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Developing Programs for English Language Learners: Plan Development

Resource Materials for Planning and Self-Assessments

Part II: Developing ELL Programs

Plan Development

To be effective, an ELL plan needs to be comprehensive. It should address each aspect of the district's program for all ELL students, at all grade levels, and at all schools in the district. To ensure its ongoing value, it needs to be viewed by district staff as containing useful information. It should contain enough detail and specificity so that each staff person can understand how the plan is to be implemented and should contain the procedural guidance and forms they need to use to carry out their responsibilities under the plan. Districts have indicated to OCR that they have found their ELL plans most useful when they contain sufficient detail to inform staff fully of each action step in the ELL plan.

Does your plan answer the following:
  • Who is responsible for the step?

  • When is the step expected to be completed?

  • What standards and criteria are to be applied to the step?

  • How will the district document implementation of the step?

Many districts have found that it is useful, when developing or revising an ELL program, to establish a committee or work group that includes administrators, teachers (both ELL program teachers and regular classroom teachers), educational assistants, school counselors, and other staff who work with the district's ELL student population. The district may also want to include parents, students, or community representatives who work with the same students in other settings. By working with a group that includes these stakeholders, the district can receive more comprehensive input from those whose support and efforts may be important to the success of the district's ELL program. Inclusive approaches in program design and development tend to promote overall community awareness and support. In addition, these individuals will be valuable resources to draw upon during program evaluation and program improvement activities.

The questions in the ELL Plan Outline are organized around key components of a comprehensive plan --

  • the district's educational theory and goals for its program of services;

  • the district's methods for identifying and assessing the students to be included in the district's ELL program;

  • the specific components of the district's program of English language development and academic services for ELL students;

  • the specific staffing and other resources to be provided to ELL students under the district's ELL program;

  • the district's method and procedures for transitioning and/or exiting students from its ELL program, and for monitoring their success afterward; and

  • the district's method for evaluating the effectiveness of its program for ELL students (discussed in Part III of these materials).

The ELL plan outline on the following pages illustrates one method of organizing and presenting a school district's program of services for ELL students. Each district may choose to organize its own ELL plan differently. Regardless of the format selected, we believe careful consideration should be given to whether the plan is sufficiently detailed to answer the questions set forth in each section of the ELL plan outline. The resources list includes web sites that contain information and examples that can assist school districts in drafting an ELL plan.

Last Modified: 01/16/2020