Who are our Multilingual learners (MLs)?

  • The asset-based term Multilingual Learner (MLs) is used to describe all students who come in contact with and/or interact in languages in addition to English on a regular basis--including English Learners (ELs), newcomers, students with interrupted formal schooling, long-term English Learners, English Learners with disabilities, gifted and talented English Learners, and students who speak varieties of English or indigenous languages (WIDA, 2020). Barnstable Public Schools (BPS) welcomes MLs from many linguistic and cultural backgrounds particularly Latinx students from South and Central America and the Caribbean Islands.

Initial Identification of ML students at BPS

BPS Language Proficiency Assessments

Initial Identification of MLs in Preschool

Initial Identification of MLs in Kindergarten 

  • Please Note: All kindergarten students tested between September and December who do not qualify for services will be monitored throughout their kindergarten year and will be reassessed with all four domains in September of their first grade year. 

Initial Identification of ELs in First Grade

Initial Identification of ELs in Grades 2-12

Direct Language Instruction

  • All ML students will receive direct, systematic, explicit, and sustained language instruction with qualified and licensed ESL educators. At BPS, our EL instruction may happen in a pull-out, push-in, or self-contained setting. Placement decisions will be made to meet the student’s linguistic and academic needs based on the student's English proficiency levels. BPS will attempt to the extent possible to follow these recommendations:

  • Please Note: Students in PreK and Kindergarten will receive direct language instruction through a push-in model only

Opting-Out of Direct Language Instruction

  • Parents/guardians of ML students who qualify for EL services can choose to opt-out of direct language instruction. As per state laws, “The decision to opt-out must be voluntary and informed, and not the product of district practices or influence, the result of inadequate or inaccurate information, or inadequate district resources.” Barnstable Public School staff cannot recommend opting out to families. The BPS district procedures for opting-out are below. 

    Initiating the Process

    Should a parent express the desire to opt their child out of the EL program in any situation or setting (voluntary and not influenced), the staff member who receives this request will:

    • Notify the EL Director of parent request
    • Inform the parent to expect some follow up from the EL Director within 5 school days

    Meeting with Parent

    The EL director, with an interpreter if needed, will:

    • Meet with the family to understand the basis of their opt-out request.
    • Share information to ensure that parents fully understand what it means to opt out of the program.  Services they are opting out of,
    • Possible push-in supports that students would have access to,
    • Required monitoring
    • Continued participation in the ACCESS test
    • Parent’s right to opt-out at any time AND that parents can opt back in at any time.
    • The need to revisit the opt-out decision annually
    • The parent is provided with the opt-out form (translated as needed) following the meeting.

    Finalizing Opt-Out

    Should the parent decide to move forward with the opt-out process:

    • The completed, signed form is needed to remove the student from ESL - the EL Director needs a copy of the form to initiate this process EL Director changes coding in Aspen and notifies the counselor to complete any necessary schedule  adjustments/roster changes
    • A copy of the form goes in the student’s cumulative file
    • Educators working with students will contribute progress, data, and information through Ellevation for ongoing monitoring
    • Collaboration between educators working with the opt-out student is highly recommended. 
      • For students who are dually identified and have opted out of ESL services, collaboration between EL and special education staff will be even more critical in the ongoing support of the student.

    Please Note: Opt-out students are still in the ELE program and will take the ACCESS test every year until they receive qualifying scores to exit the program. 

Exiting the English Program

  • Every year, ML students will participate in the ACCESS for ELs language assessment. The ACCESS measures students’ academic language proficiency from year to year. To be considered for reclassification, or to exit the program, students must receive:

    1. An overall score of 4.2 or above on ACCESS
    2. A composite literacy score of 3.9 or above on ACCESS

    The ML team will monitor all Former English Learners (FELs)  for four academic years, twice a year. Content teachers will receive a monitoring form to complete in the Ellevation platform. Data from observations, assessments, and participation will determine if students stay as FELs or if they need to return to the ELE program and receive direct language instruction.

Our Multilingual Programs

  • During the 2023-2024 school year, Our ML Learners will be placed in our Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) program which includes SCI and ESL instruction. 

  • Please Note: Our families have the right to:
    • Visit our programs
    • Discuss and request the implementation of other programs such as Dual Language Education (DLE) and Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE). 

Benchmarks for Making Progress Toward English Language Proficiency

  • The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) developed Benchmarks, or target ACCESS scores, for students to meet each year to show progress towards exiting the ML program. Second language acquisition is a very complex process-- it depends on many factors and it is different for each individual. Our ML students are not required to meet Benchmarks every year or to exit the program within a time frame, but BPS will monitor students’ benchmarks to ensure they are making adequate progress toward English proficiency.