Bilingual and ESL Education
The Board of Education will provide programs of bilingual education, English as a second language (ESL), and English language services for English language learners (ELLs) as required by law and rules of the State Board of Education. ELLs are those students whose native language is other than English and who have varying degrees of English language proficiency in any one of the domains of speaking, reading, writing, or listening and is synonymous with limited English speaking ability pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18:35-15 to 26.
Identification of ELLs
The Board will conduct a screening process to determine the native language of each ELL at the time of enrollment in the school district. A census shall be maintained of all identified students whose native language is other than English. The English language proficiency of each student whose native language is not English shall be determined by a screening process that includes the administration of a New Jersey Department of Education-approved English language proficiency test, an assessment of the student's level of reading in English, a review of the student's previous academic performance including their performance on standardized tests in English, and a review of the input of teaching staff members responsible for the educational program for ELLs.
The district shall provide the following programs:
1. An English language services program to improve the English language proficiency of ELLs whenever there are at least one, but fewer than ten ELLs enrolled in the school district. English language services shall be provided in addition to the regular school program;
2. An English language services program to improve the English language proficiency of ELLs whenever there are at least one, but fewer than ten ELLs enrolled in the school district. English language services shall be provided in addition to the regular school program;
3. A bilingual education program whenever there are twenty or more ELLs in any one-language classification enrolled in the school district pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:35-18. Where the age range, grade span, and/or geographical location of eligible students makes a full-time bilingual program impractical, the Board may annually offer an instructional program alternative, provided a waiver for the alternative program has been requested and approval has been granted by the Department of Education. The Board may establish a program in bilingual education for any language classification with fewer than twenty students.
All teachers in these programs shall be appropriately certified in accordance with the requirements as outlined in N.J.A.C. 6A:15-1.9. Every student participating in a bilingual, ESL, or English language services program shall be entitled to continue such participation for a period of three years pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:35-19.
Bilingual, English as a Second Language, and English Language Services Program Enrollment, Assessment, Exit, and Re-entry
Students enrolled in a bilingual, ESL, or English language services program shall be assessed annually using a New Jersey Department of Education-approved English language proficiency test to determine their progress in achieving English language proficiency goals and readiness for exiting the program. ELLs enrolled in a bilingual, ESL, or English language services program shall be placed in a monolingual English program when they have demonstrated readiness to function successfully in the English-only program. The process to determine the readiness or inability of the individual student to function successfully in the English-only program shall be initiated by the student’s level of English proficiency as measured by a New Jersey Department of Education-established standard on an English language proficiency test. The readiness of the student shall be further assessed on the basis of multiple indicators that shall include, at a minimum: classroom performance; the student’s reading level in English; the judgment of the teaching staff member or members responsible for the educational program of the student; and performance on achievement tests in English.
In accordance with provisions of N.J.S.A. 18A:35-22.1, a parent may remove a student who is enrolled in a bilingual education program at any time; except that during the first three years of a student’s participation in a bilingual education program, the parent may only remove the student at the end of each school year. If during the first three years of a student’s participation in a bilingual education program, a parent wishes to remove the student prior to the end of each school year, the removal must be approved by the Executive County Superintendent of Schools. The parent may appeal the Executive County Superintendent’s decision to the Commissioner of Education.
Newly exited students who are not progressing in the mainstream English program may be considered for re-entry to bilingual and ESL programs in accordance with the provisions of N.J.A.C. 6A:15-1.10(e)1 through (e)5.
When the review process for exiting a student from a bilingual, ESL, or English language services program has been completed, the student's parent shall be informed by mail of the placement determination. A parent or teaching staff member who disagrees with the proposed placement may appeal the decision in writing to the Superintendent of Schools or designee, who will provide a written explanation for the decision within seven working days. The complainant may appeal this decision in writing to the Board within seven calendar days of receiving the Superintendent’s or designee’s written explanation of the decision. The Board will review the appeal and respond in writing to the parent within forty-five calendar days of the Board’s receipt of the parent’s written appeal to the Board. A complainant not satisfied with the Board's determination of the appeal may appeal to the Commissioner of Education.
The parents of ELLs will be notified in accordance with the provisions of N.J.A.C. 6A:15-1.13 that their child has been identified as eligible for enrollment in a bilingual, ESL, or English language services program. Notice shall be in writing and in the language in which the parent(s) possesses a primary speaking ability, and in English. The notice must also include a statement that the parents have the option of declining their child’s enrollment in a bilingual program, and shall be given an opportunity to do so if they choose.
The district will notify the parents of ELLs by mail within thirty days of the child’s identification.
Parents shall receive progress reports of students enrolled in bilingual, ESL, or English language services programs in the same manner and frequency as progress reports are sent to parents of other students enrolled in the district.
The Superintendent or designee will provide for the maximum practical involvement of parent(s) of ELLs in the development and review of program objectives and dissemination of information to and from the district Boards of Education and communities served by the bilingual, ESL, or English language services education programs. A school district that implements a bilingual education program shall establish a parent advisory committee on bilingual education of which the majority membership will be parents of ELLs.
ELLs will qualify for graduation from high school in accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A:8-5.1(a) and Policy 5460.
The Superintendent shall prepare and submit a plan for a bilingual, ESL, or English language services program every three years to the Board and the New Jersey Department of Education for approval in accordance with the provisions of N.J.A.C. 6A:15-1.6.
N.J.S.A. 18A:35-15 through 18A:35-25
N.J.A.C. 6A:15-1.1 et seq.
Adopted: 26 July 2005
Revised: 17 December 2009
Revised: 27 January 2011
Revised: 28 July 2016