District to operate on two-hour delay Thursday, March 16

The district will operate on a two-hour delay schedule Thursday, March 16. All students should report to school at 10 a.m. Breakfast will not be served.

School District Of The City Of York

English Language Learners (ELL)

Program Philosophy

earth11The philosophy of the English Language Learners Program of the School District of the City of York is based on the following principles:

  1. Language acquisition takes time: approximately one to two years for conversation skills, five to seven years for academic skills comparable to English speakers, and seven to 10 years for those that began in U.S. schools in kindergarten.
  2. Language proficiency is acquired through active, functional and meaningful participation, not by learning rules about the English language.
  3. Language is acquired in an atmosphere of trust, acceptance, high expectations and support.
  4. Acquisition must be built on the student’s previous experiences and knowledge.
  5. The skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are interdependent and reinforce each other in language acquisition.
  6. Teachers, students and parents working together in an environment of mutual respect will bring forth positive changes in the acquisition process.
  7. ELL planned instruction addresses the PDE language proficiency standards. ELL planned instruction is designed as a scaffold for entering, beginning, developing, expanding and bridging ELL students as they transition into the general curriculum (planned instruction). It is aligned with PA Common Core and WIDA standards.
  8. Communication with parents of ELL students is essential to engage them as partners in the education process.
  1. ELL teachers will work collaboratively with classroom teachers.
  2. All students will be provided with an equal opportunity and access to participate and be successful in both curricular and extra-curricular activities.

Deborah Hioutis

Deborah HioutisDeborah Hioutis moved into York County during her senior year of high school.  She previously lived in three different states (New York, Michigan and California) throughout her childhood before permanently moving to Pennsylvania.  After high school, she attended Penn State University, where she graduated with her degree.  She has worked in the School District of the City of York for 17 years. Deborah has worked in the Office of Special Programs 16 out of 17 years.  As a former English Learner (EL) student, she had experienced many of the language struggles that district EL students are going through.  She’s a strong advocate for EL students and their families by giving them the tools and support to become self-sufficient and advocates for themselves.

What is Title III

NCLB Title III, Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students, Part A provides supplemental funds to schools to improve the education of LEP and immigrant children and youth, by assisting the children to learn English and meet challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards. These funds may be used to supplement a wide array of educational services. The funds support activities that assist LEP students in developing English language proficiency in comprehension, listening, speaking, reading and writing, and in meeting the same challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards as all children are expected to meet. For example, the funds can be used for:

  • ELL/SPED PSSA Saturday School
  • ELL/Migrant Summer School
  • Teacher Professional Development
  • Supplemental Materials
  • Parent Involvement
  • Equitable Services to Non-Publics

Governing Policies and Access Requirements

Identification of ELL students

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) requires that school districts identify limited English proficient (LEP) students in order to provide appropriate language instructional programs for them. Pennsylvania has selected the Home Language Survey as the method for the identification.

Schools have a responsibility under federal law to serve students who are limited English proficient and need ELL or bilingual instruction in order to be successful in academic subjects. Given this responsibility, school districts have the right to ask for the information they need to identify these students. The HLS must be given to all students enrolled in the school district. The HLS is given one time and remains in the student’s permanent record file through the student’s graduation.

The HLS recommended by Pennsylvania is appropriate for all students as an initial identification tool. After completion of the HLS and identification of a student as a PHLOTE, additional questions that relate to language proficiency may be asked by the school district.

Based on the responses to the HLS, students will be assessed at their neighborhood K-8 building by an ELL pull-out teacher. New students who responded to the HLS in a language other than English must be referred to the ELL pull-out teacher for further review, analysis of background information and administering of the W-APT language proficiency assessment.

The ELL pull-out teacher sends out a parent notification letter of ELL services to the student’s parents. A copy of the parent notification letter must be maintained in the student’s ELL folder. Under Title I and Title III, parent notification of student assessment results and placement is required.

Testing requirements for ELL students

earth7Are ELL students required to take the PSSA?

In 2007, the U.S. Department of Education released guidance on participation of LEP students (ELLs) in state assessments. This flexibility allows ELL students in their first 12 months of enrollment in U.S. schools an option of taking the reading PSSA. A student’s enrollment in a school in Puerto Rico is not to be considered as enrollment in a U.S. school.

Those ELL students who fall into the first category (ELL and enrolled in a U.S. school after April 11, 2014), are considered to be in their first year in a U.S. school and are not required to take the PSSA ELA test. All ELL students are required to participate in the mathematics PSSA and the science PSSA, with accommodations as appropriate. All ELL students in grades K-12 are required to take the WIDA ACCESS for ELLs English Proficiency Test.

The mathematics PSSA scores of ELL students in their first year of enrollment in U.S. schools as defined above will not be used to determine performance (the percent proficient or higher) for federal accountability status. Their participation will be counted for federal accountability purposes.

Should first-year ELL students choose to participate in the ELA PSSA assessment, their performance will not be included but their participation will be counted for federal accountability purposes. Should they choose not to participate, their lack of participation will not count against the school or district. Students who are expected to exit ELL services in the current school year should be encouraged to take the ELA PSSA.

Are ELL students required to take the Keystone Exams?

Yes. Following the previously discussed exceptions as outlined, eligible ELLs will take the Keystone Exams for federal accountability purposes beginning in 2012-2013 and as a graduation requirement effective with the class of 2017. The same subject area participation guidelines outlined in the previous question for the ELA, mathematics and science PSSA tests are applied to the Keystone literature, biology and algebra I exams.

What accommodations are allowable for ELLs?

Three separate accommodations are allowed:

  1. Word-to word translation dictionaries, without definitions and without pictures for mathematics PSSA, Keystone algebra I and the science PSSA or Keystone biology only; not for any part of the ELA PSSA or Keystone literature exam.
  2. Qualified interpreters/sight translators for mathematics PSSA or Keystone algebra I and science PSSA or Keystone biology only; not for any part of the ELA PSSA test (except for the writing prompts of the ELA PSSA writing section) or Keystone literature exam.
  3. Spanish/English mathematics and science PSSA and Keystone algebra I and biology exams.

All of these accommodations are voluntary and not mandatory.

Relationship with Parents

The parents of English language learners play an important role in their child’s program and should be involved in all phases of the ELL program. Parents have the right to information about their roles, responsibilities and rights. Their participation in interviews, reporting on developmental and educational histories and the process of language acquisition is invaluable. Parents provide information that can form a framework for understanding the student and interpreting the data. Trust and respect are the cornerstones of any good relationship between parents and school professionals. Staff becoming familiar with traditions from other cultures helps to establish a sense of trust and cooperation between the school and home. 

Our Bilingual Outreach Workers Provide:

  • Information and referral for community services
  • Home visits
    Translation and interpretation
  • Parent workshops(English/Spanish)
  • Community presentations in Spanish
  • Assessment
  • Liaison between parent, teacher and school

Interpretation Services

Our Bilingual Outreach Workers work with students and their families assisting them to succeed in school, both academically and socially. Our Bilingual Outreach Workers provide translations, interpretation and parent workshops (English/Spanish) to help bridge the language barrier between parents, schools and teachers.

Items which may not be requested

For both enrollment and also for residency determinations, a school district may not request or require any of the following: a Social Security number; the reason for a child’s placement if not living with natural parents; a child’s or parent’s visa; agency records; or, except in limited circumstances, a court order or records relating to a dependency proceeding.

A child’s right to be admitted to school may not be conditioned on the child’s immigration status. A school may not inquire regarding the immigration status of a student as part of the admissions process. Plyler v. DOE, a U.S. Supreme Court decision, held that it is unconstitutional to deny free public education to children who are not legally admitted into the United States.

Most Frequently Asked Questions/Answers about Our EL program.

ELL stands for English Language Learner.  Pennsylvania is transitioning from No Child Left Behind to the (ESSA) Every Student Success Act.  The title has changed to EL English Learners (EL) – Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students.  Our EL program is Pre-K-12. The program facilitates English language acquisition through communication skills of comprehension through listening, speaking, reading, and writing; ensures an effective and meaningful participation in regular education; and facilitates the acculturation process in a complex society that is multicultural by exposing students to the customs, traditions, and expectations of their new environment. Students are taught by certified ELL teachers in language development in the four domains: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Our ELL students come from many different countries including: Angola, Bangladesh, Egypt, Haiti, Ghana, Nigeria, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico and Puerto Rico, to name a few.
Title III is a supplemental language instruction for limited English proficient and immigrant students.  Funds are used to support a wide array of educational services for limited English proficient and immigrant students and their families.
  • ELL/SPED PSSA Saturday School
  • ELL/Migrant Summer School
  • Teacher Professional Development
  • Supplemental Materials
  • Parent Involvement
  • Equitable Services to Non-Publics

School districts are required to continue to provide instructional and appropriate educational services to English learners until they have demonstrated valid and reliable evidence of a student’s English language proficiency to exit from an English language instructional program.
To meet the required state exit criteria for Pennsylvania English language instructional programs for ELLs, LEAs must ensure that students meet both required exit criteria listed below and meet one additional exit criteria listed below to exit from an English language instructional program.

Required Exit Criteria:

  • For Kindergarten students– overall composite proficiency level score of 5.0 on an ACCESS for ELLs Kindergarten assessment (accountability score).

For grades 1-12 – overall composite proficiency level score of 5.0 on Tier C ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 assessment.

  • Score of BASIC on the annual PSSA math or Algebra I Keystone AND PSSA ELA or Literature Keystone.

Additional Exit Criteria:

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

Scores on district-wide or local assessment that are comparable to the BASIC performance level on the Math PSSA or Algebra I Keystone AND PSSA ELA or Literature Keystone assessments.

Monitoring is required for two years after a student has exited an ESL/Bilingual program and appropriate records of student progress must be maintained.  20 U.S.C. §6841(a)(4).
ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is a secure large-scale English language proficiency assessment administered to Kindergarten through 12th grade students who have been identified as English language learners (ELLs). It is given annually in WIDA Consortium member states to monitor students’ progress in acquiring academic English.
In 2007 the USDE released guidance on participation of LEP students (ELLs) in state assessments. This flexibility allows ELLs students in their first 12 months of enrollment in U.S. schools an option of taking the Reading PSSA. A student’s enrollment in a school in Puerto Rico is not to be considered as enrollment in a U.S. school.

ELLs who fall into the first category are considered to be in their first year in a U.S. school and are not required to take the PSSA ELA test. All ELLs are required to participate in the Mathematics PSSA and the Science PSSA with accommodations as appropriate. All ELLs, K-12, are required to take the WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 English Proficiency Test.

The Mathematics PSSA scores of ELLs in their first year of enrollment in U.S. schools as defined above will not be used to determine performance (the percent proficient or higher) for federal accountability status. Their participation will be counted for federal accountability purposes.

Should first-year ELLs choose to participate in the ELA PSSA assessment, their performance will not be included but their participation will be counted for federal accountability purposes. Should they choose not to participate, their lack of participation will not count against the school or district. Students who are expected to exit ELL services in the current school year should be encouraged to take the ELA PSSA.

When students know how to read in Spanish they have content area knowledge in Spanish. Several skills can easily transfer from one language to the other. Research tells us that when your students are fully literate in Spanish, they will learn how to read in English more quickly and will transfer some of their literacy skills from Spanish to English.

ELLs who are not literate in Spanish take longer to learn to read in English. There are a number of factors that can help speed up their process of learning to read in English. These factors include how much time you spend on daily reading, the reading strategies you use to teach ELLs, how much reading is done at home, and how much help you receive from the ELs’ parents or guardians.

Parents who read in Spanish can be very helpful in the development of their children’s literacy skills. Their Spanish literacy becomes the foundation that will help your ELLs learn to read in English. Through Spanish reading, ELLs are developing their background knowledge and key vocabulary and literacy skills that will enable them to become excellent readers in English.

Office of Special Programs Staff

Special Programs Coordinator
Deborah Hioutis
hioutdeb@ycs.k12.pa.us
(717) 849-1422 or (717) 881-4290

Bilingual Outreach Worker
Gabriela De Hart
sanchgab@ycs.k12.pa.us
(717) 849-1397 or (717) 801-2852

Bilingual Outreach Worker
Sandra Rojas
rojassan@ycs.k12.pa.us
(717) 845-3571 ext. 4055 or (717) 309-6667

Bilingual Secretary
Awilda Falco
falcoluz@ycs.k12.pa.us
(717) 849-1422

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