English Learner Policy

CWCS Board Approved May 22, 2018

CWCS Board Revised July 25, 2023

The California Department of Education has set forth goals for all EL students in the state of California. Those goals are to:

  • Ensure that English learners acquire full proficiency in English as rapidly and effectively as possible and attain parity with native speakers of English. Ensure that English learners, within a reasonable period of time, achieve the same rigorous grade-level academic standards that are expected of all students. In addition, Connecting Waters Charter Schools (“CWCS” or “Charter Schools”) are accountable to meet goals as set forth by our LEA, LCAP and Title III Plans. Our Mission at Connecting Waters Charter Schools states that we are a collaborative educational community promoting academic excellence in preparing students for college and career while providing

individualized public education through challenging, unique, and varied learning. To this extent, the policies set forth for our English Learner students are established to meet our goals and fulfill our mission with integrity, purpose, and excellence. ALL English Learner students enrolled
in Connecting Waters Charter Schools will be required to follow a prescriptive instructional path for English Language Development and support prior to reclassification as set forth in our English Learner plan(s).


“English learner” (“EL”) means an individual aged 3 through 21 who is currently enrolled or preparing to enroll in an elementary or secondary school whose difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language may be sufficient to deny the individual the ability to meet the challenging State academic standards, the ability to successfully achieve in classrooms where the language of instruction is English, or the
opportunity to participate fully in society. This includes an individual who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English; an individual who isa Native American or Alaska Native, or a native resident of the outlying areas and who comes
from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual’s level of English language proficiency; or an individual who is migratory, whose native language is a language other than English, and who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant.

“Designated English Language Development” means instruction during a time set aside in the regular school day for focused instruction on the state-adopted English language development (“ELD”) standards to assist English Learners to develop critical English language skills necessary for academic content learning in English.

“Integrated English Language Development” means instruction in which the state-adopted ELD standards are used in tandem with the state-adopted academic content standards. Integrated ELD includes specially designed academic instruction in English.

Identification and Assessment
Upon enrollment, each student’s primary language shall be determined through use of a home language survey.
Within thirty (30) calendar days of their initial enrollment, students who are identified as having a primary language other than English, as determined by the home language survey, and for whom there is no record of results from an English language development test shall be
assessed using the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (“ELPAC”).

Any student with a disability shall take the ELPAC with those accommodations for testing that the students has regularly used during instruction and classroom assessment as delineated in the student’s individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan that are appropriate and necessary to address the student’s individual needs.

To oversee test administration, the Executive Director or designee shall annually designate a Charter School ELPAC coordinator and a site coordinator for each test site in accordance with 5 CCR §§ 11518.40-11518.45.

CWCS shall notify parents/guardians of their child’s official results on the Initial ELPAC within thirty (30) calendar days following the CWCS’s receipt of the results.

Within ninety (90) days of initial enrollment, students identified as having limited English proficiency shall be further assessed for primary language proficiency in comprehension, speaking, reading and writing when assessment is available. The Executive Director or designee shall develop criteria for determining student needs on the basis of these assessments.

Before students are enrolled in a program for English language learners, parents/guardians shall receive information about the program and their opportunities for parental involvement. This notice shall:

(1) Contain a simple, nontechnical description of the purposes, method, and content of the
program in which their child will be enrolled;
(2) Inform the parent(s) or guardian(s) that they have the right and are encouraged to visit such classes in which their child will be enrolled and to come to the school for a conference to explain the nature and objectives of such education;
(3) Further inform the parent(s) or guardian(s) that they have the right, if they so wish, not to have their child enrolled in such an education program; and
(4) Inform the parent(s) or guardian(s) that they have the opportunity to participate in the advisory committee.

No later than thirty (30) calendar days after the beginning of the school year, each parent/guardian of a student participating in, or identified for participation in, a language instruction program supported by federal Title III funds shall receive notification of the assessment of their child’s English proficiency. The notice shall include all of the following:

(1) The reason for the student’s classification as English language learner

(2) The level of English proficiency

(3) A description of the program for English language development instruction, including a description of all the following:
(A) The manner in which the program will meet the educational strengths and needs of student
(B) The manner in which the program will help the student develop their English proficiency and meet age-appropriate academic standards.
(C) The specific exit requirements for the program, the expected rate of transition from the program into general education classrooms not tailored for ELs, and the expected rate of graduation from secondary school for schools utilizing English Learner programs.
(D) Where the student has been identified for special education, the manner in which the program meets the requirement to the student’s IEP.

(4) Information regarding a parent/guardian’s option to decline to allow the student to become enrolled in the program or to choose to allow the student to become enrolled in an alternative program.

Parents/guardians also shall be notified of the results of any reassessment. Once identified as an English learner, a student shall be annually assessed for language proficiency until the student is reclassified based on criteria specified in the accompanying administrative regulation.

In addition, English learners' academic achievement in English language arts, mathematics, science, and any additional subject required by law shall be assessed using the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress. As necessary, the test shall be administered with testing variations in accordance with 5 CCR §§ 854.1-854.3. English
learners who are in their first 12 months of attending a school in the United States shall be exempted from taking the English language arts assessment to the extent allowed by federal law.

Formative assessments may be utilized to analyze student performance and appropriately adapt teaching methodologies and instructions.

Instruction CWCS will meet all applicable legal requirements for EL students as it pertains to annual notification to parents/guardians, student identification, placement, program options, EL and core content instruction, teacher qualifications and training, reclassification to fluent
English proficient status, monitoring and evaluating program effectiveness, and standardized testing requirement. CWCS will implement strategies for serving English Learners which are research based and evaluated annually for effectiveness.

CWCS believe that all EL students who are not proficient in the English language need every opportunity to be able to become proficient. We train our Education Specialists to test these students to discover their areas of strengths and weakness, and will select appropriate
curriculum to help EL students achieve success in their educational process. State approved English Language Development Curriculum will be used in addition to state approved English Language Arts curriculum, along with educationally sound, research-based, and effective
supplemental resources. English learners shall be provided differentiated English language development instruction which is targeted to their English proficiency level. Such instruction shall be based on sound instructional theory, be aligned with state content standards, emphasize inquiry-based learning and critical thinking skills, and be integrated across all subject areas.

No elementary or middle school student who is an English learner shall be denied enrollment in any of the following:

1. Courses in the core curriculum areas of reading/language arts, mathematics, science, and history-social science.

However, an English learner may be denied participation in any such course if the student has been enrolled in a school in the United States for less than 12 months or is enrolled in a program designed to develop the basic English skills of newly arrived immigrant students, and the course of study provided to the student is designed to remedy academic deficits incurred during participation and to enable the student to attain parity of participation in the standard instructional program within a reasonable length of time after the student enters the school system.

2. A full course load of courses specified in item #1 above

This support will be centered around Specially Designed Academic Instruction for English (“SDAIE”) strategies applicable to an independent study context, including the use of graphic organizers, choral reading in a virtual classroom with other EL students, reading logs, vocabulary cards, and small group or one-on-one virtual instruction.

CWCS shall identify in its local control and accountability plan (“LCAP”) goals and specific actions and services to enhance student engagement, academic achievement, and other outcomes for English learners.

Staff Qualifications and Training

All teachers instructing English Learners will hold a CLAD Certificate or a California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) recognized equivalent.

CWCS shall provide high-quality effective professional development to teachers (including teachers in classroom settings that are not the settings of language instruction educational programs), administrators, and other school or community-based organization personnel to
improve the instruction and assessment of English learners and enhance staff's ability to understand and use curricula, assessment, and instructional strategies for English learners. All professional development shall be based on scientifically based research demonstrating the
effectiveness of the professional development in increasing children’s English proficiency or substantially increasing the subject matter knowledge, teaching knowledge, and teaching skills of such teachers. Such professional development shall be of sufficient intensity and duration to produce a positive and lasting impact on teachers' performance in the classroom.

Staff development shall also address the sociocultural needs of English learners and provide opportunities for teachers to engage in supportive, collaborative learning communities.

To support students’ English language development, the Executive Director or designee may provide an adult literacy training program that leads to English fluency for parents/guardians and community members.

Home Language Survey
CWCS will administer the home language survey upon a student's initial enrollment into CWCS.

Reclassification/Redesignation Procedures
CWCS shall continue to provide additional and appropriate educational services to English language learners for the purposes of overcoming language barriers until the English language learners have:

(1) Demonstrated English language proficiency comparable to that of the school’s average native English language speakers; and

(2) Recouped any academic deficits which may have incurred in other areas of the core curriculum as a result of language barriers.

English language learners shall be redesignated as fluent-English-proficient (“FEP”) when they are able to comprehend, speak, read and write well enough to receive instruction in the regular program and make academic progress at a level substantially equivalent to that of students of the same age or grade whose primary language is English and who are in the regular course of study.

The following measures shall be considered to determine whether an English language learner shall be reclassified as fluent-English-proficient:

(1) Assessment of English language proficiency utilizing the ELPAC as the primary criterion, and objective assessment of the student’s English reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Examples of assessment data include, but are not limited to:

(a) Basic performance on the California Standards Test in English Language Arts
(b) Objective data on the student’s overall academic performance in English

(2) Recommendations of the student’s classroom teacher and any certificated staff with direct responsibility for teaching or placement decisions

(3) Parent/guardian participation and consultation.

Parent/guardians shall receive notice and a description of the redesignation process, including notice of their right to participate in the process. Parent/guardian participation in the process shall be encouraged.

The Executive Director or designee shall provide subsequent monitoring and support for redesignated students, including but not limited to monitoring for three years the performance of redesignated students in the core curriculum in comparison with their native-English speaking peers, monitoring the rate of redesignation, and ensuring correct classification and placement.

The Executive Director or designee shall develop a process to monitor the effectiveness of the Charter School’s program for English language and academic success for each English language learner.

Documentation and Translation of Documents
CWCS will maintain documentation of all assessments and evaluations, as well as all decisions and participants in those decisions in the student’s permanent record.

CWCS will translate certain records for those parents or guardians who speak a language group other than English representing fifteen (15) percent or more of the pupils enrolled in CWCS, as determined from the CALPADS data for the preceding year. Specifically, CWCS will provide all notices, reports, statements, or records sent to such parents or guardians in the primary language, in addition to being written in English, and parents or guardians may respond to CWCS either in English or the primary language.

Monitoring and Evaluation of Program Effectiveness

The English Learner Coordinator, Assessment Coordinator, and Executive Director or designee will evaluate the program effectiveness for English Learners in CWCS, CWEB, and CWCV.

To evaluate the effectiveness of the CWCS's educational program for English learners, the Executive Director or designee shall report to the Board, at least annually regarding:
1. Progress of English learners towards proficiency in English
2. The number and percentage of English learners reclassified as fluent English proficient
3. The number and percentage of English learners who are or are at risk of being classified as long-term English learners in accordance with Education Code 313.1
4. The achievement of English learners on standards-based tests in core curricular areas
5. For any language acquisition program that includes instruction in a language other than English, student achievement in the non-English language in accordance with 5 CCR § 11309
6. Progress toward any other goals for English learners identified in the Charter School's LCAP
7. A comparison of current data with data from at least the previous year in regard to items #1-6 above
8. A comparison of data between the different language acquisition programs offered by the Charter School

The Executive Director or designee also shall provide the Board with regular reports from any Charter School or schoolwide English learner advisory committees.

Advisory Committee
If there are more than 21 EL students, CWCS, CWEB, and CWCV will have an English Language Advisory Committee (“ELAC”).

Parents/guardians of English language learners shall constitute committee membership in at least the same percentage that their children represent of the total number of students in the school.

The Charter School’s English language advisory committee shall annually advise the Board on at least the following tasks:

(1) The development of a Charter School description of program goals, objectives and services for English learners, taking into consideration the school site needs for English learners;
(2) The Charter School needs assessments;
(3) Administration of the annual language census;
(4) Review of and comment on the Charter School’s reclassification procedures; and
(5) Review of and comments on the written notification required to be sent to parents/guardians pursuant to 5 CCR § 11300-11316.

In order to assist advisory members in carrying out their responsibilities, the Executive Director or designee shall ensure that the committee members receive appropriate training and materials.

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