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Secondary English Learner Programs


"ELs must have full access to high-quality English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies content, as well as other subjects, at the same time that they are progressing through the ELD-level continuum." - ELD Standards Pg. 9

In San Diego Unified's English learner model, instruction is based on a strong theoretical foundation influenced by current research in sociocultural learning theory. A key principle of sociocultural theory is the fundamental understanding that language learning takes place through social interactions. In order for students to develop the language necessary to excel academically, they need to be engaged in purposefully planned interactions that promote the development of academic language.

Group of Students in the Secondary Program

Instruction follows a Gradual Release of Responsibility model. Implementation of this model develops independent learners as they acquire a high level of academic language, which positions students to successfully participate in mainstream English classrooms and in society. Lessons build on students' background knowledge, and integrate connections between American culture and the students' native cultures. Expectations are high, feedback is explicit, and progress is monitored closely though informal and formal assessments.

The goal for all English learners at the secondary level is to successfully meet the Common Core State standards and achieve A-G college entrance requirements for California State and UC schools.

Secondary Program Overview

At the secondary level, English learners are placed in ELD courses designed to help them develop full proficiency in English. Students are placed in one of the following three categories of courses:

  • English Language Development (ELD): For students at the Emerging, Expanding or Bridging stages of language development. These are Designated ELD courses taught with the integration of content and English language development and are taught by teachers holding specialized credentials.
  • International Centers: Offered at designated schools for students who are new to English and new to schooling, or are new to English but have had extremely interrupted schooling. Visit International Centers.

Students in the Secondary Program

Designated State and federal law require that school districts administer a state test of English language proficiency to eligible students in kindergarten through grade twelve. The ELPAC will be aligned to the 2012 California English Language Development Standards. It will be comprised of two separate assessments: one for initial identification 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.

Other resources:

San Diego Unified's ELD Course of Study