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Providing meaningful support for English Learners and their families

The Douglas County School District celebrates the diversity of its students and provides academic, social-emotional, and community based support for its families. Approximately 3,400 English Learners attend school in Douglas County in grades K-12, and 97 languages are represented.  The top 6 languages in DCSD are Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Russian And Korean.
 

English as a Second Language
Douglas County School District’s English as a Second Language Department is committed to providing a World Class Education for English Learners resulting in globally competitive community members. Our priority is to support English Learners in gaining proficiency in English in order to communicate effectively, elicit critical thinking, work collaboratively and creatively, value and celebrate diversity, and to graduate with the motivation and ability to pursue higher education and/or competitively compete in and contribute to the global workforce.

English Learners (ELs) are served through a variety of programming options based on their individual needs using the Response to Intervention framework to guide decisions. Practices include collaboration, coaching, co-teaching and direct English language and content instruction. Intensity of services is determined using the collaborative problem-solving approach embedded in the RtI framework.  

Tier I Universal Classroom Instruction - Classroom teachers, content area specialists, and ESL specialists collaborate using a variety of instructional strategies to support language development and content growth throughout the school day.  

Tier II Targeted Instruction - ESL specialists or other support staff work with students in a small group setting to target the specific language development needs of the group.  At the secondary level, this may be facilitated through a specific course, such as Sheltered Language Arts or Social Studies.

Tier III Intensive instruction - ESL specialists work individually with students, such as newcomers, who require intensive support.

ESL and Content teachers make instructional decisions to ensure English language development and content learning occurs throughout the school day.  The role of the ESL Teacher is determined by the school’s needs on an individual and group level. All ELs have an English Language Learner Plan addressing individual student’s specific ELD needs. 

The district’s Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum (GVC) and Colorado Academic Standards/Common Core State Standards (CAS/CCSS) are integrated with the Colorado English Language Proficiency (CELP) standards and facilitated through differentiated instructional practices.  The goal is grade level performance and proficiency in English through additive services and instruction. Instructional decisions are not time-bound or based on time in the ESL program; rather on performance in both English language proficiency and academics.   

DCSD is committed to accurately identifying English Learners using the WIDA ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT) along with a student's body of evidence. Teachers monitor the language growth of English Learners using school based assessments and the annual ACCESS for ELLs test. Re-designating English Learners as Fluent English Proficient is determined using data gained from school based assessments, the annual ACCESS test, and a student's academic body of evidence.

Identification of ELs, monitoring their growth in English, and the re-designation of English Learners to Fluent English Proficient is required by State and Federal law.