A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

School Reform and Student Diversity - September 1995

Table 13

Case Study Research Area #2C:
Design and Implementation of the Reform at the Middle Grades

LEP Student Program

Use of L1 Creole is used along with English throughout the day. Even as students are mainstreamed, they receive academic support after school in homework center staffed by Creole-speaking staff. While literacy in Creole is supported to some extent, the main goal is transition to English literacy. LEP students whose comprehension of English is very limited and who speak Spanish are placed in Spanish core classes for math/science and language arts/social sciences. They are transitioned to sheltered classes as their English language ability develops. Spanish-speaking LEP students receive science and social studies instruction in Spanish; development and maintenance of Spanish literacy is promoted.

Chinese newcomer students receive instruction in their L1; transition to all-English classes is the goal.

LEP students who are enrolled in the LAMP program (relative newcomers) receive one class per day in Spanish language arts. All other instruction is in English. (Most of the LEP students come from Juarez where they have had consistent schooling, so they already have literacy in Spanish to some degree.)
Use of ESL
LEP students take ESL in place of an elective. (This is in addition to the language arts/social studies block.) Newcomer students from all home languages are pulled out for schoolwide beginning ESL instruction. Intermediate and advanced ESL instruction varies on a family by family basis: some families incorporate it into language arts instruction (in which cases, students are grouped by English language level); in other cases, ESL is a "family elective." ESL is taught via the LAMP content areas. Students in the LAMP program also have an intensive two period ESL class that replaces English language arts; these classes are taught using whole language strategies.
Integration of LEP with EO/FEP students Some students who are closer to transition are partially mainstreamed; other students do not integrate with EO/FEP students. LEP students are integrated with EO/FEP students during PE and electives. Beginning and intermediate level LEP students are in core classes wit other students at the same English language level. Advanced LEP students are integrated with EO/FEP students during content classes: when LEP students are ready to be transitioned to mainstream classes, they are clustered together in core classes taught in English by teachers trained in second language acquisition. LEP students are integrated with EO/FEP students within the family structure. Because Spanish maintenance is promoted, many of the students in the Spanish Bilingual Program are FEP; there are English-dominant students in the program as well (from Buena Vista). In the strands for non-Spanish-speaking students, there is also integration with EO/FEP students. Student placement procedures vary by family, and time of integration varies (i.e., whether students stay with their strand for all core classes; whether students get re-grouped by English level for language arts, etc.) All students are integrated for electives and PE. Beginning LAMP students have minimal integration with non-LEP students (during electives and PE). Intermediate LAMP students are partially mainstreamed , so they're integrated in those classes as well. Advanced LEP students are fully mainstreamed except that they return to LAMP teachers for ESL instruction in place of language arts.

Table 13, continued

Assessment and Placement Practices The district plays a strong role in the assessment and reclassification of LEP students: the district assesses all students upon entry and counsels parents on their program choices. Students are reassessed annually for oral fluency, reading, and writing. Each year a representative of the district helps site-based committees review each LEP student's progress towards reclassification and mainstreaming. Assessment and reclassification is done by district assessment staff.

The district assessment staff review CTBS scores to identify students potentially ready to transition. A review of their SOLOM scores, grades and writing sample follows. The Assessment Center also uses the LAS.

There are five specified levels of English proficiency levels: levels 1-3 are determined primarily by LAS and SOLOM; levels 4-4 are determined by LAS, SOLOM, and CTBS.

Students are assessed annually according to district classification procedures. All Spanish-speaking LEP students are placed in the Spanish Bilingual Program. Chinese newcomer students are placed in the self-contained class; they are partially and then fully mainstreamed.

For racial balance purposes, FEP Latino students are often placed in the families with non-Spanish-speaking LEP students and FEP Asian students are often placed in families with the Spanish Bilingual strand.

Students who have another language other than English on their HLS are assessed on the Secondary Level English Language Proficiency Test (SLEP). If they do not score above 50; they take the reading and language arts subtests of a norm-referenced test (ITBS or NAPT). If they score below the 40th percentile, they are designated LEP; in that case they are placed by an LPACafter a review of all pertinent data and parent approval is obtainedinto the appropriate bilingual education/ESL program. An LPAC reassesses LEP student status annually.
Exit Criteria Once a student has been in the program for LEP students for three years, there is a January placement meeting at each school. The ESL teacher, primary language teacher, bilingual education department representative from the district, and principal review LEP students' progress. Both developmental and chronological age assessments are done. The bilingual department assist schools with mainstreaming strategies and with academic support for LEP students entering English classrooms. Each year, the district must submit an end-of-year report to the state Department of Education. After three years they must give a reason for continuing a LEP student in a LEP program. Common reasons include no prior schooling or absenteeism. In practice, it is not unusual for LEP students to spend a fourth year in the program. The exit criteria are set at the 35th Percentile Rank on CTBS reading, math, and language arts, and a passing score on an English writing sample. Exit criteria are based on the district requirements: 36% or better on CTBS; Cs or better; satisfactory performance on district writing assessment; a score of 4 or 5 on the oral test (IPT); and parent permission.

Spanish-speaking students can stay in the program with parent permission; parents are encouraged to keep their children in the program.

Chinese students exit the self-contained program long before they are reclassified. Once they are reclassified, they are no longer placed in the strand for non-Spanish-speaking LEP students.

Exit criteria are set according to the Texas Education Code: 40th percentile on both the reading and language arts subtests of a norm-referenced test or mastery of the English version of TAAS; evidence of oral language proficiency (a score of 50 or better on the SLEP); and meeting promotion standards on grade level. The LPAC must notify parents of students who exit programs. The LPAC will continue to monitor exited students for two years to determine whether or not the student is academically successful. Academic success is based on mastery of TAAS and passing grades. Students who are not academically successful may be recommended for a return to the bilingual/ESL program, compensatory education, or another program which addresses their needs.

Table 13, continued

Approach to Transition The teachers try to focus language development on students' experiences; drawing on their own experiences, students generate stories and develop vocabulary lists.

Students with minimal English skills are placed in the self-contained class all day; as students acquire English, they are partially and then fully transitioned. Mainstreamed students receive support from Creole-speaking staff through the after-school homework program.

The progression of classes to meet the needs of the various levels of LEP students (from primary language to sheltered to mainstream with teachers trained in language acquisition) provides the structural support for transition. The early level classes prepare students for transition; the trained mainstream teachers support the transition process.

After-school tutoring was identified by students as critical to their transition to mainstream classes.

Teacher training--most have LDS or bilingual credentials--and the familiarity of the family structure help to facilitate language development, including transition.

There is no programmatic change for Spanish-speaking LEP students, except advancing ESL levels.

Chinese students progress from the self-contained class, to partial mainstream, to full mainstream.

Students are immersed in English from the beginning, but the LAMP program has a well defined progression of courses: students start out taking all LAMP courses (including Spanish language arts) from teachers who are trained in language acquisition and content area instruction, as well as being bilingual; then students are partially mainstreamed during math and science. All LEP student are enrolled in an ESL/language arts block.
Program Design for Recent Immigrants Recent Haitian immigrants are placed directly into the bilingual class at the age-appropriate level. Recent immigrants are likely to be level ones in terms of English language proficiency. If they are Spanish speaking, they are placed in Spanish content area classes. If they are non-Spanish-speaking, they are placed in level one sheltered classes. In both cases, they are placed at the age-appropriate grade level and in the first level ESL class. Newcomer Spanish-speaking students are placed in the Spanish Bilingual Program; Newcomer Chinese students are placed in the self-contained class. Newcomer students with no English are placed in beginning LAMP classes within the beginning LAMP family.
Cultural Validation Teachers and counseling staff are able to speak to parents in Creole; there are ample displays throughout the schools on Haitian geography, history, language and current events. Student writing is published in Creole, as well as in English. The school sponsored a Haitian family day. They honor the Spanish language by having Spanish-speaking classified staff in the front office and other offices that deal with parents and families; by organizing multicultural events like a "World Fair;" or by using bilingual Family Resource Center staff to provide health, dental and social services. Faculty convey respect for the primary language of students by teaching core content in Spanish to Spanish-speaking LEP students. The school is currently attempting to add language resources for students who speak Southeast Asian languages. Teachers teach respect for diversity throughout the curriculum, particularly during Awareness Month. The development and maintenance of Spanish literacy shows respect for the home language of the students. 33% of the teachers in the school are Hispanic; 89% of the students are Hispanic. All home school-communication is bilingual. Community is very bicultural. Teachers make an effort to connect curricula to the experiences of the students.

[Table 12 Case Study Research Area #2B: Design and Implementation of the Reform at the Middle Grades Curriculum and Instruction] [Table of Contents] [Table 14 Case Study Research Area #3: Role of Research-Based Information at the Middle Grades]