It is the responsibility of every member of the Lowell Public Schools to provide all ELs with equitable opportunities for access to programs that enable them to reach their full potential.
Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 71A defines an English Learner as “a child who does not speak English or whose native language is not English, and who is unable to do ordinary classroom work in English without assistance or support.” The term “English learner” as used in the current state laws and the term “limited English proficient (LEP) student”, as used in the previous version of the State Laws (the Transitional Bilingual Education statute), are interchangeable terms.
The primary goal of the English Language Education Program is to provide a quality, research-based educational program that ensures the success of language minority students in meeting federal, state, and local standards for academic performance. This success ultimately leads to high school graduation and opportunities for continuing education. While the goal of this program is based on the belief that given the appropriate educational tools and time, all students can learn and achieve to high levels, the program is also supported by the mandates as amended by Every Student Succeed Act of 2016 (ESSA) and the LOOK Act of 2017.
To achieve these goals, the Lowell Public Schools will:
- Identifies and places ELs into educational programs according to federal and state regulations that will incorporate the use of English Language Proficiency Standards and that they include both English Language Development instruction and sheltered content instruction.
- Provides a comprehensive English Language Development Program for its ELs that will address the listening, speaking, reading, and writing standards outlined in the Massachusetts Common Core Standards and WIDA ELD Standards.
- Provides its English ELs with grade level academic sheltered content instruction that is designed to make content instruction delivered in English more accessible for students at the intermediate or higher level of English language acquisition.
- Aligns curriculum in all subject areas with state curriculum frameworks, WIDA ELD Standards for ELs, and federal standards.
- Conducts ongoing assessment of ELs’ content knowledge and English language development to evaluate academic growth, determines appropriate program placement, and complies with state and federal requirements.
- Provides a high-quality program of professional development for all teachers to ensure the consistent, systemic use of best practices for ELs in both general education and English Language Education Program courses. These professional development opportunities specifically target the skills and knowledge identified as needed to deliver sheltered content instruction.
- Provides content-specific professional development for teachers in order to embed best practices for ELs into these content classes.
- Ensures consistent and systemic supervision and evaluation of instructional programs and classroom practices.