English Learners

Southeast Polk’s English Language Learner program uses an approach called “sheltered instruction.” This means EL students learn the language both in their classrooms and individually with an English language instructor.

The district has English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) instructors in every building. Students stay in their own school for EL instruction. ESOL instructors and classroom teachers frequently communicate about students’ classroom learning and their English language development.

Southeast Polk has approximately 220 English language learners enrolled each year. In 2018-2019, students and their families spoke over 40 different languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Pohnpeian, Tagalog, Hmong, Swahili, and Lao.

Southeast Polk’s English Language Learner program is designed to help EL students:

  • become English proficient in the language skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening at their grade level.
  • become proficient in core content at their grade level.
  • develop pride in their own bilingualism and biculturalism.

In addition, it is important to build for all Southeast Polk students, whether EL or native speaking:

  • relationships with families to support student success.
  • an awareness and appreciation of multiple points of view regarding cultural practices and perspectives.


Identification: How are EL’s  identified?

All new students complete a Home Language Survey at registration with their parents or guardian. This is the first step in identifying students who may benefit from support in English learning.

When a language other than English is spoken at home, ESOL teachers assess students using a state approved screening tool.

When students are not proficient in listening, speaking, reading and writing English, the ESOL teacher sends a letter to the parents/guardian (in their home language) to inform them their child will be served in the ESOL program.

Communications: How do we communicate with parents?

The district makes every attempt to inform language minority parents of all school matters through translated letters and notices and school provided interpreters.

Exiting: How do students exit from the program?

Students exit the program when the state English language test ELPA21 indicates the required score for proficiency and the student scores proficient on district-wide and/or statewide assessments in reading and math. This must happen in the same year.

Southeast Polk Lau Plan