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Elementary English Learner Programs

Staff teaching students who are in English Learner Programs

San Diego Unified School District's instructional framework for supporting English learners is based on current research related to effective instructional practices for second language learners. The following guiding principles, as defined by the ELA/ELD Framework, provide a compass for our work:

  • Schooling should help students achieve their highest potential.
  • The responsibility for learners' literacy and language development is shared.
  • ELA/literacy and ELD curricula should be well designed, comprehensive, and integrated.
  • Effective teaching is essential to student success.
  • Motivation and engagement play crucial roles in learning.

English Learner Program Options

California State law requires that all English learners at the Elementary level are placed in an English language acquisition program that is appropriate for their grade and English proficiency level. The types of programs include:

  • Structured English Immersion (SEI) designed for ELs who are new to English or at the early levels of English proficiency.
  • English Language Mainstream (ELM) designed for ELs who have acquired reasonable fluency in English and are at higher levels of proficiency.
  • Alternative Dual Language Programs where bilingualism, biliteracy, academic achievement and multicultural awareness is promoted. For more information visit Dual Language Programs.

The goal of each of these programs is to accelerate English language proficiency and provide access to grade level academic content. (Castañeda v. Pickard, 1981).

Good-bye CELDT and Hello ELPAC (English Language Proficiency Assessments for California)

Designated State and federal law require that school dsitricts adminster a state test of English language proficiency to eligible students in kindergarten through grade twelve. The California Department of Education (CDE) is transitioning from CELDT to the ELPAC as the state English language proficiency assessment by the year 2018. The ELPAC will be aligned to the 2012 California English Language Development Standards. It will be comprised of two separate assessments: one for initial identificatoin of students as English learners (ELs), and a second for the annual summative assessment to measure student progress in learning English and to identify students' level of English language proficiency. ELPAC PRACTICE TESTS ARE NOW AVAILABLE, please click here.

Instructional Framework for All Elementary EL Programs

The instructional framework for English Learners includes Designated English Language Development with an emphasis on providing access to grade level content while developing academic language. Teachers engage in research based professional development to strengthen their implementation of the instructional framework.

Designated English Language Development

Designated English Language Development is part of a comprehensive approach to improve the academic achievement of English learners in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. At the elementary level, Designated ELD is a targeted, proficiency level based approach with its own dedicated time of 30-45 minutes each day. Essential components of Designated ELD include:

  • Purposeful placement of students by English language proficiency level.
  • Explicit teaching of how English works in a meaningful context.
  • Emphasis on substantial oral language practice to ensure accuracy and fluency.
  • Attention to the use of newly taught language throughout the day in academic and social settings.
  • Ongoing progress monitoring of English language development.
Additional Information

The Office of Language Acquisition can offer schools support with the following Designated ELD Curricula:

CA ELA/ELD Framework

The English Language Arts/English Language Development Framework for California Public Schooks: Kindergarten thorugh Grade Twelve (CA ELA/ELD Framework) addresses the language need of every student in California and provides guidance to prepare students for post secondary education and/or career.

Supplemental Support for Elementary School Sites

All schools with an English learner population, have the supplemental support of an English Language Instructional Resource Teacher (ELI-RT) or the English Language Development Instructional Specialist (ELD Specialist). To learn more about our ELI-RTs and ELD Specialists, go to English Language Instructional Resource Teacher.