English Language Learners in PA

There are approximately 47,567 English Language Learners (ELLs) speaking in 229 different languages in Pennsylvania. The education of students whose dominant language is not English and who are ELLs is the responsibility of every Local Education Agency (LEA). Title 22, Chapter 4, Section 4.26 of the Curriculum Regulations requires the LEA to provide a program for every student who is limited English proficient (LEP) or an English language learner (ELL).
The goal of English as a Second Language (ESL) programs is to facilitate the acquisition of English language skills of students whose native or first language is not English. Without core program instruction in social and academic English and appropriate support, these students are at risk of losing the educational opportunities provided to students generally. (2017 English as a second language, PA Dept. of Ed). 

AASD Board Policy

The district seeks to provide quality education to all students. In accordance with this precept, the Altoona Area School District will provide an appropriate planned instructional program for identified students whose primary language is not English. The purpose of the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program is to increase the English language proficiency of eligible students so that they can attain Pennsylvania’s academic standards and achieve academic success.


The school district shall provide an instructional program for each student identified as an English Language Learner (ELL). The English as a Second Language Program shall meet the three-pronged test of program compliance:

  1. The ESL Program will be based on sound research-based education theory.
  2. The ESL Program will provide sufficient resources and shall be staffed by appropriately prepared personnel.
  3. The ESL Program will include periodic program evaluation.

Basic Education Curricular Update – Educating Students with LEP and ELL

The BEC is the interpretation and the requirements of the law concerning the education of students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) or English Language Learners (ELLs).
ELLs and Discrimination Law

Both the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) address discrimination against ELLs in their legislation and investigations. For more information, see the following website.