Policy & Procedure Manual Updated

A. Intake Procedures

  1. Identification, Enrollment, and Placement of Language Minority Students
  2. English Learner Committee
  3. Parent Notification
  4. State Codes for ELs and Data Collection

B. Components of the Comprehensive English Learner Plan


Each LEA in Alabama must develop and implement a Comprehensive EL Plan, in accordance with Section 3116 of Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act of`2001, for serving students who are limited-English proficient and immigrant students, where one or more students are determined to need support.




The Comprehensive EL Plan should address each aspect of the LEA’s program for all ELs, at all grade levels, and in all schools in the school system.  The Comprehensive ELs Plan should contain sufficient detail and specificity so that each staff person can understand how the plan is to be implemented and should contain the procedural guidance and forms used to carry out responsibilities under the plan.  The LEA is required to have a Comprehensive EL’s Plan whether or not the LEA currently has ELs enrolled and regardless of Title III eligibility (EL Plan Template can be found in the eGAP Document Library).  The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Memorandum 1991 provides guidance to measure the adequacy of the program (See Appendix, OCR Memorandum 1991).



At a minimum, the local plan must:


  1. Describe the programs and activities that will be developed, implemented, and administered to ensure that ELs acquire academic language as part of the core academic program.  Many factors affect the types of education programs that school systems may offer, including the number of students and the variety of languages they speak.  Consequently, the SDE allows school systems broad discretion concerning how to ensure equal educational opportunity for limited-English proficient students.  The SDE does not prescribe a specific intervention strategy or type of program that an LEA must adopt to serve ELs. The law requires effective instruction that:  (1) leads to the timely acquisition of proficiency in English and (2) provides teaching and learning opportunities so that each student can become proficient in the state’s academic content and student academic achievement standards expected for all students.
  2. Describe how the LEA will hold schools accountable for meeting proficiency and annual measurable achievement objectives.
  3. Describe how the LEA will encourage and hold schools accountable for annually measuring the English proficiency of limited-English proficient students and for participating in the state-administered testing program.
  4. Describe how the LEA will promote parental notification and parental and community participation in programs for limited-English proficient students.
  5. Describe how language instruction educational programs will ensure that limited-English proficient students develop English proficiency.
  6. Describe how the LEA will collect and submit data in accordance with SDE requirements.
  7. Assure that the LEA consulted with teachers, school administrators, parents, and, if appropriate, education-related community groups and institutions of higher education in developing the plan.
  8. Assure that all teachers in any language instruction educational program for limited-English proficient students that is funded with any source of federal funds are fluent in English, including having written and oral communication skills.
  9. Assure that all individuals used as translators or interpreters are fluent in the language they are translating.
  10. Include the LEA’s educational theory and goals for its program of services.
  11. Include the LEA’s methods for identifying and assessing the students to be included in the English language instruction educational program.
  12. Include the LEA’s procedures for implementing the ELs Committee.
  13. Include the specific components of the LEA’s program of English language acquisition and academic services for limited-English proficient students.
  14. Include the specific staffing and other resources to be provided to limited-English proficient students under the LEA’s English language instruction educational program.
  15. Include the LEA’s method and procedures for exiting students from the English language instruction educational program and for monitoring their progress for a period of at least two years, and at a minimum, follow SDE exiting requirements for ELs.
  16. Include the LEA’s method for evaluating the effectiveness of its program for limited-English proficient students (see Appendix, ESL Program Evaluation Sample).
  17. Include LEA’s method of identification and referral of ELs to Special Education. Note that the Individual English Language Plan (see Appendix, I-ELP sample) must describe how the school will communicate with the child/parent in their native language.  

(See Appendix, Local Education Agency Requirement Checklist for Serving English Learners)


Each LEA shall establish an EL Advisory Committee for the purpose of program needs, assessment, evaluation, and for developing the Comprehensive ELs Plan. This committee must include central office administrators, assessment specialists, school administrators, school counselors, and ESL staff.  The committee should also include parents and community representatives who work with these students and their families in other settings.  By working with a group that includes these stakeholders, the LEA can receive valuable input from those whose support and efforts may be important to the success of the English language instruction educational program.




The LEA EL Advisory Committee shall make recommendations to the LEA regarding its ESL program. Some examples of committee responsibilities would be to make recommendations regarding:




  • The English language development program.
  • High-quality professional development for staff.
  • Parental involvement programs to further student success.
  • Budgeting of state, local, and federal funds.
  • The English language program evaluation.




In order to receive a Title III Grant as a single district, LEAs must have sufficient numbers of ELs to generate a minimum grant of $10,000.  If an LEA is ineligible to receive Title III funds, they may form a consortium with other LEAs.  To be a member of a consortium, the LEA must have less than the number of ELs required generating the minimum allocation of $10,000.  Each consortium must select an LEA to be the lead or fiscal agent; this responsibility is often rotated among the members.  The fiscal agent is responsible for initiating meetings among consortium members and applying for Title III funds through the SDE’s Electronic Grant Application Process (e-GAP).  All districts receiving Title III funds must be included in the AMAO-A and AMAO-B determinations.  Therefore, if an LEA within the consortium has less than the minimum N of 10 students, then the ACCESS scores of the LEA, as well as those of all other LEAs in that consortium, are aggregated to result in an AMAO determination for the consortia.   For example, If LEA 1 has 5 students and LEA 2 has 60 students, then the consortium would have a total of 65 students whose ACCESS scores are included in the AMAO determination for the consortium as a whole.  If, on the other hand, each LEA in the consortium meets or exceeds the minimum N count of 10 students, then each LEA in the consortia would be reported individually for AMAO determinations.







No Child Left Behind Act of 2001


NCLB 9501(a)  PRIVATE SCHOOL PARTICIPATION – (1) IN GENERAL- Except as otherwise provided in this Act, to the extent consistent with the number of eligible children in areas served by a State educational agency, local educational agency, educational service agency, consortium of those agencies, or another entity receiving financial assistance under a program specified in subsection (b), who are enrolled in private elementary schools and secondary schools in areas served by such agency, consortium, or entity, the agency, consortium, or entity shall, after timely and meaningful consultation with appropriate private school officials provide to those children and their teachers or other educational personnel, on an equitable basis, special educational services or other benefits that address their needs under the program.




NCLB 9501(b) APPLICABILITY-(1) IN GENERAL- This section applies to programs under —


(A) subparts 1 and 3 of part B of title I;


(B) part C of title I;


(C) part A of title II, to the extent provided in paragraph (3);


(D) part B of title II;


(E) part D of title II;


(F) part A of title III;


(G) part A of title IV; and


(H) part B of title IV.




NCLB 9501(c) CONSULTATION-(1) IN GENERAL- To ensure timely and meaningful consultation, a State educational agency, local educational agency, educational service agency, consortium of those agencies, or entity shall consult with appropriate private school officials during the design and development of the programs under this Act, on issues such as —


(A) how the children's needs will be identified;


(B) what services will be offered;


(C) how, where, and by whom the services will be provided;


(D) how the services will be assessed and how the results of the assessment will be used to improve those services;


(E) the size and scope of the equitable services to be provided to the eligible private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel and the amount of funds available for those services; and


(F) how and when the agency, consortium, or entity will make decisions about the delivery of services, including a thorough consideration and analysis of the views of the private school officials on the provision of contract services through potential third-party providers.






What are the Requirements?


Ø  LEAs and non-public schools must engage in timely and meaningful consultation regarding services available to ELs in non-public schools that are located within the geographic boundaries of the LEA.


Ø  The responsibility for initiating contact with appropriate non-public school officials   lies with the LEA.


Ø  “Timely and meaningful consultation” must include, but is not limited to, issues such as:


o   How ELs will be identified.


o   How the needs of ELs will be identified.


o   How, when, where, and what services will be provided.


o   How the services will be assessed.


o   The amount of funds/services available.


Ø  Title III services provided must be equitable and timely and address the educational needs of the identified students.


Ø  Services provided to ELs and educational personnel in the non-public schools do not have to be the same as those services provided to public school students.  The services must be equitable, comparable, and suitable to the needs of the identified students and teachers.


Ø  Funds/services provided for private school children and educational personnel must be equal, taking into account the number and educational needs of those children, to the funds provided for participating public school children.


Ø  The LEA is responsible for any administrative costs (including assessments) associated with the implementation of the services for Title III students in non-public school students. 


Ø  Non-public schools must have a means of determining and documenting that a language other than English is spoken at home (comparable to the public school Home Language Survey).


Ø  Non-public schools must provide the LEA “notice” that the non-public school believes they have LEP students that should be screened to determine need and eligibility for services.


Ø  The LEA is responsible for screening students to determine “eligibility.”  LEAs can use the W-APT, or other agreed upon “recognized” screener.  Eligibility is defined as limited English language proficient.  The final responsibility for determining whether a non-public school student is an EL and eligible for services under Title III lies with the LEA.


Ø  The LEA and non-public school’s meaningful consultation must determine a recognized assessment that will be used to measure progress.  This may be ACCESS, IPT-Revised, Harcourt, etc.  The assessment must be comparable to ACCESS.  {NOTE:  If ACCESS is used for assessment, students must be coded separately to indicate non-public status.}


Ø  If through consultation, LEAs and non-public schools determine that assessment will be something other than ACCESS, there must be a method for LEAs to report to the SDE the number of students tested, so that LEAs can draw funds for all ELs receiving services.


Ø  LEAs and non-public schools officials, through meaningful consultation, must determine what programs will be implemented to provide quality and effective instruction to the identified students.  Programs must be designed to impact student progress and achievement.


Ø  The LEA must annually evaluate the program effectiveness of the services provided to non-public schools.






Ø  Title III services provided must be secular, neutral, and non-ideological.


Ø  Services provided must be supplemental in nature and cannot replace or supplant services that would, in the absence of Title III, be available to participating non-public school students.


Ø  The control of funds used to provide services and the title to materials and equipment purchased with those funds must be retained by the LEA.


Ø  Services for private school children and educational personnel must be provided by employees of the LEA or through a contract made by the LEA with a third party.


Ø  During timely and meaningful consultation, LEAs must inform the non-public school officials of the complaint process. 


o   If non-public school officials believe that timely and meaningful consultation has not occurred, they should first discuss the matter with the LEA.  Non-public school officials may also contact the SDE if they remain dissatisfied, through a formal written complaint. NCLB 9503(a)




Additional resources regarding NCLB and non-public school participation with Title III:


Ø  Office of Non-Public Education (ONPE)–Private School Participation in Title III Programs




Ø  Non-Regulatory Guidance-August 2005--Title IX, Part E-Uniform Provisions- Subpart 1-Private Schools; Equitable Services to Eligible Private School Students, Teachers, and Other Educational Personnel –










Title I, Part A, Basic Programs


School systems are required by federal law to provide appropriate language acquisition services for students who are limited-English proficient.  The language acquisition services are considered an integral part of a free and appropriate public education for all students.  Title I, Part A, funds may be used to coordinate and supplement state and locally funded services, as well as provide other direct services to EL’s students who are failing or are at risk of failing to meet the state's academic standards.  Title I, Part A, funds may be used to pay the salaries of instructional staff to work with students who are experiencing academic difficulties, including limited-English proficient students.  Title I staff should coordinate services with ESL and regular classroom teachers to provide the most appropriate instructional approach.




English Learners are eligible for programs and services provided by Title I, Part A, on the same basis that non-ELs are eligible.  In schools operating Title I schoolwide programs, all children, including ELs, are intended to benefit from the program, and the needs of all students are to be taken into account in the program design.  In Title I-targeted assistance schools, ELs are eligible and must be selected for services on the same basis as other children.  The LEA is not required to demonstrate that the needs of ELs stem from educational deprivation or solely from their limited-English proficiency.



Title I, Part C, Migrant Education Program


A student may be eligible for services under Title I, Part C, the Migrant Education Program (MEP), if he/she has traveled with a parent or guardian across school system boundaries to obtain temporary or seasonal work in agriculture, fishing, or chicken processing.  Migrant funds may be used to support and supplement ESL services, as well as provide direct services to migrant students who are also ELs.  Migrant education services do not replace the need or requirement for an English language instruction educational program, and Title I, Part C, may not be the only source of funds used to provide the English language instruction educational programs and/or services.


The MEP is supplemental to the basic, regular education program and addresses needs that may be attributed to the migratory status of the student’s family.  All migrant students are not language-minority, nor are all language-minority students migrant.




Education of Homeless Children and Youth


Title VII–B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act of 2001, promotes access to public schools for homeless children and youth.  Local education agencies must ensure that barriers to enrollment for homeless students are eliminated.  Barriers may include requirements for residency, guardianship, school records, immunization records, and transportation, among others.


A student who is limited-English proficient and also meets the federal definition of “homeless” is eligible to receive services provided through the Title VII–B of the McKinney Vento Homeless Education Act of 2001 as are other children who meet that definition.

Other Programs, Services, and Facilities


Language-minority students must have access to instructional programs and related services for special populations in a school system.  Such programs include, but are not limited to, pre-school programs, career/technical programs, special education programs, gifted and talented programs, and extracurricular activities.  All student support programs and services and extracurricular activities must be available to language-minority students or ELs on the same basis that they are available to other students in a school or school system.  Similarly, each LEA must ensure that ELs have access to comparable instructional materials, facilities, and other resources as other students.



Circumstances and situations regarding participation of ELs in programs and services, whether in school or in an extracurricular setting, that are not clearly addressed in this document may be referred to the applicable program office within the SDE.




English Learners with Disabilities and Special Education Services


The education of ELs with disabilities raises several concerns about the legal requirements of LEAs.  Among the concerns are identification, eligibility, and service provision for ELs suspected of having a disability.  Special education programs and services must be provided in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-446).  All LEAs are required to include a description for communicating with non-English speaking students/parents in their Individual Education Plan (IEP).


The Comprehensive EL Plan must describe how the LEA will secure the services of someone to administer a test or other evaluation and how the person will communicate with the child/parent in the native language.  The education of ELs with disabilities must be addressed in the LEA’s Comprehensive EL Plan.


All students with disabilities are guaranteed the right to a free, appropriate public education; an IEP with related services, if needed, that meet their specific needs; due process; education in the least restrictive environment; tests that are not culturally discriminatory; and a multidisciplinary assessment.  Public Law 108-446 requires that state and local education agencies ensure that the students are assessed in all areas related to the suspected disability.  The materials and procedures used to assess a limited-English proficient student must be selected and administered to ensure that they measure the extent to which the student has a disability and needs special education, rather than measuring the student's English language skills.  The limited-English proficient student with disabilities has a right to the same individual special education services as other students with disabilities. Note that ELs must be provided English language acquisition services that are an integral part of their IEP. 


Uncertainty often exists regarding the referral of ELs for Special Education Services (SES).  ELs are eligible to receive SES on the same basis as all other students.  Care should be exercised or used to ensure that limited-English proficiency is not the basis of a referral.  (See Appendix, Information on preventing inappropriate placements of ELs in Special Education)


In situations where it is not realistic to test in the native language or mode of communication for an EL, the LEA must consider information that will enable the eligibility team to make a decision as to whether the child has a disability and the effects of the disability on educational needs.


A child may not be determined to be eligible for special education if the determinant factor is the child’s lack of instruction in reading, math, or limited-English proficiency. The IEP for an EL with a disability must include all of the components as listed in the Alabama Administrative Code.  The IEP team shall consider the language needs of the student as those needs relate to the student’s IEP.  Parent participation is a required part of the special education process and to ensure active participation, accommodations must be made at all meetings and in written communications for the non-English speaking parent.  This may also be necessary for parents of students who are National Origin of Minority whose Primary Home Language is Other Than English.  These accommodations must include a translator for oral communication, and written communication must be in the parent’s native language. 




Gifted and Talented Education


The Alabama SDE and the U. S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) signed a Title VI Resolution Agreement focusing on underrepresented populations in gifted programs in Alabama. In the agreement, the SDE committed to a variety of actions related to screening/referral criteria and procedures, evaluation processes and eligibility criteria, program oversight, and technical assistance.