Welcome to the East Lycoming School District’s ESL (English as a Second Language) page!

East Lycoming School District Program Plan


The mission of the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at the East Lycoming School District (ELSD) is to provide support and intensive instruction in English and American culture to Limited English Proficient (LEP) students which will enable them to become successful in the mainstream classroom, the school environment and the community at large.

Educational Theory and Approach

Any student of the ELSD who is potentially Limited English Proficient (LEP), that is, one who: 1) has a native language other than English; or 2) comes from a home where a language other than English is dominant; and/or 3) comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual’s level of English language proficiency may be eligible for ESL services as described below.  Prescribed instruction will take place according to the student’s individual level of English proficiency.  Educational practices will align with and support effective academic standards-based instruction used throughout the district in the mainstream classroom.  ESL instructional approaches will be based on sound educational theory for second language acquisition.

Plan of Action

  1. In the ESL class, English will be presented as the language of instruction in a language-intense setting.  Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) as well as Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) will be developed.  Students will receive quality instruction in:  Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing and Critical Thinking.
  2. ESL students will participate in the regular education content area classes to the level of their English proficiency. With the ESL teacher as a resource, the mainstream teachers will make adaptations and modifications.

Educational Goals

The success of the mission of the ESL program will be measured, in part, by the
following goals:

  1. Students will demonstrate annual growth of English proficiency as measured by the annual WIDA ACCESS for ELLs assessment.
  2. Students will demonstrate annual growth as measured by classroom performance, indicated on report cards, progress reports, and observations communicated between the classroom teacher and ESL teacher
  3. Students will demonstrate growth in standardized assessments such as PSSAs, etc.

Identification and Assessment of PHLOTES
(PHLOTE – Primary Home Language Other Than English)

Upon entrance to the ELSD, all students will receive a Home Language Survey (HLS) to be completed and signed by a parent or guardian at the time of registration (See Appendix B:  Home Language Survey).  The person responsible for registering students will distribute and collect the HLS during the enrollment process.  When a family who speaks a language other than English enrolls, a HLS in their native language or an interpreter will be utilized (see “Need for Translation Services” section below).

Based on the HLS, if an answer to any of the three questions is anything other than English, the aforementioned individual will forward a copy of the HLS to the ESL teacher(s) in the district.  The original HLS will be kept in the student’s permanent record (cumulative folder).  The ESL teacher will conduct further evaluation to determine if the student will be identified as an ELL (English Language Learner). This further evaluation will include a review of the HLS, parent input, and a review of student records (if available).  Parent input will include an explanation or description of the extent to which a language other than English is spoken in the home and/or by the student.  If further review determines that the student is potentially LEP (Limited English Proficient) as described on page 1, that is, one who: 1) has a native language other than English; or 2) comes from a home where a language other than English is dominant; and/or 3) comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual’s level of English language proficiency, the student will be identified as an ELL.  Parents or guardians of the student will then receive notification that their child will be administered an English language proficiency screening. (See Appendix C:  Notification of English Language Proficiency Testing).  The ESL teacher will use the W-APT (WIDA ACCESSS Placement Test) , to assess the student’s proficiency in speaking, understanding, reading and writing English.

Exemption from language proficiency assessment upon enrollment:

Students should meet two of the following three criteria to be exempted from a formal English language proficiency assessment:

  • Final grades of B or better in core subject areas (Mathematics, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies);
  • Scores on district-wide assessments that are comparable to the Basic performance level on the PSSA;
  • Scores of Basic in English Language Arts and Math on the PSSA.

Newly enrolling students completing the HLS with previous school records indicating that they meet two of the three criteria above may also be exempt from formal assessment for placement in an ESL program.  However, newly enrolling students without such records must be assessed for their English language proficiency.

The formal English language proficiency assessment results are the indicator for placement in an ESL program and can be used in combination with the criteria above to determine the best instructional placement for students.

Student records for children from other states or school systems can be considered as part of the criteria.

Parents’ Limited Right to Opt Out of ESL/Bilingual Programs

Section 4.4 (d)(3) of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education regulations, 22 Pa. Code §4.4(d)(3), requires school districts to adopt policies that permit parents to have their children excused from specific instruction only in the limited circumstance described below:

School districts (including charter schools), AVTSs and intermediate units shall adopt policies to assure that parents or guardians have the following:

The right to have their children excused from specific instruction which conflicts with their religious beliefs, upon receipt by the school district (including charter schools), AVTS or intermediate unit of a written request from the parents or guardians.

Consequently, a parent may not seek to have his or her child excused from The East Lycoming School District’s ESL program unless the instruction conflicts with the family’s religious belief.


Proficiency Level Identification:

According to the results of the WIDA ACCESS PLACEMENT TEST (W-APT), the student will be identified within the five levels of proficiency:  Bridging (5), Expanding (4), Developing (3), Beginning (2), or Entering (1).

If a grade 1-12 student achieves a composite proficiency score of 4.5 or lower on the W-APT or a kindergarten student achieves a listening and speaking score of 14 or lower on the W-APT, the student will be considered in need of an ESL program.  Additional information and assessment (i.e., reading/writing/speaking assessments, teacher observation, and/or anecdotal observations) will be used additionally to assist in determining level of placement in ESL program.  The ESL teacher will send home a Notification of Enrollment or Non-enrollment in the ESL program (See Appendix E: Notification of Enrollment in ESL Program and Appendix F:  Notification of Non-enrollment in ESL Program).

For any child identified as an ELL, the ESL teacher will administer English language proficiency tests and begin instruction within 30 days at the beginning of the school year.  For any child entering school after the first 30 days, the ESL teacher will administer English language proficiency tests and begin instruction within 14 days.

Documentation of the language assessment results and placement determination will be maintained in the student’s ESL file and the student’s cumulative file (permanent records).  Each year, documentation of the ESL services each student receives will be updated to ensure continuity of and access to this information.  Additionally, a list of all PHLOTE students and their placements will be disseminated to appropriate staff in each building.  The ESL teacher will maintain a list of ELLs on file (See Appendix G:  ELL/PHLOTE data sheet).

At the beginning of each school year, appropriate staff in each building will be informed of ELLs qualifying for ESL services.  This will be accomplished through several means which can include:  a written list of students, individual teacher contact and/or staff meetings.  This will be an on-going process throughout the school year.

Need For Translating Services:  At the first indication that a family is in need of translating in spoken and/or written communication, the ESL teacher will access an interpreter accordingly.  Any staff member who suspects a language barrier in communicating with a student and/or parent should contact the ESL teacher as soon as possible.

Instruction of ESL Students
and Participation in School-Sponsored Activities

All ESL students in the ELSD will receive daily ESL instruction, targeted to individual English proficiency levels.  Due to scheduling and individual building restraints, ESL instructional time in each building may be slightly different.  Projected basic instructional time is estimated at an average of 3 to 7 hours per week.  Additional ESL services will be based on students’ English proficiency levels.  For the purpose of instruction in ESL, students may be grouped according to language proficiency, when possible.

All ESL students in the ELSD will have access to the full curriculum (both required and elective courses) and all academic programs including specials, career education and technology. All services for ESL students will be provided in the least segregated manner.  Students in the ESL program will be integrated with the general education population whenever possible.

The district will require modifications and adaptations of instruction for all ESL students in the mainstream classrooms in order to make the English language load more comprehensible, while maintaining integrity of the content.  ESL students are expected to meet content standards.  Classroom teachers will modify and adapt instruction in the content areas. The ESL teacher will serve as a resource and support for content area teachers in making appropriate modifications and adaptations according to the English linguistic ability of the ESL student.  ESL students at ELSD will have the opportunity to participate in available tutoring services and/or have extended time to finish classroom assignments to include class work, homework, tests and quizzes.  ELLs will use the same grading system as all other students.

Elementary level (grades K-6) students will receive ESL instruction in reading and language arts with the ESL teacher.  Other subject areas will be with the regular classroom teacher (modified and adapted as necessary).  At the elementary level, ESL students will be placed in a mainstream homeroom.  ESL students will also eat lunch and participates in recess with their mainstream peers. ESL students will be included in all homeroom activities such as field trips and other special events.

Within the school day, ESL students at the junior and senior high school level (grades 7-12) will be assigned specific classes with the ESL teacher based on their language proficiency.  Remaining periods will be filled with regular content area courses (modified and adapted as needed) and electives with their mainstream peers.

In addition, ELSD will require that instructional materials for all ESL students are age and grade appropriate, sufficient in quality and quantity, and comparable in quality and quantity to those provided to non-ESL students.  Materials will be ordered for each building on a yearly basis, as needed.  Furthermore, the ESL programs will have access to technology and research comparable in quality and quantity to that provided to non-ESL students.  The facilities provided to ESL students will be comparable to those provided to non-ESL students.  Where space is limited, the district will explore options based on current resources.

All ESL students will have the opportunity to participate in all school-sponsored activities, clubs, after-school sports, band, chorus, etc., with the same guidelines as all other students in the district.  ESL students will have full access to college and career guidance, counseling and related services as described in the student handbook.


The ESLD will ensure that ESL teachers are properly trained in theory, methods and materials, assessment and cultural awareness pertaining to ESL instruction.  Likewise, content area teachers will be adequately trained in the delivery of their subject matter to ESL students, considering varying language proficiency levels.  The district will develop, implement and review, on an annual basis, a staffing plan designed to effectively carry out the ESL program goals.  The plan will include at least the following:

  1. Communication and staff development with content area teachers of ESL students regarding resources, materials and additional training opportunities for content area modification, effective teaching practices and cultural awareness as they become available.
  2. Communication with staff-at-large pertaining to ESL students in the district.
  3. Staff development of ESL teacher to include conferences, seminars and/or workshops as they become available.


Communication With Parents

At the beginning of each school year, all staff will receive a list of ELLs for whom translators/interpreters are needed.  When a staff member needs to contact a parent who does not speak English, the ESL teacher will assist in contacting a translator/interpreter, with sufficient notice, to assist in communicating with the parent.

The district will make every effort to inform language-minority parents of all school matters of which other parents are notified.  District translators will translate written notices, and interpreters will be provided for parent conferences as needed.  Additional building notices will be translated as required.  Every attempt will be made to ensure that communication will be carried out in the home language.

The district will maintain a list of all staff or community contacts who are able to act as translators or interpreters.

At the beginning of each school year, the district will hold a meeting for language-minority parents, conducted by the ESL teacher, for the purpose of introducing them to the ESL program, their rights and responsibilities, and other pertinent information.


Monitoring Need of Ongoing Instruction,
Reclassification and Exiting of ESL Students

The ESL teacher will monitor ESL students’ progress for purposes of guiding instruction and determining reclassification by using any or all of the following means:  student grades, teacher observation, counselor observation (if applicable), parent observation, informal assessments, progress assessment and standardized testing.

The East Lycoming School District will use the following state-wide exit criteria:

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

In order to meet the required State exit criteria for Pennsylvania’s English language instructional programs for ELLs, ESLD will use both of the required exit criteria listed below.  In addition, ELSD will ensure that students meet one of the 2 additional exit criteria provided below to exit from an English language instructional program:


Required Exit Criteria:

  1. 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 that are in a grade that is not assessed with the PSSA, LEA’s must use each of the remaining criteria listed below to exit students.
  1. Scores of 5.0 on a Tier C ACCESS for ELLs assessment (see Items A and B below for cutoff score flexibility)Following the scoring criteria in the table below, the W-APT may be administered between April and June to students who scored below the minimum cutoff for program exit on the January administration of the ACCESS 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*
    1-5             4.6-4.9             5.0 in each domain
    6-8             4.7-4.9             5.0 in each domain
    9-12            4.8-4.9             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.

  2. A score of PROFICIENT on the ELA 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 January administration of the ACCESS. In this case, W-APT scores are not necessary to demonstrate progress from the time of ACCESS 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.

The final exiting decision (with the above criteria met) will be made collaboratively with the ESL teacher, the mainstream teacher(s), an administrator and the student’s parents/guardians.  An ESL student will be able to exit the program at any time during the course of the year once the criteria are met.  Documentation of all exiting decisions and assessment results will be located in the student’s permanent record.


A student who has exited the ESL program will be monitored formally for at least two full school years from the date of exit.  The ESL teacher will be responsible for monitoring the ESL student.  Student monitoring will occur formally at the end of each marking period or quarter and informally throughout the school year.  Monitoring will consist of the following measures of student progress:  grades, test scores, student performance, teacher observation, and progress in meeting the PA Academic Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.  If monitoring reveals continued limited English proficiency, non-remediated academic deficits, or other indications that the student was exited too soon, the ESL teacher will meet with the mainstream classroom teacher, administrator(s) and/or other teachers to re-evaluate the student’s needs.  A plan of action will be formulated resulting in the student: a) remaining in the mainstream classroom with additional adaptations and modifications; b) receiving additional academic support services; or c) returning to the ESL program.  This information will be maintained in the permanent record.

Prior to entering the mainstream classroom, after exiting the ESL program, the ESL teacher will meet with the mainstream teacher to discuss the student’s prior academic history and to establish proper expectations for the student.  The ESL teacher will serve as a resource to the mainstream teacher on ways to adapt and modify material and instruction to accommodate the newly exited student.  The ESL teacher will communicate with the mainstream teacher as needed.

Program Evaluation

At the end of each school year, the district will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of its ESL program.  The formal evaluation will examine and make recommendations regarding the following:

  1.  Program effectiveness with respect to the identification, assessment process, exiting, monitoring, staffing, parental notifications, and adequacy of facilities and instructional materials;
  2. The rate of students’ progress towards full proficiency of English;
  3. Whether the students in the ESL program are keeping up with their peers in other curriculum areas.
  4. Whether the students in the ESL program are able to participate successfully in the school’s full curriculum, as determined by such measures as graduation rates, scholastic achievement, awards, honors, as well as in sports and other extracurricular activities;
  5. A comparison of the standardized test scores of exited students to the scores on non-LEP students;
  6. Whether students in the ESL program have access to all of the district’s programs, including vocational education and special education; and,
  7.  Whether students in the ESL program are being retained in grade or are dropping out at rates similar to those of their mainstream peers.

The ESL teacher will facilitate the review process.  A committee, including but not limited to the ESL teacher, administrators, and other district teachers, will be responsible for evaluating the program.  Where the program evaluation shows that the ESL program is not achieving its goals, the district will modify its program accordingly.  The district will implement the recommendations made as a result of its program evaluations, within a reasonable amount of time after the evaluation or document the reasons for not implementing the recommendations.

Special Education

The ELSD will not place any student in a special education program based on his/her limited English proficiency.  The guidelines and timeframes for special education are the same for both ESL and non-ESL students in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  The district will ensure that the identification for special education programs will not rely solely on measures of English language proficiency.

Additionally, the tests will be selected and administered so as not to be discriminatory on any cultural basis and in the student’s native language, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.  Tests to be used will be selected to ensure that they measure disability and need of special education, rather than measuring English language skills.

Special Opportunity Programs

ESL students will receive equal access to all district special opportunity programs.  These include, but are not limited to, Title 1, gifted, and vocational programs.  Furthermore, ESL students will have equal opportunity to participate in all extracurricular and nonacademic activities that are available to other students. The district will ensure that the selection and/or application process for special opportunity programs will not rely solely on measures of English


For questions concerning our ESL program, please e-mail: