Our Legal Responsibilities to English Language Learners

Making sure that ELLs receive equitable access to curriculum, instruction, resources and opportunities is not only the right thing to do, it is actually required by law. There have been numerous significant Supreme Court Cases as well as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA – which replaced NCLB) that mandates the legal responsibilities of schools in regards to the rights of ELLs. I am sharing some videos with a summary of these landmark cases and laws.

Lau v. Nichols – Schools must provide ELLs with a program for teaching them English.

Castenada v. Pickard – ELL programs must adopt a sound approach to teaching ELL students, implement the chosen approach and monitor the progress of ELLs.

Plyler v. Doe – All students have the right to attend public schools near where they live in the United States, even if they are undocumented because all public schools receive federal funding. All students are protected under Articles V and XIV of the US Constitution, regardless of their immigration status.



Serving English Learners: Laws, Policies, and Regulations

“As educators serving this diverse population, we need to know the laws, policies, and regulations governing the education of English learners so that we understand what we are required to do. We also need to be able to explain these requirements to our students, their parents, our colleagues (both teachers and administrators), and the community in ways that are meaningful and accessible.” Source: Serving English Learners: Laws, Policies, and Regulations

Source: Serving English Learners

Engaging ELL Families

I am reblogging this from Mollie. 🙂 Thanks, Mollie!! Can’t wait to share this with my school!

This is a great resource for Administration and other ELL leaders in the school. This document by ColorinColorado provides ways for leaders to connect with ELL families, communicating important information, eliciting parent participation, encouraging parents to take leadership roles, community partnerships, and planning this all out. (mcreechsite.wordpress.com)

Engaging ELL Families PDF – Colorin Colorado

It takes a village…

It Takes A Village To Raise A Child

It is no surprise that the demographics of the United States have become increasingly diverse (see my pages on culture for more specific statistics.) Many people are often surprised to find out that it’s not just urban areas like Chicago, LA, Miami, New York and border states that are changing. This NPR article Helping Immigrant Students Catch Up Fast – It Takes a Whole Schoolby Sophia Alvarez Boyd shows an example in Maryland where at Langley Park, “87 percent of students are Spanish-speaking. Out of 176 students, 24 countries are represented and 15 languages are spoken at home, not including English.” Teachers and students are faced with problems that are “two-fold. Not only are they dealing with trauma, but they also belong to one of the most marginalized student populations.”

Some people may see articles like this and focus on the negatives like “How can teachers meet the needs of so many diverse students?” “How can teachers help students overcome trauma, learn English and content and be successful in their new countries? There are too many barriers!” This article has a more positive mood however, because it highlights that every teacher at the school is a language teacher (although it has its challenges!) and that community partnerships are critical in helping students.

ELL Leadership, Advocacy & Collaboration – Middle School Level

As part of my coursework at Georgetown College under Dr. Broady for EDU585, I researched a middle school in central Kentucky and collaborated with teachers to make recommendations for their ELL program. As part of my research, I analyzed the school report card, Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP), school website, conducted teacher interviews and gave an anonymous survey to get a better idea of the climate and needs of the school. This video shows how I collaborated with the teachers and provided their SBDM council with recommendations for increasing parental involvement, providing teachers with professional development in SIOP (sheltered instruction – an approach to teaching language through content instruction) and promoting a more culturally responsive environment. This class is part of the coursework toward the ESL endorsement at Georgetown.


EDU585 ESL Leadership & Advocacy Video – Tolson

Responsibilities and Duties of an ESL Teacher

ELL Teachers wear many hats besides their teacher hats. We are advocates for our students and their families. We are often interpreters, actors, cultural representatives, researchers and many, many other roles to meet the needs of our culturally and linguistically diverse families. This post explains the responsibilities and duties of ELL teachers.

Source: Responsibilities and Duties of an ESL Teacher

Resource for Supporting Immigrant ELLs for Teachers and School Administrators

immigration wordle.jpg

Learning a new language is an incredible opportunity that many people never have. Learning a new language while acclimating to a new culture and country has many challenges. Being a language learners and immigrant in the United States is incredibly difficult, especially during the current political climate. This article at Colorin Colorado (2017) Serving and Supporting Immigrant Students: Information for Schools, includes many articles, videos and tips for schools to make this process easier. Not only are there practical suggestions for teachers and administrators, but also legal considerations as well.