Office for Civil Rights
Annual Report to Congress FY 2005

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Moving English Language Learners to English Proficiency

In FY 2005, OCR continued to work with states and school districts to ensure that LEP students receive appropriate language services, language acquisition programs are research-based, and LEP students meet performance standards.

It is refreshing to have someone listen and really care about what is being said.… My greatest respect goes out to you and the organization you work for.

Note from an OCR complainant, 2005

For example, a state education agency agreed to revise its guidance to local school districts on their responsibilities to LEP students and their parents and on identifying and assessing students who may require alternative language services.  The state will provide annual training to school district staff regarding Title VI obligations to LEP students and will establish a statewide training program for school district professionals who have not yet satisfied all of the state’s certification standards related to the instruction of LEP students.

In a compliance review, OCR determined a school district was not conducting periodic evaluations of its English language learners program sufficient in content or scope to identify needed program modifications.  The district signed an agreement with OCR to evaluate the program in areas such as identification and assessment, instructional services and delivery, program participation, staffing, instructional materials and resources, exit criteria, and segregation.  In conducting its program evaluation, the district also will consider whether its program is effectively developing LEP students’ English language proficiency in speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension and whether students are showing academic progress in other subject areas.

In fulfilling its compliance agreement with OCR, a school district hired a consultant from the parent organization of Project Talk, a U.S. Department of Education academic excellence program, to assist in refining identification and assessment processes for LEP students, designing appropriate alternative language program services, providing staff development opportunities, and encouraging parent involvement.  Among the changes to the district’s program resulting from the consultant’s assistance was the creation of a two-way Spanish-English immersion instructional program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, which benefits both LEP students and their native English-speaking peers.

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Last Modified: 11/01/2007