ELL 101 - what you should know and what you should ask

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Detroit is home to a diverse group of people who come from various cultures and who speak many different languages. Schools in Detroit are particularly attuned to the needs of this diverse population and provide a variety of services, including translation of documents and Bilingual education opportunities for ELL (English Language Learner) students. Students who are designated as ELL receive a variety of services that benefit them as they move through their academic career.

Upon enrolling in a school, all parents must complete a home language survey. Students whose families indicate that a language other than English is spoken at home will be given the WIDA test to measure English language fluency. This test helps to distinguish how well a student understands English by measuring listening and reading comprehension. Based upon a student’s score, s/he may be eligible for ELL services and resources.  Students take the WIDA test in the fall and the spring to measure growth. Students who score above a certain level will be graduated out of the ELL program.

As a parent/guardian, you can talk to your student’s school to learn more about the resources that your child will be given through the ELL program. You can ask them what types of services will be provided, what accommodations students will receive (if any) for testing and how you can support their learning at home. It is helpful if you understand your child’s educational experiences so that you can help them succeed. If you require a translator when speaking with the school, you can request that of the school. 

DPSCD has an office of Bilingual Education and each charter school will have a person who helps to run their bilingual program, should you have any specific questions!