Reopening Plan: Bilingual Education and World Languages

All English Language Learners (ELLs) enrolled at Niskayuna during COVID-related closure, over the summer 2020, or within the first 20 days of school opening, will be screened within 30 days of the start of school. After this 20-day flexibility period, potential ELLs will be screened within 10 days of enrollment. While the registrar’s office will continue to conduct the registration process online, in accordance with the May 13, 2020 New York State Education Department “Provision of Services to ELLs and World Language Students,” any in-person screening for new entrants will follow the district’s safety protocols to ensure compliance with the Governor’s Executive Orders and Center for Disease Control (CDC) health and safety guidelines after commencement of regional reopening. The 10-day screening requirement will apply to students enrolling in the district after October 6, 2020.

All ELLs will be provided with the required instructional Units of Study in their ENL program based on their most recently measured English language proficiency level as evidenced in their most recent New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) or their New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners (NYSITELL) assessment during in-person or hybrid learning. Former ELLs at the Commanding level of proficiency within two years of exiting ELL status will continue receiving Former ELL services in the form of Integrated ENL during in-person or hybrid learning. The English proficiency level of students who are entering their third year as a Former ELL at the Commanding level of proficiency in 2020-21 will be provided with supplemental Former ELLs services as necessary. 

All ELLs will be prioritized for on-site learning, if possible, giving special consideration to those who were not engaged during remote learning during the spring (based on the monitoring of contact time). This includes students with low attendance rates during on-site learning, Students with Interrupted Formal Education, Entering- and Emerging-level ELLs and Twice-Exceptional ELLs with IEPs. 

In alignment with Principle 1 of the NYS Blueprint for ELL/MLL Success (“All teachers are teachers of English Language Learners”), English as a New Language teachers will work alongside their content-area co-teachers to support ELLs, and students will receive both integrated and stand-alone instruction based on the Units of Study.  

Schools have the flexibility to provide additional units of study if they deem it necessary based on student need. This flexibility could take the form of additional ENL programming to address oral language development, writing and reading skills, and academic vocabulary development to provide more access to content.

The ENL Department and Director will meet regularly to promote coordination among ENL teachers and content area teachers for the delivery of in-person/hybrid and remote learning.

Communication with families of English Language Learners and Language Access

In alignment with Principle 5 of the NYS Blueprint for ELL/MLL Success (“Districts and schools value all parents and families of ELLs/MLLs as partners in education and effectively involve them in the education of their children by… engaging parents as active participants”), the district will maintain regular communication with the parents/guardians and other family members of ELLs to ensure that they are engaged in their children’s education during the reopening process. All communication for parents/guardians of ELLs will be in their preferred language. As was the case during the spring, all district communication regarding safety protocols and/or potential closings will be sent to individual families in their preferred language.

Interpretation and translation by a qualified interpreter/translator will continue to be provided for all ELLs and their families when needed, including, but  not limited to: online or on-site parent-teacher meetings, Language Proficiency Team Meetings, ENL family orientations, etc.