Marblehead English Language Education

  • Overview

    Students who are English learners, or ELs, are learning and progressing their academic English skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. ELs may come from non-English speaking homes or homes where English is spoken in addition to the families’ native language (s). ELs may be born in the United States or they may be born in another country. In order to successfully access the grade-level curriculum, students who are ELs require explicit English instruction in addition to their classroom work, which is provided by an English Language Education (ELE)  teacher. Our ELE classes are vertically and horizontally aligned across grade levels and schools in order to create a cohesive ELE curriculum for all of our students.  

    Who are our EL students?

    We have the privilege of teaching students from a variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The many languages Marblehead students speak include, but are not limited to: Arabic, Dari-Persian, Russian, Vietnamese, Ukrainian, Spanish, Haitian-Creole, Cape Verdean- Creole, Mandarin, Cantonese, Portuguese, Yoruba, and Korean.

    Our students include recent immigrants, children adopted internationally, refugees, and second and third generation Americans born and raised in Marblehead or other areas of Massachusetts. Our students have grown up in multilingual homes, some have grown up with some exposure to another language, while some have grown up with little to no English at home prior to joining us. 

    Identification of Students

    In order to identify students who are English learners, school districts are required to assess the English proficiency of students whose home language includes a language other than English.  Students are assessed in listening, speaking, reading, and writing using the WIDA SCREENER assessment.  The language proficiency assessment is utilized to determine placement in the English Learners program.

    Program Model

    Federal and Massachusetts state laws require that the district provide your child with support so that they can understand the instruction provided in their classroom and develop their English skills.  The English Language Education (ELE) program is designed to provide small group instruction in reading, writing, speaking, and listening in English based on your child’s strengths and learning needs.  The ELE teacher provides this support in collaboration with your child’s classroom teacher(s).  

    All core content teachers of English learners are required to hold the Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) endorsement.  Sheltered English Immersion is an instructional methodology and approach to teaching that builds content and language knowledge for English learners within the context of a content classroom.

    Your child will participate in school and district assessments of their skills to determine instructional strategies and intervention when needed.  If your child has additional educational needs that require special education or related services, the ELE program will work in collaboration with your child’s Special Education providers to implement your child’s IEP.  Your child has the right to participate in both services.  

    You have the right to decline placement of your child into the ELE program or withdraw your child from services at any time.  This means that if you choose to decline placement of your child in the ELE program or withdraw your child, your child will not receive instruction within the English Language Education program focused on developing their language skills and taught by an EL teacher.  Your child’s SEI teachers will continue to provide instruction in the classroom and your child’s language development and proficiency will be assessed annually through participation in the ACCESS for ELs assessment until they meet criteria to exit the ELE program.

    Reclassification of Students

    When your child demonstrates proficiency in English , they will no longer be classified as an English learner, and will be exited from the ELE program and services.  The state of Massachusetts sets a target that students will demonstrate proficiency in English and exit English learner status in six years, although some students may exit earlier or later than this target date.  Your child will be continue to receive ELE program services until they have met the qualifying criteria:

    • Earn a qualifying score on the ACCESS for ELs assessment
    • Demonstrated the ability to perform ordinary classroom in English as indicated by classroom data, district assessments, and state assessments including MCAS.

    Students who are no longer classified as English learners will be monitored by the district for four years to ensure that they are succeeding academically.  When students struggle to meet grade-level academic expectations due to their English language proficiency, the district will provide language support services to these students and may recommend re-entry to the ELE program.

    English learners are expected to graduate from high school, earning a high school diploma, at a similar rate to non-English learner students, when they have sufficient opportunities to complete graduation requirements.  

    Translation & Interpretation

    The Marblehead Public Schools is committed to providing all families with important information, documents, and the opportunity to communicate in their home language.  If you require written translation or oral interpretation please contact your child’s teacher or school.  

    Parent Resources

    Under the LOOK Act (2017) all districts that serve more than 100 English Learners are required to establish an ELPAC (English Learner Parent Advisory Council).  The purpose of the ELPAC is to provide parents and guardians of ELs with an opportunity to share their experiences, feedback, and opinions on programming within the Marblehead Public Schools, to support the academic success and engagement of English Learners and Former EL students within the Marblehead Public Schools, and to increase parent and community involvement in programming for culturally and linguistically diverse learners.  

    Participation in the ELPAC is voluntary, but encouraged! The parents or guardians of current and former EL students are eligible to participate.

    For more information, please contact your child’s EL teacher.