Students and Families » English Learner Program Policies and Procedures

English Learner Program Policies and Procedures

The English Learners Program in Dearborn Heights School District No. 7 strives to provide instruction in English as academic support to students who have difficulty reading, writing, speaking, and listening to and comprehending English; enabling them to become successful in the regular classroom, the overall school environment, and the community.
Dearborn Heights School District No. 7 provides an English Learner Program in collaboration with the Wayne County Regional Educational Learner (EL) Consortium. WCRESA assigns resource facilitators to provide support for assessment and instructional programming by providing direct service to general education and special education EL eligible students. WCRESA offers resources for utilization and sharing of instructional EL materials to facilitate English. WCRESA provides training opportunities for parents, facilitators and classroom teachers.
Dearborn Heights School District No. 7 seeks to provide every child, regardless of national origin or native language, quality and meaningful educational instruction. Consequently, students who are English Learners (EL) are provided instructional services through an English as a Second Language (ESL) program, which is designed to meet their unique needs.

• The Dearborn Heights School District No. 7 English Learner Program will provide services to identified EL students in grades K-12 to assist them in achieving the basic program goals. The Michigan English Language Proficiency Standards will provide the foundation for English language acquisition and the academic development of identified EL students in the district. The school district is aware that second language acquisition, beyond basic communication skills, that allows EL students to learn academic content using English may take between five and ten years. It is understood that this time frame can also be impacted by the student’s previous educational and social experiences.

• The design of the program will be flexible each year according to the numbers and levels of students enrolled at each building in the district. In addition to instruction by regular and specialized teaching staff, students may receive additional support from Title I and 31-A support staff, aides, paraprofessionals, tutors, and volunteers.

• The design and implementation of the program components must be flexible to be able to meet the needs of an ever-changing population of EL students; however, the following characteristics will remain no matter what the delivery system may be:
o A program that encourages acceptance and support for all EL students
o Collaborative learning in an environment that is academically challenging
o Instructional leaders and teachers with a commitment to the educational success of all students
o High expectations for parent involvement

The goals of the English Learner Program are to:
1. Use English to communicate in social settings.
2. Use English to achieve academically in all content areas.
3. Develop proficiency in English in the domains of listening, speaking, reading and writing.
4. Meet grade level expectations in all content areas.
5. Be assessed with appropriate assessment tools that take into account their language acquisition stages and cultural backgrounds.
6. Attain academic success through a shared effort of all educators, the family, and the community.
7. Be allowed equal access to all school activities.

The Home Language Survey (HLS) approved by the Michigan Department of Education is completed at the time of enrollment. Central Office administrative assistants are responsible for ensuring that a home language survey is fully completed at the time of enrollment for every student entering the district.

• If it is indicated that a language other than English is spoken by the student or in the student’s home, that information will be given to the Special Education Department in order to create a student data file.

• Upon enrollment the information regarding a second language and immigrant status will be completed by parent/guardian at the Central Office. Possible immigrant status and Primary and Home Languages spoken, if other than, or in addition to English will be entered in the appropriate fields in MISTAR.

• In order to determine if the bilingual student is considered an “Immigrant” the enrolling administrative assistant must review the HLS Question 2, which asks if the child was born in the U.S. If not, the Country must be listed and the Date the child first entered a U.S. school. If less than 3 years, immigrant status may be assigned.

• If a student is currently identified as an English Learner from a prior district, that student will be added to the building roster for direct services. Current WIDA scores will be pursued from the prior school and added to the student records.

• The ESL facilitator, building principal and designated building staff will be notified of student eligibility or need for screening by the Special Education Department.
Initial Assessment/Placement.

• At the beginning of the school year, a new student who is identified as potentially eligible on the Home Language Survey will be screened with the WIDA-Access Placement Test (W-APT) within 30 days to assess English language proficiency and determine level of service. Any student enrolling after the start of the school year must be screened within ten days of enrollment, unless a WIDA score is available.

• Screening will be requested through the Special Education Department to the building facilitator.

• Upon scoring, the screening results will be identified to WCRESA and the district Special Education Department.

• In accordance with Title III, parents will be notified of the EL status of their children annually within thirty days after the start of the school year or enrollment.

• For students newly identified during the school year, parents will receive notice within two weeks of the assessment.

• Parents may decline EL services for their child. Written parent refusals will be submitted to the Special Education Director who will provide notice to the facilitator and building administrator that service was refused.

• However, it is a state requirement that the WIDA-Access be administered on an annual basis to all identified EL students, including those with service refusal.
Annual Assessment

Each spring Dearborn Heights School District No. 7will administer the full WIDA-Access Test to all identified EL students. Results of this state assessment become available prior to the start of the next school year and are used to help determine which previously identified EL students should continue receiving services and which may be exited from the program. Students scoring at WIDA Levels 1-5 are eligible for support.

• In accordance with Title III, parents will be notified of the EL status of their children annually within thirty days after the start of the school year. Letters to parents regarding the WIDA Level and results of annual testing will be generated from the Special Education Department and sent to the building administrators.

• The building administrator will ensure the information is included in the student’s school record and is distributed to appropriate teaching staff and parents.

Regular Classroom Accommodations
In the regular classroom setting, the teacher will utilize various recommended accommodations and modifications necessary to meet the needs of the individual EL student. Teachers will use strategies that provide visual clues for content and specialized vocabulary development by using graphic organizers, charts, word walls, labeling, illustrations, and other methods that reduce the amount of text a student must use to achieve understanding of content. The WCRESA will be a resource for ideas and strategies for modifications and accommodations in the regular classroom. Instruction will be the research-based and best practice approach used by classroom teachers and support staff to make academic instruction in English comprehensible to EL students.
English as a Second Language
This instruction may take place inside or outside of the regular classroom and will provide instruction using English as the main language of lesson delivery to assist students with English language acquisition skills. Identified EL students will receive instruction that includes listening, speaking, reading, writing, vocabulary, comprehension, study skills, and cultural orientation. Materials specifically designed for the development of language proficiency will be used in this setting. Some of these materials include picture dictionaries, leveled books, and computer applications. The frequency and intensity of the service provided will vary depending on the English language proficiency level and academic needs of the student.
Supplemental Support
Supplemental language and academic support may utilize Title I and 31-A to provide support staff, aides, paraprofessionals, tutors, and volunteers. Support in these programs are determined through multiple data such as: various common assessments, grades, WIDA proficiency, NWEA and/or M-STEP proficiency.
Parent Participation
We are committed to meaningful communication with parents of English Learners. Parent participation is encouraged and critical to all student learning. Staff work to have interpreter services available for parent meetings and to have information distributed in the home language.

Dearborn Heights School District No. 7 offers a Family Literacy Program. The program is a free opportunity for parents in the district to learn or improve their English. It runs twice a week, after school, during the school calendar. The Family Literacy Program also offers tutoring for the students whose parents are attending. The Wayne County RESA Consortium provides and supervises the qualified staff in collaboration with district support staff. Anyone who has an English Learner student in Dearborn Heights School District No. 7 is welcome to participate. For more information contact Susan Mitchell at [email protected] or call at 313-203-3176.
Legal Responsibilities
There exists a substantial body of Federal law which establishes the rights of English Learners (ELs) and which defines the legal responsibilities of school districts serving these students. The central Title VI requirement under law for EL students is that they have meaningful access to the district’s educational program.
Title III is a part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). The purpose of Title III is to help ensure that English Learners (ELs) attain English language proficiency and meet state academic standards.

Therefore, the goals of success for EL students relates to the goals maintained for all students throughout the district. Under federal law, the fundamental principles of the EL program to educate children with limited proficiency in English must be:
1. based on sound educational theory;
2. adequately supported so that the program has a realistic chance of success;
3. periodically evaluated and revised.
Susan Mitchell
Director of Special Education
[email protected]
It is the policy of Dearborn Heights School District No. 7 that no discriminatory practices based on sex, race, religion, color, National Origin, disability, height, weight, or any other status covered by state federal or local law be allowed in providing instructional opportunities, programs, services, job placement assistance, employment or policy governing student contact and attendance.