classroom space so as to support EL’s opportunities to participate in classroom activities and their acquisition of English

Describes plans for lowering students’ affective filter and encouraging risk taking in English

Articulates the multiple ways that diverse learners will be engaged in the lesson, how the information provided during the lesson will be represented, and how students will express the learning that they have achieved

Articulates high expectations for all students

Recognizes the role students’ culture and prior educational background play in their classroom behavior and learning preferences

Describes significant variation in pace and duration of lessons and activities based on students’ background and needs

Principle 3: Reflective Teaching Using Evidence-Based Strategies
Educators’ classroom instruction embodies the tenets of universal design for learning (UDL). Instruction is individualized, student centered, varied, appropriately challenging, standards based, and grounded in evidence-based practice. Educators build instruction with their diverse students’ unique strengths, challenges, backgrounds, experiences, and needs in mind.

Principle 3 Look-For (Evidence Found: Yes or No)

Provides clear instructional content and language objectives for each lesson

Encourages use of home language where appropriate

Includes ELs’ culture in instruction

Provides directions in student-friendly language and/or students rephrase direction in their home language or English

Uses analysis of the academic language in the materials used during instruction to explicitly teach linguistic structures ELs will need to fully participate in the lesson

Uses performance-based rubrics and/or checklists (written in “student-friendly” language) aligned to the lesson’s content and academic language objectives and shares the rubric with students

Uses a variety of scaffolding techniques (e.g. sentence stems, word banks, glossaries, home language materials) to support students of varying proficiency levels

Provides adapted and supplementary materials (e.g., home language text, readings at a lower lexile level, videos) as needed to support student access to the content

Students practice using language in small groups and pair work with support and scaffolding from the teacher

Includes all four domains of language (speaking, listening, reading, writing) in instruction

Content is “chunked” into manageable, understandable parts that students can access easily

Directions in the classroom are simple and clear and provided orally and in writing

Instructional changes are made as a result of assessment data collected on students (including English language proficiency assessment data for ELs)

Students are given ample time on tasks

New academic language is anticipated, pretaught, and taught directly, in context, and through several different examples when encountered during reading

There is a word wall present in the classroom (when possible) or an academic language list accessible that teachers and students can contribute to on a regular basis

Questions are scaffolded so that ELs can answer them

Clearly articulates the goals of each lesson along with observable outcomes that will demonstrate that students have met the lesson goals

Principle 4: Building A Culture of Collaboration and Community
Educators focus on professional relationships and connections to culture and community in the service of all students. They work toward establishing a community that is based on collaboration among educators, students, caregivers, families, neighbors, and other relevant groups. They work cooperatively, communicate regularly, and share resources, responsibilities, skills, decisions, and advocacy.

Principle 4 Look-for (Evidence Found: Yes or No)

Communicates with families of ELs in a language and form they understand

Supports EL family engagement and involvement

Is creative in involving EL families–for example, making home visits and/or visiting the workplaces of students’ families

Articulates awareness of community resources that are of benefit to ELs

Involves ELs in actively reflecting on and participating in the process of their education

ELs are aware of how they are acquiring language, the rate at which they are progressing, and should know about their educational options

Help ELs recognize the strategies students use to acquire language

Explains and documents how he or she collaborates with students, caregivers, families, and the community to support ELs’ personal growth

Collaborates with others (e.g., ESOL or bilingual teachers) in lesson planning and implementation to support ELs’ academic growth

Shares professional development opportunities related to ELs

Uses different modes to communicate with families of ELs according to the family’s background and preferences (e.g., notes, e-mails, phone calls, home visits)

Effectively participates in planning meetings that includes co-teachers, service providers and/or paraprofessionals

Advocates for ELs in the classroom context and beyond the classroom level

Shares resources to support ELs

Source: Evaluating All Teachers of English Learners and Students with Disabilities (Authors: Diane Staehr Fenner, Peter Kozik, Ayanna Cooper)

El Teacher Job Description
Currently, EL Teachers use the same job description for all teachers:

Training Qualifications:
-Bachelor’s Degree in teaching field
-Certified by the Ohio Department of Education
-HQT preferred
-Such alternatives to the above qualifications as the Board may find appropriate and acceptable

Required Skills and Abilities:
-Communication Skills: Must be able to read, analyze, and interpret information relevant to the position, including being able to speak effectively to small and large groups of people, and to communicate clearly and concisely both orally and in writing
-Leadership Ability: Must be able to articulate a vision and mission for the district and provide the appropriate direction, guidance, and management skills to achieve them
-Mathematics Skills: Must have the ability to work with basic mathematical and computational concepts
-Reasoning Ability: Must be able to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions
-Technology Skills: Able to effectively use, as it applies to your specific job function, typical office applications and computer programs such as word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations; must be able to use email

Personal Qualifications:
-Demonstrates enthusiasm and a sincere desire to aid and ensure the safety of all
-Is able to accept constructive criticism/feedback
-Demonstrates professional tact and diplomacy with administrators, staff, teachers, students, parents and the diverse community
-Is conscientious and assumes responsibility for one’s own work performance
-Anticipates problems and unforeseen events and deals with them in an appropriate manner
-Demonstrates an ability to make proper decisions when required
-Demonstrates loyalty to the administrative team
-Possesses high moral character and a good attendance record
-Promotes good social relationships as well as promoting good public relations by personal appearance, attitude, and conversation
-Participates in appropriate professional organizations and their activities
-Maintains a calm attitude and sense of control at all times
-Maintains a high level of ethical behavior and confidentiality of information
-Possesses the ability to be flexible and adaptable to changing situations

Job Goal:
To plan, organize, and implement an appropriate instructional program in a learning environment that guides and encourages students to develop their academic potential

Work Environment Characteristics/Conditions:
The work environment characteristics described here are not listed in order of importance, and are representative of those an employee encounters while completing the duties and responsibilities of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the duties and responsibilities. The information contained in this job description is for compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.) and is not an exhaustive list of the duties performed for this position.
-Occasional work that may extend beyond the normal workday
-Occasional exposure to blood, bodily fluids, and tissue
-Occasional operation of a vehicle under inclement weather conditions
-Occasional interaction among unruly children/adults
-Many situations that require hand motion, e.g., computer keyboard, typing, writing
-Consistent requirements to sit, stand, walk, hear, see, read, speak, reach, stretch with hands and arms, crouch, kneel, climb, and stoop
-Consistent requirements to lift, carry, push, and pull various supplies and/or equipment up to a maximum of 50 pounds

Duties and Responsibilities:
1. Plan, prepare and deliver instruction that facilitates active learning
2. Design instruction plans that include unit plans, daily lessons with learning experiences, and assessments
3. Establish and communicate clear objectives for all learning
4. Instruct and monitor students in the use of learning materials and equipment
5. Use relevant technology to support instruction
6. Observe and evaluate student’s performance and development, providing appropriate and ongoing feedback
7. Maintain accurate and complete records of students’ progress and development as well as those records required by laws, district policies and school regulations
8. Participate in grade level, department, school, and parent meetings
9. Communicate necessary information regularly to students, colleagues, and parents regarding student progress and student needs
10. Collaborate with instructional staff, other school personnel, parents and a variety of community resources for the purpose of improving the overall quality of student outcomes, achieving established classroom objectives in support of the school improvement plan
11. Differentiates instructional resources and assessments to ensure all students learning
12. Manages student behavior for the purpose of providing a safe and optimal learning environment
13. Monitors students in a variety of educational environments (classroom, school grounds, hallways, restrooms, etc.) for the purpose of providing a safe and positive learning environment
14. Participates in adult learning experiences for the purpose of conveying and/or gathering information required to perform functions, seeking out school reform initiatives, and deepening understanding of educational best practices
15. Is punctual to all assignments
16. Displays general, daily and safety information
17. Returns graded materials to students punctually and updates electronic grading systems regularly
18. Keeps building principal informed of situations that have the potential of needing or requiring his/her involvement
19. Ensures proper safety of the students, equipment, and materials
20. Ensures proper care of the facility, furnishings, and equipment
21. Carries out non-classroom duties such as supervision of lunchroom, playground , hall duty, bus duty, homeroom, study hall, etc.
22. Attends and/or is willing to participate in school-related after school activities, within reason
23. Completes required forms and paperwork punctually
24. Enforces school rules and regulations effectively and in a supportive manner
25. Carries out in a positive manner Board of Education policies and procedures and administrative rules and regulations
26. Serves on building or district committees as needed or requested, within reason reason
27. Assists in the development and/or revision of curriculum, within reason
28. Coordinates efforts and materials with other teachers who instruct similar courses, grade level, or in the same department
29. Fosters and maintains cooperative working relationships with other teachers and support service personnel
30. Supervises student teachers or field experience students as needed or requested
31. Works with and supervises volunteer aides
32. Performs other duties as defined by the building principal

For Classroom Teachers
EL Lesson Implementation Checklist
Checklist for Effective EL Instruction:
Have I created content and language objective(s) for the lesson–either separate or integrated?

Did I share the lesson objectives in student-friendly language with my ELs?

Did I analyze the academic language demands of the text(s) used in the lesson prior to teaching the lesson?

Did I teach important academic language found in the text(s) to ELs during the lesson? Is the academic language found in the text consistent with my delivery of instruction and assessment?

Did I determine EL’s level of background knowledge of the topic?

Did I provide ELs with the right amount of concise background knowledge they needed to access the content of the lesson without giving the content away?

Have I provided effective scaffolds (e.g., home language support, graphic organizers, sentence frames and/or stems) for ELs at different levels of English language proficiency so they access the content of the lesson?

Have I incorporated instruction of each language domain (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) in the lesson?

Have I provided frequent opportunities and support for ELs to interact with each other and with me about the challenging content?

Have I provided support(e.g., modeling, sentence frames, and/or sentence stems) for ELs to use academic language when they interact with each other and with me?

Have I provided support to ELs in decoding unknown words and phrases in context (e.g., using cognates, using prefixes and suffixes)?

Did the questions I used during instruction offer ELs opportunities to cite textual evidence and use higher-order thinking skills?  Are these questions scaffolded for ELs at different levels of proficiency?

Have I provided extra support through the use of materials in the students’ home languages for ELs at lower levels of proficiency (e.g., video clips, texts in the home language for students literate in the home language, websites)?

Have I designed and implemented at least one formative assessment to assess ELs’ acquisition academic language and content in the lesson?

Did I determine the language domain(s) and the purpose for the assessment(s) used?

Was my assessment aligned to content and language objectives?

Did I share a student-friendly version of the assessment rubric or scoring guide with students so they would be aware of my assessment expectations?

Have I met with and/or shared plans with the co-teacher or inclusion teacher?

Source: Evaluating All Teachers of English Learners and Students with Disabilities (Authors: Diane Staehr Fenner, Peter Kozik, Ayanna Cooper)

Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences with Parents of English Learners
1) Please be sure an interpreter is available for the parent if you think the service is needed for the conference to be successful. The best person to check with is the student’s EL teacher.
→ Parents or guardians may bring or have an interpreter available during the conference. Interacting with an interpreter takes practice.
→ Be sure you speak slowly and give them time to process your information so they can relay the information to the parents or guardians. Also, say a little information at a time. Take breaks often so the interpreter includes all the information you have given.
→ It is also important to know you can communicate directly when speaking to the parents/guardians. It is a natural reaction to make eye contact with the person you are speaking to. However, the parent is there to talk to you about their child and it could be seen as disrespectful if you address all conversation with the interpreter.
→ If you are worried something may have been misinterpreted, write out the statement so as to be sure you are not misunderstood.

2) In parent-teacher conferences, visual aides are a key ingredient. Student work samples should be used if possible.

3) Increase the parents’ and guardians’ regard for the child and their culture. Mention some positive ways the child’s behavior or culture has impacted the others in the class.

4) Tell parents and guardians your expectations for English Learners (ELs) and explain what kind of services their child is receiving. The educational systems can be unfamiliar to parents and information can be misinterpreted. It is important to clarify any questions a parent may have. Share ideas and resources with parents that benefit students and families.

5) Express the positive aspects of a student’s development and learning before bringing up any negative news. Parents may mistakenly feel their child has shamed the family and needs severe punishment.

Tips for Working with EL students
Keep in mind that all of these should not be implemented at once. Try one or two new items with each lesson and continue to practice them as you move forward.

→ Know the students’ English proficiency level (as determined by OELPA)
→ Provide Comprehensible Input; what the teacher gives the students. In order for the input (information being delivered to student) to be considered comprehensible, the student needs to understand what is being said and/or given.
→ Use shorter sentences
→ Enunciate clearly
→ Talk slower, but refrain from shouting
→ Control vocabulary that is being introduced. Use it meaningfully and repeat it as much as possible during lectures and instruction. The more ELs hear the words in context the sooner they will learn it.
→ Avoid idioms (phrases that cannot be literally understood), or explain them when you do
→ Repeat material being introduced and simplify language to ensure comprehension
→ Pause frequently to allow translations to occur, time to process, or check for comprehension
→ Allow extra wait time for students to process what is being said into their own language
→ Use many methods (respecting the multiple intelligences of different learners) to get information across
→ Provide visual support to content material
→ Provide hands-on activities to cement content
→ Introduce and explicitly teach use of graphic organizers
→ Use gestures, actions, eye contact and body language
→ Write down what is being said as it is being said. Some students are better readers and listening can sometimes be challenging.
→ Modify texts by adding visuals and eliminating unnecessary words
→ Modify content by supplementing with pictures or lower reading level material
→ Encourage students to learn from each other
→ Use pairs or buddies with an English speaking peer
→ Encourage talking! Language cannot be built without communication
→ Focus on meaning rather than grammar
→ Allow use of word-to-word dictionaries to help in understanding important vocabulary and concepts

Instructional Strategies and Suggestions
Prefunctional and Beginning Level Students
When speaking in class, take care to speak clearly in natural conversational tones. The EL student will feel more comfortable if they can see the face of the speaker, so try to face the class when speaking.
→ It may be necessary to give more information in more detail for an EL student than for a native speaker. If you use a variety of ways to communicate, including rewording what you want to say, drawing sketches, using gestures and pantomime, and writing important words on the board, chances are you will be understood. Try to overcome any personal anxiety you might feel about not being understood.
→ Make a list of activities which you expect the EL student to complete in a specified period of time. Restrict the content, but make up a variety of activities (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) concerning the same content material. You might want to include reading exercises; watching filmstrips or TV shows; drawing graphs, charts, or pictures; vocabulary exercises; and interpreting visual materials. Both the length of time and the number of activities should be limited at the beginning but can be increased as the student’s fluency and academic skills develop.
→ Find out from a simple oral quiz (or from the EL staff) the kinds of question forms the EL student understands and makeup simple questions for use in oral and written exercises related to the content. Make sure that the student has an opportunity to learn any specific vocabulary related to the exercise. Limit the vocabulary

Intermediate and Trial Mainstream Students
Match language skills with valid assignments. When possible, give the student a task, which will accelerate his/her language learning and acculturation, rather than simply maintain the present levels. Take care not to frustrate the student with tasks too difficult for his/her level of fluency.
→ Locate and use reading material on the student’s reading level. Or simplify reading on a related subject with a lower reading level for your EL student.
→ Assign students short simple passages to study.
→ Test the student orally by having him/her explain the main ideas in his/her own words or try the cloze method (fill in the blanks) in a written exercise.
→ On occasion, you might want the student to memorize some material. Ask the EL teacher how to devise drills and test items from a passage the student has memorized.
→ Prepare lessons in the use of research methods: how to use the textbook, including utilizing headings, boldface print, the glossary, the index, etc. Consider these as language and skill assignments for the EL student until he/she is fluent enough to be accountable for the content.
→ Plan lessons with your class where the message of the lesson is transmitted nonverbally, (charts, pictures, paintings, films with non-verbal soundtracks, music, dance, cooking, crafts, might be used). You might like to coordinate this effort with teachers from other disciplines.
→ Understand that it will typically take at least two years for an English Language Learner to start competing academically with his/her English-speaking peers. Adjust your expectations as deviations occur due to individual differences or other reasons causing slower or more rapid language skill development and academic growth.

Modifying Curriculum
Classroom teachers are responsible for differentiating and/or modifying content to make it more comprehensible to EL students.

If a teacher is uncertain how best to modify for EL students, he/she may begin by consulting with the EL teacher in the building. If there is no EL unit within the building, please begin by contacting the EL Department, and our EL Coordinator will assist you with resources and modifications.

Correcting and Commenting on Written Work
→ In content areas, grade the ELs knowledge of the content, not on his/her level of expression.
→ Don’t correct all the errors on an EL student’s writing paper. Student’s can’t learn from overkill. Sometimes it’s preferable to focus on a few areas that need improvement, such as verb tense and punctuation. 

Report Cards
→ Write easy-to-understand, specific comments to the parents. For example, “could do better” may have little meaning to parents that are unfamiliar with the curriculum or academic content standards.
→ Be positive and mention accomplishments
→ Describe what the student does in class
→ Acknowledge effort and courage
→ Provide clear and constructive feedback that is culturally sensitive

Suggestions to Parents
Ask parents to do the following:
read to their child in the native language;
→ continue to use the native language at home for teaching life skills and concepts to their children;
→ discuss events and news with them in their own language; maintain their contacts with relatives and events in their native country;
→ help with the homework if possible;
→ ask their child for a recap of new things learned each day;
→ ask parents if they have access to children’s books in the native language;
→ help them understand how to get a public library card;
→ share information to promote after school activities
→ mention one or two good TV programs and the public TV channels, but suggest to parents that they limit TV watching;
→ let the parents know where they can register for free EL classes for adults if they are interested. These places are listed on the district webpage under the EL Department page.

Important: It is not helpful to suggest to parents that they speak English to their children at home. This could undermine the quality of conversation and teaching of values that the parents can do best in their native language. The goal should be to have the child become bilingual, not to lose his native language by giving it up at home.

For EL Teachers
Information to Parents on Title III
The Ohio Department of Education has created letters to share the Title III information with parents and guardians of EL students in English and other languages.

The purpose Title III is to help meet the needs of English Learner students, develop high quality language instruction programs, build agencies’ capacities, promote parental involvement, streamline programs, hold state and local educational agencies accountable, and provide flexibility for agencies.

Letters to Parents for Districts Not Meeting Annual Achievement
Ohio law requires the Ohio Department of Education to annually review the performance of districts with English Learners. The programs for English Learners in these districts must meet three targets. These targets are known as Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAO).

They focus on:

  • Annual progress in learning English
  • Attainment of English language proficiency
  • Meeting achievement targets in state academic assessments

Districts that did not meet all targets are required to notify the parents of English language learners. Click here for model parent letters in both English and other languages for parents in districts not meeting AMAO available in multiple languages.
Letters are offered in:

Letters to Parents of Students Exiting the EL Program
The Ohio Department of Education has created letters to notify parents of students who are exiting English Learner (EL) programs. Students exit EL programs when their scores on the Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (previously known as OTELA) indicate they have achieved the needed level of English proficiency to advance in classroom academics without additional language supports.

Letters to Parents for Students Identified as EL
The Ohio Department of Education has created letters to notify parents and guardians of their rights for students identified as EL.
This letter can be used to inform the parent(s)/guardian(s) of their rights and to explain that Schools must, within 30 days of the start of the school year (or within two weeks of placement if not identified prior to the beginning of school), notify parents of English Learner students participating in EL programs.

Letters to Parents for Services of Students Identified as EL
The Ohio Department of Education has created letters to notify parents and guardians of students identified as EL of their assessment results and service plan.
This letter explains:

  • Results of the ELP assessment
  • Proficiency levels by domain (listening, speaking, reading, and writing)
  • Services provided based on the assessment results
  • Request of signature to approve/deny services

Permission to Screen
This letter is to be used when parent(s)/guardian(s) indicate that English is the primary language in the household, but the student’s teacher feels the student may benefit from an English Language Proficiency assessment. The screening would determine if the student qualifies for additional EL services.

Note: Do not request parent/guardian permission without first consulting the EL Coordinator.

Permission to Re-Screen
This letter is to be sent home to a student who previously did not qualify for services but who may benefit from services at this time for the following reasons:

  • Language needs become more difficult and complex as students advance grade levels.
  • Academic vocabulary required for math, science, social studies, and English language arts is more challenging.
  • Expectations and skills needed for reading and writing are more difficult.


Note: Do not request parent/guardian permission without first consulting the EL Coordinator.

Consent Letter for Transfer Student
This letter should be used when a student, that has already been identified as EL in another Ohio district, transfers to  our district. Consent must be obtained to provide services.
Consent Letter (for transfer student)

Parent Re-entry Letter
This letter should be used if a parent/guardian initially refused services. EL teachers should send this letter at the beginning of the year to students whose parent(s)/guardian(s) refused services, especially if the student is not making academic gains. The purpose is to encourage the parent(s)/guardian(s) to enter the student in the program to gain extra support in English language proficiency and content areas. Parent(s)/guardian(s) should sign the second page of the letter if they would like to have their child receive EL services.


Notification of Services
Once an EL teacher has assessed a student and identified them as EL they should then seek the signature of parent(s)/guardian(s). After all the paperwork is collected the EL teacher will fill out this form and send it to the EL Department at the district office to notify them of the student’s status.

Please reach out to building EL teacher or EL Administrative Assistant if you would like a copy.

Progress Reports
Progress Reports are used for the EL program at the elementary and middle school level. These reports should be sent home at the same time as report cards.
Note: Junior High and High School teachers will follow the same procedures the rest of the
building/district follows since their classes are scheduled into the school day and taken for

Progress Reports are offered in:

Service Plans
Service Plans are to be filled out by EL teachers in grades K-6 and shared with the students’ content teacher(s). These plans outline the expected service and also provide a list of suggested accommodations that would be useful to the student in each of the content areas. Content teachers should sign off on the plan after the information has been shared with them.

Will be from Ellevation. Please consult the EL teacher in the building.

Parent Letter S/U Policy
This letter should be sent to parents when an EL student qualifies for S/U grading policy. Note: If you have a student that qualifies for S/U grading it is your responsibility to work with building principals and content teachers to manually enter the semester/final grades.


Read more about the S/U Grading Policy here.

Monitor Request Form
This form should be used to communicate with the content teachers about academic progress on an EL after they have exited the program. Monitoring of academic achievement should last up to four years after an EL exits to ensure they maintain the ELP needed to succeed with the academic content. Note: Parent(s)/guardian(s) should be notified if their child needs services based off monitoring their academic progress. Please use the parent letter to inform them.

EL Monitor Form from Ellevation.

Green EL Folders
The green student folders contain the paperwork obtained for EL services. These folders should be contained in the EL classroom and travel across buildings with the students. To understand more about the contents of the folders please look at the protocol. To obtain additional copies of folder forms please click here.
Note: If you find you are missing a form that is necessary for providing EL services please send the parent letter with the form to request signature.

Green Folder Filing Protocol
Parent Letter

Request for Interpretation 
If ever a parent/guardian is in need of an interpreter for a meeting, please fill out the following request so that the EL Administrative Assistant can schedule. Requests need to be made at least 24 hours before they interpreter is needed.

Online Translation Request form

Translated Documents
Parent(s)/Guardian(s) of EL students may need forms offered in languages other than English. The district has the following documents translated in other languages.

Food Services
Release of Records
Future Class Docs

Section 4
EL Scheduling Information 

Guidelines for EL Scheduling (preK-8th grade)
Before scheduling a student into classes; please be sure to check whether or not they are ELs. If they are an EL, there may be inclusion classes where students need to be placed.
1. Please check through the student records to see if there are any prior records indicating the student was a previous EL student.
2. Please check the student’s Home Language Survey to see if a language other than English was indicated.
3. If there are any records of this student having previous English language support, please contact the EL teacher.
4. When in doubt, contact the EL teacher. They will know where to look and who to reach out to with questions!

Guidelines for EL Scheduling in High School (9th-12th grade)
Scheduling for high school English Learners (ELs) can be tricky because courses are attached to credit that is needed to graduate. In order to maintain consistency within the EL program and between Pickerington high school buildings, we ask all counselors to follow this protocol when enrolling a new student that is an EL.
1. Please check through the student records to see if there are any prior records indicating the student was a previous EL student.
2. If you need assistance transferring credits, please reach out to the EL Coordinator. Remember some classes could be considered for foreign language credit. Depending on the country of origin, each transcript needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
3. When getting a new student, make contact with the EL teacher and allow them time to create a schedule. Or, the counselor could make the schedule with the EL teacher. It is easier to schedule the student into EL classes and take them out later.
4. EL teachers will be hand scheduling current EL students into specific courses so they are locked into those classes
5. If an EL is a newcomer and moves in half-way through the year, they should be scheduled into an existing English Language Support class. This is a half-year course that is offered as elective credit. The following year the student may be scheduled into Pre-functional EL Instruction. Please do not create a new course unless you have spoken to the EL Coordinator.
6. Newcomer students should be placed in Pre-functional EL Instruction. This is a year long course that is offered as English credit. The following year the student will either take Beginner EL Instruction or move on to English 9 EL Inclusion.
7. Newcomer students may take Beginner EL Instruction after they complete Pre-functional EL Instruction. However, this is dependent upon the EL teacher’s schedule. Please speak to the EL teacher before scheduling anyone into this course.

Guidelines for International Transcripts

International Transcript Flowchart

Did the student come with a transcript in English?
Yes. Please look at schooling of origin.
No. Please fill out the following form to request translation. Send transcript to EL coordinator.

Do you need more information on how the school of origin awards credit?
Yes. Research School Structure:
1) Evaluating Foreign Transcripts(pdf)
2) Classbase
No. Award PLSD credit.

Would the student be able to get credit for their native language through credit flex?
Yes. Please have the student complete the credit flex test out form and procedure.

Did they qualify for EL services?
Yes. Find time to work with the EL teacher to organize a schedule.
No. Consider the awarded credits and schedule as you would any transfer student.

When in doubt, reach out to the EL Coordinator!

Translation of Transcripts
Use this link to fill out a translation request.

School of Origin Resources
1) Please refer to the “Evaluating Foreign Transcripts” (pdf) manual
2) Visit Classbase website

Foreign Language Credit
When we register an international student there could be a potential to award foreign language credit. If you notice the student has taken English or another language in formal schooling we should give them credit for this.

The process would start by filling out the Flex Credit Application for Assessment form. Once the form is filled out, the student will need to take a flex credit assessment. Our district has chosen to use Language Testing International. Please refer to the AAPPL Guide.

The cost of the assessment is at the cost of the student, or if this student qualifies as an English Learner we will pay for this out of Title III funds.

Checklist for Enrollment of International Students

  • New students will register online and finalize that registration at the Welcome Center
  • The Welcome Center will determine whether or not an English Language Proficiency screening needs to be scheduled.
  • The Welcome Center will notify the EL Department at the District Office, as well as the student’s building of these needs. The EL Coordinator or EL teacher will prepare to screen the student as soon as possible. Note: At the secondary level, the results will be used to determine placement of classes so it is better to complete the screener prior to scheduling.
  • If EL services are needed the guidance counselor will reach out to EL teacher for placement into EL classes and/or inclusion content classes.
  • The counselor will meet with parent(s) and/or student(s).
  • The counselor will review transcripts to see what the student needs to meet graduation requirements.
  • The counselor will create the student’s schedule.
  • Once the counselor has authentic transcripts in their possession, they will review the transcript and enter credits.
  • The counselor will send a copy of the PLSD transcript to EL teacher and student to notify that all credits have been awarded and entered for all parties to review
  • The EL Coordinator and/or EL teacher will have one week to review the transcript. Any questions that arise will need to be taken care within that time-frame
  • After one-week the counselor will confirm a final submission for the transcripts. Note: At this point the awarded credits can no longer be challenged.

Section 5
State and District Guidelines for Testing ELs

State Tests
EL Student Participation in Ohio State Tests and the OELPA State Assessments.
→ Accommodations of word-to-word dictionary and extended time for all
→ An accommodation spreadsheet will be created for each EL student addressing additional accommodations they will receive
→ The OELPA is our state assessment for English Language Proficiency. Students listed as EL are required to take this test each year.
Ohio’s Accessibility Manual

Common Assessments
i-Ready Reading and Math Assessments
→ All ELs must take the i-Ready Math and Reading assessment, regardless of time in country
→ Students should be given extended time and word-to-word dictionary on both assessments
→ If a student is going to receive audio support for state tests then they should also receive this accommodation for i-Ready assessments

TELL Diagnostic (for EL teacher’s SLO)
Students must complete all four domains (speaking, listening, reading, and writing)

SLO Assessments
→ Accommodations available to an EL for state tests should also be available accommodations for SLO and other district formative assessments (for TBTs)
→ These assessments should not be modified and should be administered with similar accommodations to state tests

Classroom and/or Formative Assessments
→ Modifications could be made based on student reading/language level in order to correctly assess content knowledge
♦the EL staff in each building can be consulted with for assistance

Questions Regarding Testing?
→ See the Testing Coordinator in your building or contact the EL Coordinator

Section 6

Department Personnel

EL Program Personnel Overview
The EL Department is comprised an EL Coordinator, Administrative Assistant, EL Coach, EL Teachers, and Paraprofessionals. Please see the following information on the specific services offered by each personnel.

EL Staff

Elizabeth Curtis, EL Coordinator:  elizabeth_curtis@plsd.us, District Office

Denise Mitchell, EL Administrative Secretary:  denise_mitchell@plsd.us
ext. 6192

Tracy Massey, EL Coach:  tracy_massey@plsd.us

Elementary EL Team

Tammy Bader, EL Teacher – tammy_bader@plsd.us
Toll Gate Elementary

Cara Brill, EL Teacher – cara_brill@plsd.us
Fairfield Elementary

Brigid Fry, EL Teacher – brigid_fry@plsd.us
Sycamore Creek Elementary

Jodi Hall, EL Teacher – jodi_hall@plsd.us
Fairfield and Heritage Elementary

Beth Klamo, EL Teacher – beth_klamo@plsd.us
Pickerington Elementary

Christy McNulty, EL Teacher – christy_mcnulty@plsd.us
Harmon Middle School

Diana Loving, EL Teacher – diana_loving@plsd.us
Tussing Elementary

Sheree Schaffner, EL Paraprofessional – sheree_schaffner@plsd.us
Tussing Elementary

Akeyla Ragland, EL Teacher – akeyla_ragland@plsd.us
Tussing Elementary

Debbie Skarsten, EL Teacher – debra_skarsten@plsd.us
Diley and Toll Gate Middle School

Jennifer Ward, EL Paraprofessional – jennifer_ward@plsd.us
Fairfield Elementary

Lara Young, EL Teacher – lara_young@plsd.us
Tussing Elementary

Secondary EL Teachers

Maryann Miller, EL Teacher – maryann_miller@plsd.us
Pickerington North HS

Jennifer McGraner, EL Teacher – jennifer_mcgraner@plsd.us
Lakeview Jr High and Pickerington North HS

Jodie Schlaerth, EL Teacher – jodie_schlaerth@plsd.us
Pickerington Central HS

Christy Williams, EL Teacher – christy_williams@plsd.us
Ridgeview Junior High and Pickerington Central HS

Roles of the EL Coordinator
→ Oversee daily operations of the EL Program including developing, implementing, and evaluating programs/activities throughout the district
→ Supervise certificated and classified staff within the EL Program including hiring, evaluating, and training
→ Interpret and implement district, state, and federal policies and procedures
→ Organize, supervise, and coordinate the planning , development, selection, and implementation of curricular materials, instructional resources, and documents in the areas of EL
→ Oversee the planning of curriculum and classroom environments ensuring responsiveness to learning and language patterns of children who are limited English proficient
→ Develop and monitor the EL Improvement Component on the CCIP
→ Create program models that respond to the comprehensive needs of EL children’s physical health, social and emotional growth, language development and cognitive skills
→ Prepare reports and special documentation including funding reports/budgets, material and equipment specifications, program evaluations, and recommendations
→ Remain current of major changes and developments and keep others informed of program changes and activities including attending professional conferences, sharing professional literature and writing correspondence and newsletters
→ Coordinate building requests for EL subject specific concerns including curriculum materials training and community resources
→ Act as liaison between administrators, other departments, students, parents, teachers, governmental agencies, community groups, and private organizations including the communication of department program philosophy and policies

EL Instructional coach job duties and responsibilities.

→ Instructional Coach will serve as part of their school’s curriculum and instruction
Responsibilities: leadership team, providing embedded, ongoing professional development for teachers, staff and administration
→ The Instructional Coach’s primary focus will be to assist classroom teachers to successfully integrate the use of effective strategies in order to differentiate and enhance student learning.
→ Instructional Coaches will be charged with acquiring knowledge, skills and strategies by participating in District initiative’s centering on intensive professional development and implementing the strategies learned. Participation in all training sessions and pertinent activities sponsored by the Department of Teaching and Learning, Technology Department, or building will be required. On occasion, meetings with the secondary department may occur.
→ Performs other duties as assigned

Section 7

EL Glossary

EL Acronyms and Guiding Court Decisions

BICS – Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills
BOE – Board of Education
CALP – Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency
CPR – Culturally Responsive Practice
Comprehensible Input Comprehensible Input is what the teacher gives the students; in order for the input to be considered comprehensible, the student needs to understand what is being said and/or given.
EL – English Learning
ELL – English Language Learners
ELP – English Language Proficiency
Equal Opportunities Act of 1974 – The civil rights statute prohibits states from denying equal educational opportunity to an individual on account of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin. The statute specifically prohibits states from denying equal educational opportunity by the failure of an educational agency to take the appropriate action to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation by its students in its institutional programs
ESL – English as a Second Language
ESOL – English to Speakers of Other Languages
IEP – Individualized Education Plan
Lau v. Nichols – A class action lawsuit brought by parents of non-English proficient Chinese students against the San Francisco Unified School District. In 1974, the Supreme Court ruled that identical education does not constitute equal education under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The court ruled that the district must take affirmative steps to overcome educational barriers faced by the non-English speaking Chinese students in the district.
LEA – Local Education Agency (District BOE)
LEP – Limited English Proficiency
NEP – Non-English Proficiency
NES – Non-English Speaker
OELPA – Ohio’s English Language Proficiency Assessment
OTELA – Ohio’s Test for English Language Acquisition
PTM – Proficient Trial Mainstream; student has achieved a score on the OTELA (composite 4) that has met the criteria set by the state of Ohio indicating the student is able to function independently in the regular classroom with monitoring by the EL teacher.
RIMP – Reading Improvement & Monitoring Plan
SEA – State Education Agency (in Ohio, OEA)
SIOP – Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol
SLA – Second Language Acquisition
TESOL – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Regulatory requirements that prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, color, or national origin by recipients of federal financial assistance; interpreted to prohibit denial of access to education due to a language minority students limited proficiency in English.





Parent Rights (Title III and Parent Notification)

The purpose Title III of the Every Student Succeeds Act is to help meet the needs of Limited English Proficient students, develop high quality language instruction programs, build agencies’ capacities, promote parental involvement, streamline programs, hold state and local educational agencies accountable, and provide flexibility for agencies. For more information visit Ohio Department of Education: Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)


Myths About English Learning

According to the Ohio Department of Education:

In the document ESL Standards for Pre-K-Students (TESOL, Inc. 1997), several myths about second language learning are discussed.

Myth 1: ESOL (English as a Second or Other Language) students learn English easily and quickly simply by being exposed to and surrounded by native English speakers.

Fact: Learning a second language takes time and significant intellectual effort on the part of the learner. Learning as second language is hard work; even the youngest learners do not simply “pick up” the language.

Myth 2: When ESOL learners are able to converse comfortably in English, they have developed proficiency in the language.

Fact: It can take 6 to 9 years for ESOL learners to achieve the same levels of proficiency in academic English as native speakers. Moreover, ESOL students participating in thoughtfully designed programs of bilingual or sheltered content instruction remain in school longer and attain significantly higher rates of academic achievement in comparison to students without such advantages.

Myth 3: In earlier times immigrant children learned English rapidly and assimilated easily into American life.

Fact: Many immigrant students during the early part of this century did not learn English quickly or well. Many dropped out of school to work in jobs that did not require the kinds of academic achievement and communication skills that substantive employment opportunities require today. (TESOL, Inc., 1997, p. 3).

Services Provided

School districts have the flexibility to decide on the educational approach that best meets the needs of their LEP students and leads to the timely acquisition of the level of English proficiency the students need to succeed in school. Presented here is a brief description of federal law describing districts’ responsibilities for selecting programs as well as an overview of different approaches used in Ohio.

Small Group Instruction for English Learning (EL)

Using this educational approach, limited English proficient students are directly instructed in the use of the English language. Instruction is based on a special curriculum that typically involves little or no use of the students’ native language and is usually taught during specific school periods. For the remainder of the school day, students may be placed in mainstream classrooms. EL classes may focus on teaching formal English grammar and on promoting natural communication activities (free conversation, games, discussions on familiar topics). Reading and writing are practiced as well as oral communication skills in English.

Tutoring Sessions

Individual or small-group tutoring sessions are used most commonly when there are very few LEP students enrolled in a school district. The tutoring sessions may focus on promoting basic English communication skills or on English for academic purposes.

In-class Support (Inclusion and Co-teaching)

In this approach, LEP students are together with their native-English speaking peers in the same classroom, but an EL or bilingual education specialist is available in the classroom to support the LEP students. For example, the EL or bilingual education specialist may provide guidance to the LEP students as they are working on a group project or individual assignment.

Parent and Community Information

Enrolling and Registering in Pickerington Schools

All new students in Pickerington Schools start by registering through the district’s Welcome Center. To begin that process, visit the “Enrolling” section of our website.

Non-English speaking parents who need a translator or other assistance with this process may contact either Elizabeth Curtis , EL Coordinator, or Denise Mitchell, Administrative Secretary.

Information about Free and Reduced Meals

Pickerington Schools offers free and reduced-price meals for students unable to pay the full price of meals or milk served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast, After School Care Snack or Special Milk Program. Each school office and District Office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.

The Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines will be used for determining eligibility. Children from families whose annual income is at or below the federal guidelines are eligible for free and reduced price meals or free milk if the school participates in the Special Milk Program.

For complete information, see “Free and Reduced Price Meals” on the Food Services Department section of the website.

Homework Help

Pickerington Public Library, 201 Opportunity Way, Pickerington, OH 43147

The Homework Help Center is comprised of dedicated volunteers and staff who provide general homework guidance and support to grades K – 12.

Columbus Public Library

All Columbus Public Libraries offer homework help free of charge. Staff is available to support students and help them succeed in school. You can find locations and hours here.


Colorin Colorado

Colorin Colorado is a bilingual site to support educators and families of English Language Learners. They offer great tips and ideas for both families and educators.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that allows students to learn at their own pace. They offer math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more.

Third Grade Reading Guarantee


Reading can happen anytime, anywhere!  Together, you and your children can explore the joy of reading.  The INFOhio website provides “Reading ‘Round the Clock” videos and “So You’re Parenting…” flyers (flyers available in English and Spanish), that offer easy tips for incorporating reading practice into everyday activities.  Visit the INFOhio website to view the videos and flyers provided.

INFOhio developed these resources in partnership with the State Library of Ohio, Ohio Educational Library Media Association, and the Ohio PTA.  Free downloads are available to all Ohioans.  Take a look for great tips on keeping your family reading and preparing your children for Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

Family Services

Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS)

Community Refugee and Immigration Service (CRIS) is an independent non-profit agency serving refugees, asylees, and immigrants in central Ohio. They help refugees and immigrants achieve successful integration into the central Ohio community.

The Children’s Advocacy Project for Kids (CAP4Kids)

The Children’s Advocacy Project for Kids (CAP4Kids) helps families and school find out about free and low-cost community resources that exist to improve the lives of families. The website features after-school care, literacy resources, behavioral counseling, teen resources, and services for children with special needs. Handouts and information within the webpage can be translated into multiple languages.

Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services

The ETSS assists immigrant and refugee families and low income individuals in Central Ohio through education, training, supportive services, and self-development opportunities.

Intercambio Uniting Communities (Immigrant Integration) 

Immigrant Integration works on helping improve the lives of immigrants through English Education.

Latino Empowerment Outreach Network

The Latino Empowerment Outreach Network as a network of individuals and organizations to empower and enrich the Latino community in the areas of health, education, advocacy, and communication. Network meetings: September-June, 8:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m, first Thursday of every month. Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, Columbus,Ohio, 1700 Watermark Drive (Take Grandview exit off of I-670W. Go straight through light).

My Project USA

MY Project USA is a non-profit organization. It is the first and the only national initiative that is addressing the challenges facing the American Youth, especially in the immigrant and refugee communities from various Muslim countries.

Ohio Hispanic Coalition

The Ohio Hispanic Coalition works improve the well being and quality of life of all Latinos through advocacy, education, training and access to quality services.

ODE-Lau Resource Center

The mission of the Lau Resource Center at the Ohio Department of Education is to ensure equal access to high-quality learning experiences and standards for students with limited English proficiency in the state of Ohio.

Teaching Tolerance

This website provides guidance for educators on how to handle undocumented students that are going through the stress/fear of deportation.

Flex Credit

Information on Pickerington Schools Flex Credit program.

Visit the Ohio Department of Education’s Credit Flexibility Guidance web page to view additional information.  Under the “World Languages” portion of the page, you will find FAQs, proficiency measures, existing credit flex programs in Ohio and more.

Student Resources and Information

Content Bilingual Glossaries

Content Bilingual Glossaries

These bilingual glossaries are broken down into content areas and are offered in many different languages. The bilingual glossaries are intended to be used by teachers, EL students, test translators, and material and curricula developers.

Academic and Curricular Resources

Brain Pop

BrainPOP engages students through animated movies, learning games and interactive quizzes covering many topics.

Eureka math: tips for parents

These are tools and videos to support students with Eureka Math at home.

Imagine Learning

Imagine Learning is a blended learning tool that our elementary and middle school ELL students use to enhance language acquisition.

InfOhio PreK-12 Digital Library

INFOhio is a digital library that offers a variety of content and services—most at no charge—to Ohio’s 1.9 million PreK-12 students, their parents, and their teachers.

Springboard login

Provides the login page to the Pickerington Springboard curriculum

ST Math

Spatial – Temporal (ST) Math is a blended learning tool students in Pickerington use to support math instruction. ST Math is the leader in visual math instruction.



Family Activities

Pickerington Parks and Recreation

Pickerington Parks and Recreation provides many affordable programs in the Pickerington area for kids and adults.

Experience Columbus

Experience Columbus provides calendars of events happening around Columbus.

Metro Parks

Offers many activities and programs at the Metro Parks around Columbus.

Columbus Museum of Art

The Columbus Museum of Art offers free admission on Sundays and offers activities for all ages.

Columbus Commons

Columbus Commons is seven acres of green space located in the heart of Downtown Columbus with a state-of-the-art performance space. They offer many different activities throughout the year.

Teacher Tools and Resources

Building Relationships With Your EL Students

According to Ohio Department of Education:

Five principles of second language development are presented here, along with suggestions on how to implement these practices.

Principle 1

Students need to feel good about themselves and their relationships with others in second language learning situations. (Rigg & Hudelson, 1986)

To put the principle into practice, educators should:

  • Foster friendships among LEP students and their peers/teachers;
  • Promote cooperative learning activities;
  • Arrange for peer study partners;
  • Use language skills and cultural knowledge of LEP students as resources in the classroom;
  • Have students make bilingual dictionaries for different content areas;
  • Have students provide information on food, music, dance, games, folk tales, etc.;
  • Have students share personal likes and dislikes;
  • Provide learning settings in which students feel at ease.

Principle 2

Comprehension naturally precedes production during the process of second language development (Krashen & Terrell, 1983)

To put the principle into practice:

  • Provide comprehensible input within meaningful contexts;
  • Give plenty of opportunities to read good literature that is age appropriate and suitable to students’ proficiency level;
  • Allow students to show comprehension/competency non-verbally;
  • If possible, use students’ native language as a means to develop necessary concepts.

Principle 3

Second language competency develops most quickly when the learner focuses on accomplishing tasks rather than focusing on the language itself. (Rigg & Hudelson, 1986; Krashen & Terrell, 1983)

To put the principle into practice:

  • Give chances for students to work on group assignments;
  • Begin with concrete experiences;
  • Focus on purposeful content-related activities.

Principle 4

Students can learn to read and write in a second language while they develop their oral skills. (Rigg & Hudelson, 1986)

To put the principle into practice:

  • Use the language experience approach to promote both oral and written communication;
  • Provide meaningful writing opportunities;
  • Teach note-taking skills;
  • Make authentic reading resources available;
  • Involve students in journal writing.

Principle 5

Learners acquire a second language through trial and error; mistakes are part of the natural process. (Rigg & Hudelson, 1986; Krashen & Terrell, 1983)

To put the principle into practice:

  • Focus on what students communicate rather than on how they communicate;
  • Don’t correct students’ mistakes all the time, especially when correction interrupts communication;
  • Use students’ errors as indicators of their progress in developing second language skills.


Krashen, S. & Terrell, Tracy. 1983. The Natural Approach: Language Acquisition in the Classroom. Hayward, CA: Alemany Press

Rigg, P. & Hudelson, S. 1986. One child doesn’t speak English. Australian Journal of Reading. 9, 3, pp. 116-125.

View the original article at this link.

Understanding Your EL Students

How do EL students feel?

Culture shock is precipitated by the anxiety that results from losing all familiar signs and symbols of social discourse. By leaving their country (a decision that they have no control over) they leave their friends, family, school, sense of being safe, and all other aspects of their lives to start a new life in an unfamiliar and unknown land, often with unrealistic expectations.

Overwhelmed: When they first arrive at school they don’t understand our schedule, our classroom set up, our student-centered classroom, cooperative learning, buying lunch, bringing clothes for gym, books for class, or anything else about school. They can’t understand anything because it is all in a language foreign to them.

Confused: Often they have no idea what is going on. Where do they go? What do they need? What can they do? What can’t they do? What bus do they take? What do they do when they have to go to the bathroom? Where are the bathrooms? What is everyone else doing?

Tired: Spending the day in a completely different language is exhausting. They may understand no English or some English but either way it is absolutely exhausting. They are trying to listen for words they know, translate words they don’t know, connect their new knowledge to their prior knowledge, which is in their first language.

Lost: Everything is foreign to them. The school set up, the choices at lunch, the room locations, where the assignments are listed, everything makes them feel lost.

Isolated: They feel very alone. Often they have no one to talk to or share their feelings with. That is why it is helpful to find someone in the building that can speak his or her native language.

Source: Ohio Department of Education

Suggested Accommodations

Instructional Accommodations for ELs

  • Assign a study partner.
  • Break lesson into smaller “chunks.”
  • Repeat directions.
  • Use more manipulatives.
  • Provide opportunities to retake tests.
  • Reduce auditory and visual distractions.
  • Use high interest reading material at an easier level.
  • Use highlighting tape and markers.
  • Use visuals and gestures to convey meaning nonverbally
  • Allow wait time for a response


  • Directions are in written form, as well as read orally.
  • Assignments are written on the board.
  • Make sure the student is on the correct page.
  • Allow extra time to gather material.
  • Make sure you have the student’s attention before giving instructions.
  • Break down multi-step directions.

Daily Assignments

  • Reduce the amount of the assignment. (volume)
  • Allow extra time to complete assignments.
  • Accept amount of work completed if time is used wisely.
  • Prioritize assignments.
  • Use peer tutoring/language buddy.
  • Reduce the amount of material covered. (chunk and chew)
  • Accept short answers as opposed to complete sentences.
  • Accept oral recordings as an alternative to writing assignments.


  • Provide multi-sensory presentations of lessons. (visual, auditory, kinesthetic)
  • Vary group structure/cooperative learning.
  • Tape any available text.
  • Allow peer to take notes for students or carbon copy notes.
  • Allow student to tape lectures
  • Provide a study sheet/lecture outline.
  • Focus on key vocabulary for various units
  • Read information orally with a peer or a small group
  • Simplify vocabulary without reducing content.


  • Read test orally.
  • Give short answer tests.
  • Allow dictation of answers.
  • Allow student to list ideas rather than sentences or essays.
  • Simplify tests.
  • Divide tests into smaller parts.
  • Allow use of different test formats.(time chart/outline)
  • Do not penalize for spelling of other grammatical errors.
  • Allow extra time for tests.
  • Allow open book and/or open note test.
  • Allow the test to be taken with ESL teacher.
  • Use a variety of alternative assessments to evaluate student work.

State assessments in a variety of formats that assist in providing accommodations to students whose IEP, 504 or Limited English Proficient (LEP) status allows for use of special testing accommodations.

For information about special testing accommodations, including Foreign language audio format, language translation scripts for state assessments, large print, bilingual forms, and visit the Ohio Department of Education’s website.

Source: Ohio Department of Education

Two Types of Language (BICS and CALP)

What is BICS?

Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills is (BICS) is the form of language that is commonly associated with conversations in the hallway, or before class, or at some kind of recreational or social event. It takes approximately 2-3 years for students to become proficient in BICS. BICS is also manifested in relation to CONCRETE concepts.

Many teachers are confounded by the fact that their ESL students have developed BICS proficiency but appear to have little success in the formal classroom setting. That’s because the students have not yet developed CALP-Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency.

What is CALP?

CALP is what students must develop if they are going to be able to make sense out of the abstract concepts the teachers are trying to teach them. CALP can take (on average 5-7 years) up to 10 years to acquire.

If a student has developed CALP in their native language, then our job is to facilitate the transfer of CALP by giving the student new labels for the abstract concepts they are familiar with.

Source: Ohio Department of Education

Stages of Second Language Acquisition


Pre-production or the silent period. New students just listen. Some may not speak for weeks or months. Don’t force them. Some will start using simple learned phrases and simple sentences.


Students will develop a vocabulary of about 1,000 words; speak in one or two word phrases, memorized chunks and simple sentences. This may last about 6 months.

High Beginner

Students will develop a vocabulary of about 3,000 words, use simple sentences, ask simple questions, read easy stories, and write simple sentences.


Now students have a 6,000 word vocabulary, use more complex sentences, and ask questions. They will still have grammar errors.


It can take 4 – 10 years to achieve this. Students are able to cope in the classroom but will still need help with vocabulary, idioms, writing and content such as social studies.

Communicating With Parents
  • Use a translator, which can be scheduled through your EL teacher.
  • Send written correspondence in the native language and English.
  • Schedule a home visit with your EL teacher and / or EL coordinator.
  • Ask for the assistance of the child or older siblings (although not ideal)
  • Ask for the assistance of the EL teacher.
  • Use an online translation site, like Google Translate.
  • To communicate information about the district, use the website content translation function on the district website (located on the lower left corner of this page.)
Ohio English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards

The Ohio English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards are a resource for teachers and other school staff who work with limited English proficient (LEP) students in kindergarten through grade 12.  The standards define progressive levels of competence in the acquisition of English and help teachers move LEP students toward proficiency both in the English language and in Ohio’s academic content standards.

The 10 standards highlight a set of language functions and forms that are needed by English language learners as they develop competence in English language arts and literacy, mathematics, science, and other academic content areas.  Along with the new Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA), the standards should guide the instruction and assessment of English Learners (ELs) in Ohio schools.  Divided into grades K, 1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-8, and 9-12, the standards directly link to the Ohio Learning Standards.  They highlight and amplify the critical language, knowledge about language and skills using language that are needed to be successful in school.

Standards by Grade Band

Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA 21)

The screener to identify students as English language learners will be available for school year 2018-19. According to the Ohio Department of Education, it is scheduled to be posted on August 1, 2018.

The 2018-19 online and paper test administration window is Feb. 4 – March 29, 2019. Make-up tests are included in the test window. All tests must be completed within the window. There is no extension of the test window for any reason due to the large test window.

The ELPA21 consortium provides sample items that demonstrate features of ELPA21’s reading, speaking, listening and writing items for grades K-12.

Professional Development

Academic Reading

Realizing Opportunities for ELLs in the Common Core English Language Arts and Disciplinary Literacy Standards 

Providing Feedback on ESL Students Written Assignments (PDF)


ELPA21 Professional Development Modules

The first two of six ELPA21 professional development modules are now available! These modules, produced for ELPA21 states, focus on implementing the new ELP Standards in the classroom. Module 1 is an introduction to the ELP Standards, and Module 2 focuses on task analysis.

Both modules are currently available to ELPA21 states through Stanford University’s Understanding Language program, and links are provided in the Operational Handoffs Basecamp Project under “Training.”

It is the consortium’s intent that these modules will be transferred to ELPA21 states’ professional development systems. Module 3, ELP Standards, will be available this month.

Source: ELPA21


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Guidelines for Referral and Identification of English Learners with Disabilities

The following guidance documents have been developed by the Ohio Department of Education to assist the identification and instruction of English language learners who do not make expected academic progress in school and who may benefit from individualized, intensive intervention services provided through The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004).

The two key question checklistsReferral and Identification of English Language Learners with Disabilities and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Literacy/Reading Instruction for English Language Learners are informal assessment tools developed by Ohio educators to provide more consistent and well-rounded assessment within the referral and identification processes established at the local level for ELs and students with disabilities. The checklists are presented as a list of guiding questions developed by practitioners to support the provision of school intervention for English language learners with suspected disabilities.

Educational Website Links

English For Everyone

EnglishForEveryone.org is your resource for printable English worksheets. You are welcome to use any of the materials on this website without asking permission, granted that our strict copyright policy is respected. 

Common Core Worksheets

These worksheets are modified for the needs of lower level learners or for first introducing a topic. They’ll often have an answer bank, multiple choice instead of fill in the blank or other modifications to meet different students needs.  You can also download the worksheets in multiple languages; Spanish, German, Russian, Italian, Vietnamese, and French.