• Children of the World











    The Council Rock School District provides an instructional program for students who are identified as needing instruction in the English language when this is not their first acquired language. The aim of this program is to assist each student in their fluency, and competency in using the English language as well as to aid them in successfully adapting to their new culture.




    1.                To develop communicative competency and to meet the Council Rock Academic Standards as it pertains to address cross-content literacy.

    2.                To provide educational experiences that will prepare students to complete high school and to enter institutions of higher learning and/or the world of work.

    3.             To support student growth in the regular education classroom

    4.             To support mainstream teachers regarding instruction, making adaptations, and grading procedures

    5.             To support and provide information to additional professionals i.e. counselors, psychologists, speech therapists, IST and MDE teams and instructional support staff.

    6.             To orient students to the school environment and community

    7.            To enhance the student’s sense of self-worth by highlighting contributions made to society by their ethnic group (Adapted from: Guidelines for Educational Programs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for Limited English Proficient Children. Pennsylvania Department of Education, 8)




    The Council Rock ELL instructional program addresses five areas from grades kindergarten through twelve: 

                          Proficiency in oral language

                          Proficiency in listening comprehension

                          Proficiency in reading (including reading in the content areas)

                          Proficiency in writing

                          Proficiency in social and cultural adaptation


    “In addition to the objectives described above, the underlying objective of the program is the nurturing of self-pride and self-identity in each pupil’s linguistic and cultural heritage. Opportunity is provided for pupils to learn about their culture and discuss the history and customs of their ethnic group.” (Adapted from: Guidelines for Educational Programs In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for Limited English Proficient Children. Pennsylvania Department of Education, 9)




    The Council Rock School District ELL program has been aligned with the  current state approved WIDA Standards (2007) -  http://www.wida.us/standards/PreK-5%20Standards%20web.pdf  /  http://www.wida.us/standards/6-12%20Standards%20web.pdf and http://www.pdesas.org/Standard/Views#0|0|0|1181 and has been written to reflect specific goals for the Reading, English and Language Arts curriculum. In addition, these standards have been aligned with Pennsylvania ELL Performance Standards, Pennsylvania Standards for Reading and Writing and school board approved Council Rock Reading, English, and Language Arts Standards (RELA). In order to meet all standards, viewing and research have been added to the ELL curriculum. These goals and standards are for all grade levels and address the areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing and research. They incorporate the use of English for communication, academic purposes and cultural understanding.  See PDE website for the most current ELL goals and standards.


               GOAL 1: To communicate in social settings

                                Standard 1: Students will use English to participate in social


                                Standard 2: Students will interact in, through and with spoken and

                                                     written English for personal expression and enjoyment.

                                Standard 3: Students will use learning strategies to extend their

                                                     communicative competence.


               GOAL 2: To use English to achieve academically in all content areas

                                Standard 1: Students will use English to interact in the classroom.

                                Standard 2: Students will use English to obtain, process, construct and

                                                     provide subject matter information in spoken and written


                                Standard 3: Students will use appropriate learning strategies to

                                                     construct and apply academic knowledge.


               GOAL 3: To use English in socially and culturally appropriate ways

                                Standard 1: Students will use the appropriate language variety, register

                                                     and genre according to audience, purpose, and setting.

                                Standard 2: Students will use nonverbal communication appropriate to

                                                     audience, purpose and setting.

                                Standard 3: Students will use appropriate learning strategies to extend

                                                     their communicative competence.




    The Director of Human Resources (Federal Programs) ultimately directs the ELL program. The program is coordinated and overseen by the District Coordinator of Federal/ELL Programs, who is directly responsible to the Superintendent of Schools and the Director of Human Resources. ELL teachers and Title III paraprofessionals report to the District Coordinator of Federal/ELL Programs. They also have some responsibilities to their home-based schools.


    Students from grades kindergarten through twelve are taught one to several times per week, depending on the grade level and level of English proficiency. These students are seen by a teacher with ESL (ELL) program specialist certification (Highly Qualified). ELL teachers emphasize listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and research starting at the child’s appropriate skill level. The ELL teacher emphasizes conversation in social situations and acquisition of background information and vocabulary. Movement to increasing academic performance levels throughout the school year is the goal of the program.


    At the elementary level, materials may consist of computer based language programs, website based language programs, fiction and non-fiction trade books, vocabulary, comprehension and grammar games, picture dictionaries, other dictionaries and the thesaurus, other language arts materials. Additional materials/technology in social studies, math, and science areas may include textbooks, maps and charts. Special materials may be provided and used at the request of the classroom teacher. 


    At the secondary level, the emphasis is on teaching English through content such as math, social studies, science, health, essay writing, English literature and vocabulary. Classroom texts, computer-based data and supplemental printed materials are primary sources of instruction. Computers are used for translation, gathering information, research, writing, presentations and school communications. Instructional time is spent on developing and refining English skills such as grammar and vocabulary usage in the context of writing essays, short stories, personal opinion papers and term and research papers.  Comprehension of grade level appropriate materials such as novels, plays, etc. is also emphasized. Math and sciences such as biology and chemistry also take priority due to the vocabulary involved. History, the social sciences and other elective subjects in which the student needs assistance are also addressed.







    ·         A student who was previously in the program and has not met exit criteria is automatically placed in the program in the beginning of the next school year.

    ·         Newly registered students are referred by the school in which they are

     enrolled according to the results of the Home Language Survey (HLS).

    Schools send a copy of the HLS to the ELL teacher assigned to the school.

    -All new students whose HLS denotes a language other than

    English are screened by the ELL teacher. 

    - The W-APT (WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test™) is the PA required screening instrument. This assessment tool, known as the "screener", is used by ELL certified instructors to measure the English language proficiency of students who have recently arrived in the U.S. or in the Council Rock School District. This test can help determine whether or not a child is in need of English language instructional services, and if so, at what level.

    - Review of previous student records may be used to screen students in grades 4-12. Students must meet the following criteria to be exempt from the program:

    -  Report card grades must be average to above average

    -  Standardized test scores must be in the 80%ile or higher

    -  PA state PSSA scores must be basic or higher in all subject areas

                                                               - PA state Keystone scores must be proficient or higher in all subject areas completed            

    - A letter is sent to notify parents/ guardians of entrance into the ELL program.

    - Student information is entered into the Council Rock ELL data base by the ELL teacher.




    - Classroom teacher consultation is ongoing throughout the year.

    - Running records and reading assessments (DRA’s, RELA’s, SRI’s) are completed by classroom teachers and are available to the ELL teacher to review classroom performance.

    - Student writing samples are scored using the PSSA five domain/rubric scoring procedures (focus, content, organization, style, conventions).

    - Title I target elementary schools may provide additional support to K-2 students per “Title I rank-order” selection.

    -  A portfolio of student work is maintained for each year in ELL.

    Student progress reports are written and distributed to parents three times a year.

    -  Test scores are recorded and tracked.

                                 - All ELL students are tested annually to measure progress and

                                    readiness for exit from the ELL program. A record of all test results

                                    and progress reports is maintained by the ELL teacher.

    All identified students listed in CRSD’s database must take the PDE mandated ACCESS for ELL’s WIDA test.

    Note: Prior to administering the W-APT or WIDA tests, Council Rock must adhere to the following guidelines:

    • The test administrator must be a certified teacher.
    • The certified teacher needs to complete the WIDA training module(s) assigned and obtain a quiz score of an 80% or higher on those modules assigned by the LEA facilitator. 
    • The certified teacher should have knowledge of the levels of WIDA and PA English Language Proficiency Standards (PA ELPS) and have experience teaching English Language Learners.
    • A reading specialist or any other ELL certified teacher who meets these criteria is eligible to administer the assessment.

    The ACCESS for ELLs®  stands  for Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners. This large-scale test addresses the academic English language proficiency (ELP) standards at the core of the WIDA Consortium's approach to instructing and evaluating the progress of English language learners. To alleviate any confusion, the WIDA ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT)™, more aptly known as a screening tool, has a different purpose and format from the ACCESS test.

    - Optional tests

    -  Woodcock Language Proficiency Battery

    - This full language assessment will only be administered if additional language information is required.



    Grading English Language Learners


    Classroom teachers often have the following concerns when grading ELL students:

    • The ELL student’s limited English affects the student’s ability to communicate his or her content knowledge.
    • The ELL student works hard, but the student’s achievement falls short in comparison to others in the class because of the ELL student’s limited proficiency in English.
    • The teacher worries that recognizing the ELL student’s effort and progress will be setting two standards of achievement:  ELL and non-ELL students.
    • The teacher and the ELL student have different expectations and interpretations of the grade.

    There are no easy answers to these issues. 


    Working closely with the ELL teacher, content teachers need to enable ELL students to attain their maximum levels of success based on PA WIDA Standards, district-based curriculum, and assessments.  ELL students need to be held accountable for the learning of which they are capable of, but not penalized for their limited language proficiency. 


    Based on current district ELL policy, federal regulations as the apply to 22 Pa. Codes 64.4,6.11.11, 6.11.12, 64.26, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Equal Opportunities Act of 1974, NCLB, P.L. 105-17 (IDEA), and other, It is important to consider the following:


    1.   Have grades reflect a variety of performance (some less dependent on fluent language skills) such as participation, projects, portfolios, and oral explanations.

    2.   Focus on the ELL student’s meaning and content knowledge, not language errors such as grammar mistakes or awkward phrasing.  Ask yourself:  Did the student understand the question?  Did he/she answer the question? And, if appropriate, how well did the student develop and convey  his/her thought?

    3.   Adapt test and test administration.  For example, allow more time for ELL students, or read the test to them.  Teach test-taking skills and strategies.  Since grading on a curve is often unfair to beginning ELL students, use criterion-reference tests.

    4.   Recognize effort and improvement in ways other than grades.

    5.   Adhere to  CRSD Grading policy guidelines --  Beginning ELL students with little to no English language background may receive grades of Pass / Fail if mutually determined by the ELL teacher, the classroom teacher, the building principal, additional direct stakeholders, and, if needed, the Director of Elementary/Secondary Education and the Federal Programs Coordinator.  A new, non-English speaking student may receive a grade of “Pass” at the end of the year which is the equivalent of a grade level “C” / 2 weight or a final letter grade.  This final letter grade may be awarded based on overall performance for the year.

    6.   Students who are functioning in a particular subject or subjects at, close to, or above grade level should be graded as any English speaking student. 

    7.    If the student is functioning below grade level (due to Limited English abilities and/or interrupted schooling) and is not receiving a Pass/Fail grade, then the student’s grade should be recorded as A, B, C, D based on a modified grading scale.  Giving a student a failing grade is not appropriate if the student is striving to complete assigned work and is meeting PA WIDA Standards/benchmarks.

    8.   Students may receive a grade of an “XX” – exempting them from mid-term and/or final exams if they have not had enough time to adequately prepare (academically / language) for specific exams. This will be mutually agreed upon by the ELL teacher, the classroom teacher, and the building principal.

    9.   In some cases, when immigrant students have arrived later in the school year, and have had little or no time to cover significant ground in language learning and content academics, recommendations may have to be considered to lower a student’s grade level or add an extra school year --- grounds due to lack of previous school credit.


    Remember:  All ELL students in a content classroom should receive a grade of some type for every class in which they participate or are present.   22 Pa. Code §4.26 (04.14.2009)


    Suggested Strategies and Accommodations for Testing English Language Learners


    Standardized and Classroom Tests:

    • Read the instructions out loud.  Explain in the native language if necessary.
    • Check students after a few minutes of test-taking to make sure they understood the instruction and are on track.
    • Allow state designated word-to-word bilingual dictionaries when appropriate.
    • Teach test-taking skills and practice on sample items throughout instruction.

    Classroom Assessments:

    • Teach to the assessment; let students know in advance how achievement will be measured.
    • Align instructional methods and assessment methods.
    • Check comprehension frequently throughout instruction.
    • Supplement tests with other measures of content understanding such as observation, participation, talking to students, alternative assignments like projects.
    • Review test “through the eyes of an ELL”:  look for difficult language and cultural bias; provide support such as word banks.
    • Read tests to beginning ELLs.
    • Allow more time for ELLs or give the test in sections.
    Taken from:  Enhancing English Language Learning in Elementary Classrooms


    Test Modifications When Permitted:

    ·         Test key concepts or main ideas.

    ·         Provide basic vocabulary ahead of time so it can be studied

    ·         Make a simplified language version of the test

    ·         Simplify instruction

    ·         Reduce number of test items

    ·         Provide word banks or use of bilingual dictionary

    ·         Add visual support

    ·         Give students extra time to complete tasks

    ·         Give students objective tests:  matching, multiple choice, etc.

    ·         Avoid negatives “all of the above” and “none of the above”

    ·         Make all or part of the exam oral


    Informal Assessment Techniques for Young Students or Beginning English Language Learners

    ·         Use pictures to assess vocabulary

    ·         Have students draw the concept

    ·         Ask students to point to the correct answer

    ·         Ask the student to paraphrase concepts

    ·         Allow students to explain orally

    ·         Allow oral reports instead of written ones

    ·         Have students develop a drama or role play

    ·         Allow students to record concepts on a graphic organizer or in a list instead of in an essay

    ·         Provide a word bank for beginning ELLs

    ·         Have students create a poster or display to demonstrate their understanding

    ·         Use a project for assessment

    ·         Use a pair and group reports

    ·      Maintain Reading Journals or Logs.  At intervals, record three books at the student’s reading level and attach a photocopy of a page from each book.

    ·      Allow the use of a bilingual or picture dictionary

    Taken from:  Enhancing English Language Learning in Elementary Classrooms



    Of Note:  Placement with Same-age Peers

    ELL students should be placed in standard curriculum classrooms or courses with their same-age peers.  The following exceptions may apply:

    ·      Profound lack of native language schooling and native language proficiency may warrant a lower grade or level placement.

    ·      If a lower placement is necessary, it should not be more than one year below the same-age English peer.

    ·      If there is an existing IEP.




    The required statewide exit criteria replaces previous state guidance and is in compliance with Federal NCLB regulations. (2006/2007)


    Exit Criteria for Pennsylvania’s English Language Instructional Programs for English Language Learners per PDE

    The exit criteria provided below for English Language Learners (ELLs) represent valid and reliable evidence of a student’s English language proficiency to exit from the English language instructional program. Every LEA (Local Education Authority)  must include the following exit criteria in the LEA Program Plan for ELLs.


    In order to meet the required State exit criteria for Pennsylvania’s English language instructional programs for ELLs, LEAs must use both of the required exit criteria listed below. In addition, LEA’s must ensure that students, meet one of the two additional exit criteria provided below to exit from the English language instructional program: 


     Required Exit Criteria:

     1.    Minimum score of BASIC on the annual Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA).


    • For students transferring from other states, out-of-state academic achievement assessment results may be considered when the academic proficiency level is comparable to BASIC on the PSSA.
    • For students who are in a grade that is not assessed with the PSSA, LEAs must use each of the remaining criteria listed below to exit students.

    2.    Minimum score of  proficient on all Keystone subject area tests at the secondary level as required by the PA Dept. of Education

    3.    A composite proficiency score of >5.0 on a Tier C WIDA ACCESS for ELLs® assessment (see Items A and B below for cutoff score flexibility)

    A.    Following the scoring criteria in the table below, the W-APT™ may be administered between April and June to students who scored between 4.5 and 4.9  for program exit on the annual administration of the ACCESS for ELLs® in order to demonstrate sufficient progress to justify exit.

    NOTE: The W-APT™ may ONLY be administered to a student once in any school year.

    Grade Level

    ACCESS Score

    Required W-APT Scores*


    4.6-4.9       Cutoff scores flexibility not available for Kindergarten



    5.0 in each domain



    5.0 in each domain



    5.0 in each domain

    * A student must score 5.0 in each domain (listening, speaking, reading and writing). A composite proficiency score will not be used. 

     B.    A score of PROFICIENT on the reading PSSA can be used along with all other required criteria outlined in this policy to justify exit for students who achieve a composite proficiency score of 4.5 to 4.9 on the annual administration of the ACCESS for ELLs®. In this case, W-APT™ scores are not necessary to demonstrate progress from the time of ACCESS for ELLs® administration to the end of the school year.

    Additional Exit Criteria:

     1.    Final grades of  C or better in core subject areas (Mathematics, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies).

     2.    Scores on district-wide assessments that are comparable to the BASIC performance level on the PSSA. This is for students            in Kindergarten, First and Second grades.

    Composite Proficiency Scores

    ACCESS for ELLs® proficiency scores, as presented on the teacher report, consist of a whole number followed by a decimal.  The whole number indicates the student's proficiency level (1.0 = Entering, 5.0 = Bridging).  The decimal, ranging from 1-9, represents the progress within the proficiency level that the student achieved.  For example, 4.0 is the lowest score in the Expanding proficiency level, while 4.9 is the highest score before a student progresses into the Bridging proficiency level.


    ACCESS for ELLs® Tiers and scoring caps


    The ACCESS for ELLs® assessment is broken into 3 tiers (A, B, or C) at each grade level cluster.  Scores for the Tier A assessment are capped at 4.0.  Scores for the Tier B assessment are capped at 5.0.  The Tier C assessment is the only assessment on which a student can achieve a score from 1.0 to 6.0 in all domains.  This applies only to the ACCESS for ELLs® assessment, the Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs® is not tiered.


    ACCESS for ELLs® Tier Requirement for Exit


    Only scores above 5.0 on a Tier C ACCESS for ELLs® assessment will be acceptable for exit.


    An Alternate ACCESS for ELL’s assessment is available for students with severe academic disabilities. It is administered if the student qualifies to take the PASA test in lieu of the PSSA. 





    The ELL teacher notifies parents by letter when their child enters the ELL program. Parents are then invited to attend an ELL open house which is held in the fall of each school year. A list of individual professionals and agencies that provide services to ELL students and their families is distributed to parents and is updated regularly. Also, information on English courses or aid to families whose first language is not English is available to parents upon request.


    ELL teachers schedule parent conferences as needed. Phone and e-mail contacts can be made in lieu of conferences. Some parents are also notified of progress via school email. When the student exits the program, the dates and status are logged into the district ELL database and the parents are notified.


    Translation services are provided as needed by individual schools.





    The Council Rock ELL program has instituted several changes in the past several years and has expanded the program by adding a 4-week, 4 hour per-day, five day summer instructional program with Title III funds. This program is held at the Maureen M. Welch Elementary School and serves grades K-7. An additional K-12 summer program will be held for immigrant students (under 1 year in this county) in the summer of 2011.


    There are now three full-time certified ELL staff members and three part-time certified ELL staff members. These positions are paid through district funds. Three part-time aides have also joined the staff.


    The ELL database (PIMS) is completed and is used to log active and monitored students, their progress testing data, and helps in generating statistical information for the district and state reporting. Annual WIDA ACCESS test results are recorded in the E-school program.


    The annual fall parent open house has become a regular part of the ELL school calendar. Contact with students and parents continue to increase due to the addition of ELL teachers and their expertise and knowledge in working with this diverse population. An ELL handbook with information and suggestions is available to teachers in every school. ELL workshops for classroom teachers are ongoing and have now expanded to cover the secondary school staff.


    The Council Rock School District adheres to current PDE and USDE guidelines and regulations:  Click here or here



    PDE is required by Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) to establish annual measurable achievement objectives (AMAOs) for the English language acquisition and academic achievement of limited English proficient (LEP) students. When annual status of making AMAO is received from PDE, the Council Rock School District will notify ELL parents of AMAO status within two weeks of PDE notification and notify the Council Rock Board of Education.


    Monitored students will be tracked for two years following exit from the program through staff/parent consultations and the PDE required Post-Exit ELL Monitoring Forms (Elementary / Secondary).


    Staff development that addresses the English Language Learner, cultural literacy, and cross-content literacy is available throughout the year to all administrative, professional, and support staff. A professional resource library is maintained in the Federal Programs Office.


    The Council Rock School District maintains District Policy 138 – Limited English Proficiency Program – Revised/Board Approved 11.21.2013





          Pull-Out Program


                   Active students are seen one to several times per week for instructional support

                   by a certified ELL teacher. Students needing additional assistance and

                   reinforcement may also be seen by an ELL teacher aide. Instructional sessions

                   may be on a one-to-one basis but, most often occur in small groups. Sessions

                   vary in length depending on the needs of the students.



          Monitored Students


                  Students meeting the exit criteria are placed on a monitored list for two years.

                  Progress is then tracked. Classroom teachers complete a quarterly progress

                  report on their students(s). Report card grades and standardized tests scores are

                  also tracked. Monitored students may be reactivated if the need arises because

                  they are having difficulty meeting classroom expectations.




    Grade Level


    Seen by ELL Teacher (Predominantly a pull-out program)

    K and 1

    §  Support occurs within the classroom setting by regular education  teacher

    §  Support based on

    collaboration w/ELL teacher

    §  30-45 minutes per session

    §  one-to-one or small group sessions

    2 and 3

    §  Support occurs within the classroom setting by regular education teacher

    §  Support based on collaboration w/ ELL teacher

    §  45-60 minutes per session

    §  one-to-one or small group sessions

    4, 5 and 6

    §  Support occurs within the classroom setting by regular education teacher

    §  Support based on collaboration w/ ELL teacher

    §  45-60 minutes per session

    §  one-to-one or small group sessions

    7,8,9,10,11 and 12

    §  Support occurs within the classroom setting by regular education teacher

    §  Support based on collaboration w/ ELL teacher

    Students are seen during class periods and may attend several periods in a day for approximately 60 minutes per session



    INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR ENTRANCE                               

    Home Language Survey

    Student Data Form

    Teacher Recommendation Form (if referred by classroom teacher)

    Screening test (W-APT)



    Students are screened before entering the program. Progress is informally assessed each quarter. A formal state-wide assessment is administered annually to measure growth in language acquisition and language arts skills. Students participate in regular reading assessments given by the classroom teacher.


           Assessments Administered by ELL teachers:

    -  W-APT

    -  WIDA – Access Test

    -  Informal Writing Sample

    -  Botel Reading Milestones Test (optional test given to assess reading level)

    - Woodcock Language Proficiency Battery (for students needing more in-depth

                        language assessment)   




    Progress reports are written and distributed to parents for each active student.  All test scores are reported on a student tracking sheet and district database and are recorded as tests are administered. These scores track the progress of the student so that appropriate recommendations can be made.


    Additional questions may be directed to or information obtained from: 

    Susan K. Elliott, Ed. D.
    Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning
    Council Rock School District
    30 North Chancellor Street
    Newtown, PA 18940