Multilingual learners refers to students who have consistent experience with multiple languages. These students may have a current proficiency level in English that qualifies them for additional language support through the Washington State Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program (TBIP). The goal of the program is to assist students in developing their English language proficiency and grade-level content knowledge at the same time.

Mission Statement: Bellingham’s multilingual learners program is dedicated to building capacity at the district, school, and classroom level to ensure that students develop English language proficiency and content knowledge in an environment where linguistic and cultural assets are recognized as valuable resources to learning.

Our model for English Language Development is Sheltered Instruction/Content-Based Instruction. This is an approach for teaching students using specific strategies to make academic subjects comprehensible and accessible while promoting the students’ English language development. This English Language Development support is received by all multilingual students in their classrooms, though individual or small group support is also available as needed. Some specific instructional models that are implemented in Bellingham Public Schools are SIOP, Project GLAD, and Thinking Maps.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do students qualify?

All students who register with a school in Washington state are asked to fill out a Home Language Survey that identifies their primary language.  When a student has identified a language other than English as their first language, they will be given a state-approved language proficiency placement test within ten days of their enrollment to determine qualification.

How are students assessed, and what is the ELPA21?

The English Language Proficiency Test for the 21st Century or ELPA21 is an assessment that measures multilingual learners’ command and mastery of the rigorous academic standards in the domains of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

How long do students stay in the program?

Students who reach Level 4 and/or Level 5 in all areas (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) on the annual ELPA21 English language proficiency test transition out of the program for the next school year. The ELPA21 is administered every year in February-March. Students who transition out of the program are monitored for another two years to ensure they remain academically successful.

When students arrive in Bellingham from another country, how are they placed in Bellingham schools? 

Students of all English language proficiency levels are placed in classrooms according to age-group. This is in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects the rights of students with limited English language proficiency (LEP) to equal access of programs and activities receiving Federal funds. It is a violation of students’ rights if LEP students are retained in grade for failure to demonstrate basic skills in English.

What are the standards for multilingual learners?

Multilingual learners are taught and assessed on their grade level standards in Language Arts, Math, Science, and other content areas. There are also English Language Proficiency Standards that are used by specialists and other teachers to understand what students at different levels of English proficiency should be able to do.

Elementary Specialists

The elementary specialists position includes three areas of support.

Teacher Support

Specialists facilitate whole group, small group and individual professional development to support the implementation of Sheltered Instruction strategies, such as Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) or Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) for students. In addition, specialists provide on-going support through co-teacher, co-planning, instructional coaching, consulting, and collaborative assessment.

Student Support

Although the primary responsibility for language instruction resides with the classroom teacher, specialists work within the school’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) teams to provide and/or facilitate language interventions for those students most in need.

Family Support

We partner with the Family Engagement Department works to provide support to staff in the areas of communication, translation and cultural competency. The team supports efforts in every school to engage all families and students actively through phone calls, conferences, home visits and school events.

Secondary Specialists

The secondary specialists provide support in three areas.

Teacher Support

Specialists facilitate whole group, small group and individual professional development to support the implementation of Sheltered Instruction strategies, such as Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) or Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) for students. In addition, specialists provide on-going support through co-teacher, co-planning, instructional coaching, consulting, and collaborative assessment.

Student Support

ELL specialists teach English Language Development (ELD) classes for beginning students and academic support classes for intermediate and long-term English learners. In addition, specialists provide targeted interventions in language and math for students most in need.

Family Support

Specialists partner with the Department of Family Engagement to provide support to staff in the areas of communication, translation and cultural competency. The team supports efforts in every school to engage all families through phone calls, home visits and school events.

 

 

Amy Carder
Director of Teaching and Learning
Summer Ostlund
Administrative Assistant
360-676-6502

 

Quick links:

Department of Family Engagement 

Title III Native American Program