ACCESS for ELLs (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners) is a secure large-scale English language proficiency assessment given to Kindergarten through 12th graders who have been identified as English language learners (ELLs). It is given annually in WIDA Consortium member states to monitor students' progress in acquiring academic English.
Our district only provides native language instruction for students who qualify based on their English language proficiency. Every student who marks yes for either of the questions on the home language survey will need to be screened with the, W-APT. W-APT stands for the WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test. It is an English language proficiency "screener" test given to incoming students who may be designated as English language learners. It assists educators with programmatic placement decisions such as identification and placement of ELLs. The W-APT is one component of WIDA's comprehensive assessment system. Depending on the results of the placement test your child might qualify for bilingual education, ESL (English as a Second language) services or no services.
ESL (English as a second language) refers to the use or study of English by speakers with different native languages. A child who qualifies for bilingual education also receives thirty minutes a day with a certified teacher to study ESL. A student who qualifies for ESL only will receive thirty minutes a day of explicit English instruction in small groups with a certified teacher.
McHenry school district 15 offers three types of programs:
Transitional Bilingual Education - The Transitional Bilingual Program (TBE) is for non-native English speaking students who have difficulty with written or spoken English. The program provides support to help students succeed in academic subjects in their native language. They also have an English class everyday where they learn social and academic English.
Developmental Education - The Developmental Bilingual Program (DBE) is for non-native English speaking students who have difficulty with written or spoken English. The program provides support to help students succeed in academic subjects in their native language and learn English in a sheltered environment. This program provides a gradual increase in the amount of instruction in English within the Bilingual classroom from year to year.
Transitional Program of Instruction - The Transitional Program of Instruction is for non-native English speaking students who have difficulty with written and/or spoken English. The program provides support to help student’s succeed in academic subjects and learn English.
One of the performance goals of No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is to make sure that every child who is identified as needing English language support, reaches English proficiency. In order to monitor and reach this goal all students need to take the ACCESS test until they reach proficiency.
As a parent feel free to call your child’s teacher and set up times to volunteer. You are also welcome to become a member of the Bilingual Parent Advisory Committee (BPAC). We meet as a cabinet four times a year, and have four district wide events a year.
School districts that have Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) Programs are required to establish a Bilingual Parent Advisory Committee. The committee is comprised of parents of children in the TBE program and other interested community members. Two-thirds of the committee members must be parents of children in the bilingual education program. The committee meets six times a year and participates in the planning, operation, and evaluation of the program. There are four main events during the year. All parents of students in the Bilingual Education Program are invited to become members of the Committee.
As a parent you could help your child acquire English by exposing them to English, encouraging your child to practice English, reading to your child in English. Another manner to help foster English is to take part in the events around the community, and use the resources that the community offers.