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English Language Learners

English Language Learners

Union School District’s Master Plan for English Language Learners is a result of collaboration and commitment with and to all members of the school community. The plan ensures not just compliance with regulations for our English learners but also serves as a roadmap to provide equity and opportunity for all students. Our goal is to have students matriculate from the Union Elementary School District with the academic and social skills and experiences that equip them to succeed in the global environment of the 21st century. It is our responsibility to meet this need and prepare our students for the challenges they will face. 

The plan also focuses on aspects of professional development to assist teachers and staff to work effectively with a diverse student population. In USD, all certificated staff (teachers) are required to have an English Language Learner authorization or hold a CLAD (Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development) credential.

The district’s Master Plan for English Language Learners is based on state and federal laws, district board policies, research, pedagogy, and practice.

Common Core State Standards and English Language Learners: The new California English Language Development (ELD) Standards are designed and intended to be used in tandem with other academic content standards to support English Language (EL) students in mainstream academic content classrooms.

CCSS English Language Development Standards Chart

English Language Development

The goal of the English Language Development Program (ELD) in Union School District is to support English Learner (EL) students to rapidly develop grade-level English language proficiency by providing expert methodology, research based curriculum, and additional instructional time to practice these new skills. Research based instructional strategies help students develop the academic English skills needed to succeed in school. 

Program Delivery

In some situations, students may be placed in regular classrooms for the entire day, with the teachers providing extra support. Some English learners may receive support from the school’s English learner program instructional assistant(s) and/or additional support teachers. English Learners may also be grouped by their same level of English proficiency for part of the day in order to receive differentiated ELD instruction. All programs at every grade level include at least 30 minutes per day of level-appropriate English Language Development, as well as appropriate access to the core curriculum. The actual program of instruction a student receives is based on his/her English proficiency level.
Beginning and Early Intermediate level students are placed in a Structured English Immersion (SEI) Program, which is designed for students who have less than “reasonable fluency” in English. The focus is on:
  • basic vocabulary development
  • oral language skills
  • patterned reading/writing activities
  • phonemic awareness/basic phonics
  • foundational content area vocabulary, concepts, and skills
Some students at the lower range of the Intermediate level of English proficiency may also need to be part of an SEI program. These students will often receive extra instruction, in addition to what is offered in a regular classroom.
Intermediate, Early Advanced, and Advanced level students are placed in an English Language Mainstream (ELM) Program, which is designed for students who have “reasonable fluency” in English. The English learners in an ELM program are supported in meeting essential grade-level standards across all content areas, through a focus on:
  • academic language and vocabulary development, including content area reading and writing skills
  • continued support for oral language skills
  • incorporation of sheltered instruction (SDAIE) strategies (see section on sheltered/SDAIE instruction)
These students will generally receive all of their instruction through the regular classroom program with the regular teacher providing any necessary support. At any time, a parent may request that their child be moved from an SEI program to an ELM program with all services being provided through the regular classroom program.

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