English Learners (EL) Students
HCS will prioritize the scheduling of ESOL services for English Learners in order to maximize service minutes under the selected model of instruction. Based upon a student’s English proficiency level, he/she may need to be offered additional face-to-face instructional opportunities and virtual modeling/support based on the model of instruction. Schools should continue to schedule ESOL students with content teachers trained in sheltered instruction strategies regardless of the instructional model. Teachers will follow the student’s Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) to ensure that accommodations for English Learners are provided regardless of the instructional model. Communication with students’ families is key and when essential information is disseminated, the translation should be provided in the student’s home language.
South Carolina ESSA State Plan
The SCDE requires each LEA to have EL Accommodation Plans in place for all qualifying ELs. These plans are student specific and are in place to ensure support for the student at each grade level K–12, until they meet “fully English proficient” status based on the state criteria. In addition, the SCDE requires that LEAs monitor exit students for a period of four years to ensure support is maintained for those students who may still need assistance after exiting a formal ESOL program.
The SCDE also supports ELs by monitoring LEAs to ensure that the federal Office of Civil Rights (OCR) obligations are met for all ELs, which includes no retention of ELs based on language proficiency. All LEAs must have supporting evidence of EL retention to show that language was not a deciding factor 37 DRAFT HCS Re-Opening Plan in retention. In addition, students must be allowed to complete coursework to earn a high school diploma until their 21st birthday.
The Office of Federal and State Accountability Special Populations, Title III is responsible for the oversight of the language instruction of limited-English proficient (LEP) and immigrant students. This program engages in the following strategies to ensure successful language instruction:
- Administer grant programs that help children develop proficiency in English and achieve high content standards
- Recommend policies and promotes best practices for meeting the needs of ELs
- Strengthen collaboration and coordination among federal, state, and local programs serving ELs
- Monitor funded programs and provides technical assistance that addresses outcomes and accountability The SCDE requires that all districts administer a Home Language Survey (HLS) to parents/guardians of students in K–12 which asks, at a minimum, what the first language the child learned to speak was, what language is most often spoken in the home, which language the parent(s) would like to receive communication from the school in, and the birth country of the child. If the child’s first language is something other than English, the district must administer an initial language proficiency screening test within ten days.
- How are the unique needs of ELs being addressed/met during distance learning days?
The ESOL Department is focused on protecting the health, safety, and welfare of our students, their families, and our staff as we are confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic. Our department maintains close communications with school and district personnel in creating plans that will continue to support the needs of ELs through distance learning. The HCS ESOL Department works in collaboration with the United States Department of Education and the South Carolina Department of Education in order to demonstrate good faith efforts to meet student’s individual needs during this global pandemic.
The existing screening tool for ELs under federal requirements is an in-person tool. As a result, HCS employees should comply with existing DHEC regulations regarding physical distance and properly sanitize all technology used. Schools will continue to communicate with parents and family members in their home language. The SCDE is in the process of exploring virtual screening options through the WIDA Consortium. More information relating to the identification of potential ELs will be provided to HCS will collaborate with the SCDE to ensure that the proper procedures are followed to ensure that timely identification occurs.
- How has the ILAP been adapted for distance learning?
All ELs qualifying for direct ESOL services will also have an Individualized Language Acquisition Plan (ILAP). HCS will utilize the state’s uniform ILAP which has been adapted for distance learning.
The state of South Carolina created stakeholder groups that focused on two areas: Program Delivery Service Models and the Individualized Language Acquisition Plan (ILAP). The ILAP Stakeholder Committee condensed a list of 300+ accommodations into a more digestible list of accommodations and best practices to help support the needs of ELs in South Carolina. Given the current climate and recent school closures due to Covid-19, the committee also took distance-learning needs into account when drafting a uniform state model.
On June 16, 2020, the English Language Acquisition – Title III Program Manager sent a survey to District ESOL Coordinators asking that they review the ILAP Stakeholder Committee’s recommendations and offer any additional input into the development of next year’s ILAP. District’s will no longer have the ability to add/delete accommodations on the ILAP. If changes need to be made to the document, the SCDE will communicate those changes as appropriate to districts. Once the final draft is approved by the SCDE, it will be utilized by all districts in South Carolina for the 2020-21 school year.
- How are ESOL teachers being included in the planning and delivery of distance-learning instruction?
ESOL teachers served on summer curriculum teams where current curriculum documents/lesson plans were updated to provide additional distance learning supports. In addition to serving on ESOL teams, ESOL teachers also took part in the development of resources for core content areas. ESOL Supports During Distance Learning:
- ESOL teachers are co-teachers in the mainstream teachers’ classrooms and collaborate with the mainstream teachers on lessons.
- ESOL teachers provide support for students and content teachers with the curriculum.
- ESOL teachers provide ESOL instruction through virtual meeting platforms. Documents are translated into different languages.
- ESOL teachers are utilizing virtual meeting platforms to hold virtual classes to support instruction. These virtual platforms have closed-captioning with translation.
- ESOL teachers regularly participate in virtual meetings with ESOL Coaches and ESOL Coordinator. Resources for distance learning are shared during these meetings along with pertinent information.
- How are you ensuring that parents receive communications (written and oral) in a language they can access?
Federal law requires essential information to be translated into a language that parents can understand. Teachers and administrators are communicating with students and parents via phone calls, text, email, Google Meet, Google Voice, Remind App, WhatsApp, etc. to support families and students.
Essential information, at a minimum, should be provided in a district’s top five languages. The top five languages in Horry County include Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Mandarin, and Vietnamese. HCS uses a variety of translation and interpretation services. Additional information about HCS translation procedures can be accessed at this link.
- The U.S. Department of Education's Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA)
- USDE Tool Kits: Newcomers and English Learners
- Fact Sheet: Providing Services to English Learners During the COVID-19 Outbreak (May 18, 2020)
- South Carolina Remote Learning Resources
- South Carolina Services to Newly Enrolled English Learners during COVID-19 Pandemic
- South Carolina EL Identification during school closures
- Providing English Learners Equal Access to Curricular and Extracurricular Programs, EL ToolKit, Chapter 4.