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English Learners

Smiling students posing

A welcoming place for students to learn

We believe that our language learners are essential members of the St. Croix Valley. They are a group of students that bring cultural, linguistic and experiential diversity to our classrooms. They are students who bring stories of difference that inspire a greater sense of empathy in others. They are students who bring divergent perspectives into our classrooms and communities. We are grateful that we have the opportunity to serve and learn from them.

The goal of the English learner (EL) program is to ensure that students have the social and academic language necessary to succeed at home, school, and in their community. 

Identification

Stillwater Area Public Schools follows MDE’s guidelines for English learner (EL) identification. English learners are first identified for potential services based on language indicators marked on the Minnesota Language Survey. This process is done upon initial enrollment to Stillwater Area Public Schools. EL staff screen students who have a primary language other than English to determine eligibility. Students are then placed in the program based on a qualifying score. 

Parent Notification 
Parents are notified of EL eligibility each school year. This notification includes: 

  • Program description 
  • Qualifying score 
  • Language proficiency 
  • An invitation to meet with EL staff/administrator 

Refusal of EL Services 
Parents have the right to decline EL services as is communicated in our yearly notification letter. They are encouraged to engage with EL staff as to any questions or concerns they have about EL programming.

Instruction

We deliver language instruction that works to meet the needs of our linguistically diverse students. English learner staff work to provide a responsive approach to language learning while addressing the content area needs of their students. Students with more basic levels of English receive more intense support and English instruction while students with more advanced levels of English receive more targeted and academic language instruction. Students that qualify for special education may receive EL services in conjunction with the services required by their IEP. 

SLIFE Identification (Students with limited, interrupted, formal education)
Students with limited interrupted formal education (SLIFE) make up an important subset of English learners. The Minnesota Learning English for Academic Proficiency and Success (LEAPS) Act defines SLIFE as an English learner with an interrupted formal education who meets three of the following five requirements:

  1. Comes from a home where the language usually spoken is other than English, or who usually speaks a language other than English.
  2. Enters school in the United States after grade 6.
  3. Has at least two years less schooling than the English learner’s peers.
  4. Functions at least two years below expected grade level in reading and mathematics.
  5. May be preliterate in the English learner’s native language. (Minn. Stat. § 124D.59, Subd. 2a)

Exit Criteria 

For students to be considered proficient on the ACCESS 2.0 for ELs test and to exit the EL program, a student must have at least a 4.5 overall composite score or higher AND three of the four domains (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) greater than or equal to 3.5. Parents will be notified when students reach a qualifying exit score.