English Language Learners (ELL) Program

  • Mission Statement:

    English Language Learners (ELL) will meet state standards and develop English language proficiency in an environment where language and cultural assets are recognized as valuable resources to learning. 

    fred.rundle@mercerislandschools.org Goal:

    To develop ELL student’s proficiency in English so he/she can participate more fully in the regular classroom setting.

    Translation and Interpretation Services:

    The Mercer Island School District provides limited English proficient parents with information in their own language so that they can make informed decisions about their children's education. This includes providing interpretation and translation services for vital meetings and communications. If you need assistance, please email ELL Coordinators Kristin Kim or Erin Wilson.

    Eligibility for Participation in the English Language Learner Program:

    1. Information from the Home Language Survey (HLS)  is used to determine if testing is necessary (applying to both foreign-born and U.S.-born). HLS in other languages.
    • What language did your child first learn to speak?
    • What language does your child use the most at home?
    2. English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) Screener* will be administered by the ELL staff either before starting school or within 10 days of attendance. This online test covers listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. 
    *ELPA21 Screener will be administered, starting in the 2017-18 school year. 
    • If the student did not exit the ELL program in another district within Washington State, he/she does not need to take this test.
    • If the student did not exit the ELL program in another state, he/she needs to take this test.
    • If the student exited the ELL Program in another state, he/she needs to take this test.
    3. Eligibility for the ELL Program
     Based on ELPA21 Screener general proficiency rating:
    • Emerging - eligible
    • Progressing - eligible
    • Proficient - not eligible
     Parents/guardians are notified soon after testing.

    4. Program Participation

    • Eligible K-5th students attend their neighborhood schools. They spend all or most of the day in their classrooms. They may receive pull-out or push-in support during the school day as needed.
    • Eligible 6th-12th students take only one period of ELL support class. They spend 5-6 periods in regular classes.

    5. All eligible students will take the English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) Summative Test each spring to measure their progress and to determine future eligibility.

    • Those students who score at proficient status on this test will exit the ELL Program at the end of the current school year and will no longer qualify for ELL services in the new school year.
    • Those students scoring at emerging or progressing status will continue receiving ELL services in the new school year.

    Benefits of ELL Program Participation:

    1. The ELL staff knows each student well. They act as the student’s advocate, monitoring progress and helping in communication with teachers to provide appropriate accommodations in-class assignments and tests.

    2. ELL students can receive additional accommodations during state testing (Smarter Balanced assessments or SBAC) such as text-to-text speech, selected word translation, and/or administration by ELL staff in a small group setting.  *Those students who have been in the U.S. schools for less than a year can opt out of taking English language arts section of the SBAC.

    3. Students in 6-12 grades have the Pass/No Grade option in more than one class.