2016-2017 ELE Handbook

Holbrook John F. Kennedy School

Holbrook Public Schools

ELE Handbook


main picture




Holbrook Public Schools

245 South Franklin Street
Holbrook, MA 02343


Dear Parents/Guardians:

This handbook is designed as an overview of the program and services offered through the English Learner Education program (ELE).   We hope you find this document to be helpful and informative.

  • Mission Statement
  • Goal of ELE program
  • Program Components: ESL and SEI
  • Identification of ELs
  • Annual Assessment
  • Communication
  • Parental Involvement
  • Exit Criteria
  • ESL Staff

We believe that parent-teacher relationships are necessary for maximum school success.  We welcome your participation and input at any time as we continually seek to meet the needs of our students.  We look forward to working together to create a positive and productive school year.  Please check out the district website under Parent Resources for additional ELE Program information and important announcements http://www.holbrook.k12.ma.us/Content2/28.





Stefanie DeRosa                       Andrew Flanagan, Susan Lima, Patricia Walker       

ELE Coordinator                                                     ESL Teachers

Mission Statement:

It is the mission of the English Learner Education (ELE) program to provide its students with the knowledge, skills and confidence to be both communicatively and academically successful in English.  This will be accompanied by providing a program that values the native language and culture of each EL student.  The ELE program will provide students with the content knowledge and necessary background knowledge to meaningfully participate in curricula, and equip students with English language skills that are necessary for full participation in their education and in their community. 

Goal of ELE program:

The goal of the English Learner Education (ELE) program is to help students advance their English language development and to promote academic achievementThis can be done most effectively by meeting the following objectives:

  • To nurture self-pride and self-identity in each student’s linguistic and cultural heritage.
  • To develop proficiency in the English language.
  • To reach a level of proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening as outlined in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and WIDA Standards
  • To reach a level of proficiency in all content areas.
  • To provide curricular and extra-curricular opportunities for ELs in a similar fashion to their non-ELL students.


Program Components: ESL and SEI

What is ESL?

ESL stands for English as a Second Language.  ESL instruction consists of different levels of English language instruction based on each student’s current proficiency level. ESL instruction provides systematic, explicit, and direct instruction in all parts of English: phonics, phonemic awareness, morphology, lexicon, grammar and syntax, and prepares students for general education by focusing on academic language.

The ESL department is responsible for providing English language instruction to EL students.  The ESL teachers do not need to know other languages or the native language of their students to teach ESL. ESL classes are part of the programs and curricula offered to students who do not understand, speak or write English well enough to participate effectively with their native English-speaking peers.

All students enrolled in the ELE program will receive instruction in the same content objectives in accordance with the Massachusetts Common Core curricula. Additionally, the instruction of EL students will be based on the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) English language development standards.  ELs will receive ESL instruction and language support consistent with their needs.

What is SEI?

Students with limited command of English require both ESL instruction and sheltered instruction.  Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) is carried out entirely in English per MCL 71 A.  Sheltered instruction is content area (i.e. math, science, social studies) teaching which includes language learning objectives that help ELs practice the language of the content area.   Sheltered instruction incorporates the following key components:

  • language objectives to accompany each content objective
  • vocabulary instruction
  • building students’ background knowledge
  • integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing about the content concepts
  • practice and application

Initial Identification of ELs:

A Home Language Survey will be given to all students enrolled in the district.  If the survey indicates that the parent or child has a home/first language other than English, then the school secretary will contact the ESL teacher to arrange to have the child’s English language proficiency assessed.  The initial assessment that will be given to all students is the WIDA-ACCESS for ELLs Placement Test (W-APT).  This test examines the child’s English language proficiency in four areas: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

If a newly enrolled student transferred from another district within Massachusetts or from another WIDA state, it is possible that he or she participated in the annual language proficiency assessment (ACCESS for ELLs). If so, and if the district is able to obtain ACCESS results of the test that was administered within the last calendar year, instead of retesting the student, district staff can use ACCESS for ELLs® results in the student’s records to determine his or her English language proficiency.

Depending on the language screening results, the child may be enrolled in the ELE program.  Each parent receives an ELE Parent Notification letter which notifies the parents of the language screening test results and outlines a child’s eligibility in the English Learner Education program. There are 5 levels of English language instruction:  entering, emerging, developing, expanding and bridging.  The child will be placed in the appropriate level of instruction and he/she will receive a special instructional program designed to help improve English proficiency.  These services will be provided in a separate setting.

Parents may notify the district of their wish to have their child “opt-out” of the program.  The district will place the child in an English language general education classroom and document the parent’s notice in the student’s file. The district will continue to monitor the educational progress of the child to ensure that the student has an equal opportunity to have his or her English language and academic needs met. 

The district will encourage parents to allow their child to participate in the ELE program for a limited time before they make a final determination to “opt-out” of the program.   

Annual Assessment:

State and Federal laws require annual assessment and reporting of ELs progress in learning subject matter content and language.  ACCESS for ELs is the state’s English language proficiency assessment.  This assessment will identify an ELs performance in speaking, listening, reading and writing, and classify a child’s English language proficiency level as a level 1.0-6.0.  The ESL teachers and ELE coordinator will review annual ACCESS for EL’s results when making placement or classification decisions for ELs.

All ELs in grades 3-12 are tested annually with the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) at the appropriate grade level.  ELs, like their native-English speaking counterparts, participate in all portions of the MCAS tests for their appropriate grade level, with one exception: ELs in their first year of schooling in the United States do not have to participate in the MCAS ELA portion of the testing (if given at their grade level). Instead, for the first year of participation in U.S. schools, the ACCESS will stand in for the MCAS ELA.  After their first year of schooling in the U.S. all ELs are held to the same expectation for MCAS participation as their native-English speaking peers.


In order to facilitate the partnership between home and school, ESL staff and classroom teachers will be available during regularly-scheduled parent teacher conferences (November and April) to meet individually with parents of children in the program to review student progress. 

Screening language test results (W-APT) and ACCESS test results will be sent to parents.  ELE progress reports will be sent home with report cards for each marking term (four terms; November, January, April and June).  Informational parent evenings and special ELE events will also take place during the school year.  Watch for these important dates on the school calendar and district website.  Please contact the ESL staff if you have any questions or concerns throughout the school year.

Parental Involvement:

If you would like to work with your child at home, please start by helping him or her with the regular classroom homework.  Reading aloud is another way you can help your child.  Reading in both the home language as well as English will help with his/her ability to learn English. If you are not comfortable reading in English, you can borrow audio tapes and books from the local library.  To develop your child’s vocabulary, do activities together.  Have them tell you what the activity is or how they completed the activity.  Encourage them to use as many words as possible.  Children learn language in natural settings and in a context when they want to communicate with other children.  Therefore, arranging play dates, encouraging them to join sports teams or clubs to learn English is beneficial.

Exit Criteria:

There is a specific set of criteria used to determine if an EL student is still limited English proficient.  The set of criteria is reviewed by the ELE Coordinator, ESL Staff, SEI content area teacher and the principal. 

The review basically involves the child’s performance in the four areas: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.  In addition, the child’s classroom performance and test results are included in the review.  Children that have exited the program will continue to be monitored for two years, and may return at a later date if necessary.

ESL Staff:

Stefanie DeRosa, ELE Coordinator, sderosa@holbrook.k12.ma.us , 781-815-1815

Andrew Flanagan, ESL Teacher, aflanagan@holbrook.k12.ma.us, 781-767-4616

Susan Lima, ESL Teacher, slima@holbrook.k12.ma.us, 781-767-0211

Patricia Walker, ESL Teacher, pwalker@holbrook.k12.ma.us, 781-767-4600