English Language Development (ELD)

  • What is ELD and who qualifies for ELD services?

     ELD (English Language Development) refers to the name of an academic program with an aim to assist ANY and ALL students whose primary language is not English.   ELD helps English Language Learners (ELLs) develop their English skills and succeed in school.  

    The English Language Learner (ELL) is the student who is either first learning or is developing English language skills.  Sometimes, the term ELL is shortened to EL (English Learner).  A solid majority of ELs are natural-born citizens of the United States.  Regardless of whether they are natural-born or immigrant, all ELs are entitled to additional services as required by the ESSA(2016).  These services exist specifically for the purpose of learning English in an academic setting, thus enabling students to become productive participants in the school and community.

    Both the Department of Justice and the Office of Civil Rights state that all ELs are entitled to appropriate learning assistance services to become proficient in English and to participate equally in the standard instructional program within a reasonable time.  Schools may choose which program to use to achieve this goal provided it is educationally sound in theory and effective in application.  ELs are entitled to programs with sufficient resources and highly qualified teachers and support staff.

    Since English is not the primary language for an English learner, the term Second Language Learner is sometimes used to describe them.  However, for many of our students, English is their third or fourth language, therefore the designation of  ELL (or EL) is the more accurate and useful term.  In addition, there are EL's in high school who have been speaking English since they entered school, possibly as far back as kindergarten.  These students continue to have access to the ELD program in high school because the need continues to exist, perhaps due to the primary language still influencing his/her manner of reading, writing, listening, and speaking.  The term LTEL (Long Term English Learner) is used to discuss these students and the teaching strategies specific to their needs.


    What does the term primary language mean?

    A student's primary language is the language he/she likely first spoke and is probably most comfortable using to communicate.  The parent or guardian who enrolls a student reports the primary language, so it is not a designation automatically given by a school official during the registration process.

    Any student enrolling in our district who reports that he/she or someone living in their home has a primary language other than English is assessed to determine their need for ELD services.