Bellingham Public Schools

English Language Learners & Migrant Programs


Bellingham Public Schools is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to every student. The English Language Learners (ELL) Program is designed to accelerate English acquisition for students whose first language is not English and to further assist them in becoming successful learners in the regular classroom.

Program efforts are focused on students

  • Acquisition of Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) or survival English, for English Language Learners.
  • Development of Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP).

Program efforts are focused on the community by

  • Collaborating with the school to increase the sensitivity of school staff to the unique educational needs of English Language Learner (ELL) students and their families
  • Facilitating opportunities for parents of ELL students to develop home-school partnerships and to participate in school activities.

Delivery Model

The classroom teacher has the responsibility for the primary, direct instruction of English Language Learner eligible students. English Language Learner program resources are provided to supplement the ELL student's basic educational program. The purpose of this supplemental service is to teach English to non-English speaking students who qualify for services using the State guidelines.

The ELL Program provides services to students depending on the student's level of instructional need and the resources available. By participating in the ELL Program an ELL student may be assigned to participate in one or more of the following supports during the school year:

Outside the classroom

Students work with an ELL trained Instructional Assistant away from the regular classroom setting. Usually this occurs for a short period of time each day.  Specialized ELL materials are used to help students learn English. The ELL Consulting Teachers, in collaboration with the ELL Instructional Assistants, plan for the instruction. There is no coordination with the regular classroom teacher or the regular grade level curriculum during this time. The ELL Instructional Assistants work under the direction of the ELL Consulting Teachers.

Inside the classroom

Different levels of support can be delivered within the classroom setting:

  • Students in a content ELL program use a combination of ELL materials and regular classroom materials to learn conversational English while simultaneously developing academic skills. The classroom teacher designs lesson accommodations and modifications according to the English language needs of the student.

  • Monitored students work entirely under the direction of the classroom teacher. The classroom teacher is encouraged to seek support from the ELL Consulting Teachers or ELL Administrator.

Elementary and Middle School Services

In the elementary and middle schools, ELL students meet daily in small pull-out groups. These groups are organized by the student’s English Language needs. The groups develop skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Sheltered curriculum is used to support learning language and concepts of content areas (math, science, and social studies).

High School Services

High school students may be enrolled in:

  • Beginning ELL
  • Intermediate ELL
  • Sheltered English - 9th, 10th & 11th grades

For more information about the ELL and/or the Migrant program, please contact Amy Carder, Director of Teaching and Learning, at 360-676-6502.