Students who have a language other than English present in their Home Language Survey (taken at enrollment) will be screened to see if they qualify for ESL services through a conversation and an assessment tool. This English language proficiency assessment is administered shortly after enrollment to determine the level of English proficiency. If a student scores at DPI (Department of Public Instruction) levels 1-4 (levels 1-5 for KG), the student qualifies for ESL/Bilingual education services. If a student scores a DPI level 5 (level 6 for KG), the student is determined fully English proficient and does not qualify for ESL/Bilingual education services.
Notification and Consent
Teachers report the student's level of English proficiency to families. After families have been given information about ESL/Bilingual education, they have the right to either accept or decline these services. Families also have the right to change their decision at any time during the student's career in MMSD. Schools are required to notify families of English proficiency status yearly (WI State Statute 115.96(2/3).
Reclassification and Exit
Students will no longer be considered eligible for ESL / Bilingual Education services when they can demonstrate academic English language proficiency necessary to succeed academically similar to native English speaking students in age/grade appropriate learning environments. A student who has achieved a Wisconsin DPI Level 6 ("now Fully English Proficient") then must successfully complete Monitor Status without ESL services for two academic years to be reclassified. In essence, the student is allowed a trial period to determine the likelihood of academic success without ESL/Bilingual Ed. support. At the end of the two-year period, if the student has shown academic success, the student will be exited from the program. Parents will be notified of this change of status.
Bilingual/Bicultural Program Requirements
If any school, within a school district in Wisconsin, has 10 Limited English Proficient students speaking the same non-English language at grades K-3, 20 students at grades 4-8, or 20 students at grades 9-12, the district must design a program and prepare a formal plan of services (PI-1849) to meet the needs of these students. The statute requires all such programs to be staffed by licensed bilingual teachers. When bilingual licensed teachers are not available, ESL licensed teachers may be used with bilingual teacher aides except in programs serving Spanish speakers. The obligation to maintain a state approved bilingual-bicultural program (WI State Statute 115.97) for students begins when any one of the three grade cluster "trigger" numbers is reached within a single school building. Districts may combine student numbers across different schools to meet the minimum threshold for state-assistance, but this is not an obligation.
Under this law, no student may be denied admission to any public school, be denied participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be discriminated against in any school-related activity or program on the basis of the student's sex, race, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation or physical, mental, emotional or learning disability. This law, like its federal counterparts, requires that every student receive an equitable educational opportunity. In order to meet this requirement, language barriers must be overcome or removed.
Federal and State requirements
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
Legal Responsibilities When Serving Limited-English Proficient (LEP) Students in K-12 Public Schools