We are writing to inform you that OSPI has found the district out of compliance regarding ELL student access to schools and ELL programs. Historically, our student assignment plans included ELL service schools. It was a district belief that ELL families could opt to attend an ELL service school within their assigned service area if their neighborhood school was not an ELL school. The state does not agree. In addition, during the state review it was discovered that enrollment services did not administer the placement assessment to over 1100 students who reported speaking another language other than English at home.
As a result of this finding, several big changes are in the works. Below are the actions the district is taking:
We are currently working out what this will look like, staffing required, timeline and other factors. We will share more as the new process is developed and approved. In the meantime, there is one immediate need: parent notification and student language placement testing.
- Eliminate the designated ELL school model
- Initiate ELL services in all schools (two models of service will be provided based on ELL enrollment at each school)
- Terminate the requirement that parent's must waive ELL services to attend a non-ELL service school (formerly only available at designated ELL schools) since all schools must now provide ELL services.
1,200 potential ELL students who were missed during the enrollment process must now take a language test to help the district identify what ELL services are needed to support those students in their schools. This testing (which can take between 30 minutes and two hours) must be completed by June. We will provide each school with testers and options for a Saturday testing date hosted by our ELL Department staff. Please expect a notice with next steps, options and a list of students requiring testing shortly.
We regret the timing of this testing, as we know it conflicts with SBAC testing and incoming ELL kindergarten testing of over 880 students. Thank you very much in advance for helping accommodate this need to assure we're providing the best access to all of our students.
The district is preparing letters home to families informing them of the upcoming changes as well as the need to conduct testing before June. Families of those needing testing will be informed directly.
As the details of the new model become clear, we will share more information. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to include email@example.com
Friday, April 24, 2015
Seattle Schools Found Out of Compliance on ELL Programs
I'll just print the letter that Veronica Gallardo, Director of ELL and International Programs, wrote to principals. It's fairly stunning. It upends the ELL program almost completely, adds thousands of more kids to be tested for ELL services and shows a district that either does not make sure it is compliance or does not understand what OSPI has said. Either way, not good.