Altoona Area School District

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Initial Evaluation

How a child Becomes Eligible for Services
The PA Department of Education requires that families of all public school children respond to a Home Language Survey. If a language other than English is spoken in the home (English can be spoken in the home as well), the ESL teacher will evaluate the child's level of English proficiency in the domains of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and comprehension.

The Assessment Tool Used in the Initial Evaluation
The W-APT (WIDA ACCESS Placement Test) is the tool used by Pennsylvania public schools to determine a student's level of proficience in using English in academic settings. The teacher combines the results of this test with input from teachers and family to determine eligibility for ESL services.

Instruction in reading, writing, speaking, listening - click here for a detailed description of the elementary ESL program provided by the ESL Specialists.

Pull-out instruction

The ESL teacher works one-on-one with English Language Learners to teach language skills

Support in the Classroom
The ESL teacher supports students in their regular classroom settings. This strategy is helpful when students need to complete specific tasks for which they lack effective English skills.

Sheltered Instruction
The ESL teacher provides ideas and other support to regular teachers as they support the ELLs in their classrooms.

Monitor Only
When an English Language Learner has gained the skills to work independently in an English-speaking setting, the ESL teacher will monitor that student for two years in order to reestablish instruction if the student shows a need for further support.

Ongoing Progress Evaluation
It is common for the skills of English Language Learners to grow at varying rates, so it is important to monitor progress throughout the school year. We accomplish this goal in the following ways:

Quarterly Benchmark Assessments
Close to the end of each marking period, the ESL teacher conducts an assessment of ELLs' progress in reading, writing, speaking and listening. This information is used to structure appropriate lessons for the coming weeks of school.

Annual Progress Evaluation
Within the first weeks of each school year, the ESL teacher will assess the current levels of each ELL who is returning to school after hving been in the district for some or all of the previious school year. This evaluation is conducted at the start of each school year in order to accurately gauge current levels and prepare instruction according to each student's needs.

Support for families

Translation Services
The school district is required by law to ask families of English Language Learners if they need translation services in order to communicate with their children's schools. If this is a need, the district will provide forms and documents in the families' native languages. When needed, the district will also locate a person who can serve as an interpreter at meetings.

Resource Information
While family needs are not the direct responsibility of the school district, we will gladly try to connect families with agencies or individuals with whom they can work to resolve family concerns. To ask for our help, please email either of the district's ESL teachers.