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How do you qualify for services?
Parents fill out the Home Language Survey at the time of registration. If a language other than English is reported to be present in the home or is the student’s first language, the student will be screened with the WIDA Screener assessment.

Can parents refuse screening assessment?
No, the state requires testing to be done per the information reported on Home Language Survey.

Can parents refuse EL services?
If the student qualifies for EL services, parents may withdraw their child from the program by sending a letter indicating their desire to the school or to the school district. However, students will still participate in the annual state-mandated English proficiency assessment, ACCESS, until they meet exit criteria.

What is the exit criteria?
Students who score an overall composite score of 4.8 or higher on the ACCESS test are considered proficient and are eligible to exit the EL or Bilingual program.

My child speaks English very well; he/she talks to friends in English, and watches TV and movies in English, so why does he/she still need EL services?
Your child may speak English very well in certain types of social situations, but may need additional support in order to learn vocabulary needed for reading and writing in English at advanced levels.  These are key skills that will be needed in order to be successful at District 31 and beyond.  Complex academic English takes much more time to acquire and master.  For this reason, we strongly encourage parents to keep their children in EL programming until they no longer need services as determined by the yearly ACCESS test.

Can my child receive Special Education and EL services at the same time?
Yes, all Special Education students who are also eligible for EL services receive both services as mandated by federal and state law. 

Is there a typical time line for an average student to develop English proficiency?
There is considerable variability in the time it takes learners to become proficient in English. Second language acquisition research suggests that students develop basic social and interpersonal communications skills within two years. However, reaching "native-like proficiency" in academic language may take from five to seven years with appropriate support. 

What if there are additional questions or more information is needed?
If you have questions or would like more information about your child’s participation in District 31’s EL/Bilingual program, please contact your child’s principal, EL teacher, or the EL/Bilingual coordinator.