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English Language Learner KnowledgeBase for Administrators & Teachers

This KnowledgeBase archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.

The English Language Learner (ELL) KnowledgeBase for Administrators and Teachers is an online resource supporting both the administration, teaching and execution of programs for English learning students. It offers resources related to Office for Civil Rights (OCR) requirements and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Task 1: Understand and Review the Every Student Succeeds Act

Guideline: In 2015, President Obama signed the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. The U.S. Department of Education offers guidance on transitioning to the new law through letters, videos, and direct answers to questions from states.  

This bipartisan law reauthorizes the 50-year-old ESEA, the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. The new law builds on key areas of progress in recent years, made possible by the efforts of educators, communities, parents, and students across the country.





This U.S. Department of Education website offers a 2015 Peer Review Non-Regulatory Guidance of State Assessment Systems required to meet Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

Building Systems of Support for Excellent Teaching and Leading

This September 27, 2016 US Department of Education guidance shows it is critical that State educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) consider how to best use Title II, Part A funds, among other funding sources, to ensure equity of educational opportunity. New provisions in Title II, Part A of the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), offer new opportunities SEAs and LEAs to more effectively attract, select, place, support, and retain excellent educators; revisit traditional uses of these funds; and consider new and additional uses of Title II, Part A funds that are innovative and evidence-based.  Strategies outlined in this document, and examples of this work in action, can often be supported by other sources of funding as well, and should not be thought of as tools, policies or programs only made possible through the use of Title II, Part A funds.  This initial Title II, Part A guidance is not exhaustive; rather it highlights some of the new and important ways SEAs and LEAs can use their Title II, Part A funds more strategically and for greater impact.

CORE Case Study and Toolkit

This CORE Case Study and Toolkit - Transforming Education describes how California's CORE Districts created a groundbreaking data system that sees students as whole people, not just test scores. The case study provides an in-depth discussion of how social-emotional competencies—a key component of the CORE Districts—were prioritized and assessed. We conclude with lessons learned about the CORE Districts’ innovative system that can inform other next-generation assessment and continuous improvement efforts, including those catalyzed by ESSA.

Charter Schools Program (CSP) Non-Regulatory SEA Guidance

An updated version of the CSP nonregulatory guidance handbook is available, which addresses questions the Department has received regarding various provisions of the CSP authorizing statute (Title V, Part B of the ESEA). The new guidelines do not contain all of the information needed to comply with CSP requirements and other requirements of Federal law (including civil rights obligations), but provide guidance on the CSP and examples of ways to implement it. This Department of Education website includes: Dear Colleague Letters, downloadable PDFs, updated legislation, Title I requirements, and fund allotments.

Children in Foster Care

This June 2016 U.S. Department of Education non-regulatory document offers guidance with Ensuring Stability for children in Foster Care. Children and youth in foster care represent one of the most vulnerable student subgroups in the United States. Of the approximately 415,000 children in foster care in 2014, nearly 270,000 were in elementary and secondary schools. Studies find that children in foster care are much more likely than their peers to struggle academically and fall behind in school. Students in foster care at age 17 are also less likely to graduate from high school, with only 65 percent graduating by age 21, compared to 86 percent among all youth aged 18 to 24. A recent study found that children in foster care in California scored lower on assessments and showed less progress in scores over time compared to peers of similar backgrounds who were not in foster care.

ESSA Accountability

The School Superintendents Association developed this document with proposed regulations for ESSA Accountability.

ESSA Guidance Using Evidence to Strengthen Education Investments

This September 2017 U.S. Department of Education non-regulatory ESSA guidance document is designed to help state educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), schools, educators, partner organizations, and other stakeholders successfully choose and implement interventions that improve outcomes for students. Part I of this guidance reviews steps for effective decision-making and Part II of this guidance recommends considerations, resources, and criteria for identifying “evidence-based” interventions based on each of ESSA’s four evidence levels in Section 8101(21)(A).

Early Learning in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

This October 2016 U.S. Department of Education (ED) non-regulatory document offers guidance for Early Learning regarding ESSA. With ESEA law’s reauthorization through  ESSA, ED continues to build on the civil rights legacy of the original law by providing protections for our most vulnerable students and directing federal resources toward programs and strategies that help all students thrive. Early learning is woven throughout ESEA, as amended by the ESSA, as a means of addressing education equity in order to eliminate disparities in student achievement and support students’ school success. With this reauthorization, ESEA has been transformed from a K–12 education law to one which envisions a preschool through 12th grade continuum of learning. 

Education of Homeless Children and Youth

This July 2016 U.S. Department of Education non-regulatory document offers guidance for the Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program authorized under Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq.) (McKinney-Vento Act). The McKinney-Vento Act was originally authorized in 1987 and most recently re-authorized in December 2015 by ESSA. The McKinney-Vento Act is designed to address the challenges that homeless children and youths have faced in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school. This particularly vulnerable population of children has been increasing; from the 2006-2007 school year to the 2013-2014 school year. Under the McKinney-Vento Act, State educational agencies (SEAs) must ensure that each homeless child and youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as other children and youths. Homeless children and youths must have access to the educational and related services that they need to enable them to meet the same challenging State academic standards to which all students are held. In addition, homeless students may not be separated from the mainstream school environment. SEAs and local educational agencies are required to review and undertake steps to revise laws, regulations, practices, or policies that may act as barriers to the identification, enrollment, attendance, or success in school of homeless children and youths.

Educational Services for Immigrant Children and Those Recently Arrived in the United States

This Department of Education Fact Sheet, dated August 2014, is designed to impart information to states and local educational agencies involving providing educational services for all immigrant children, and especially immigrant children from Central America who have recently crossed into the United States via the Mexican border. As stated on the website, "Recent data reports there were more than 840,000 immigrant students in the United States and more than 4.6 million English learners." This fact sheet addresses educational services protected by law for immigrant children, migrant children and unaccompanied children whether they are residing in Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shelters, foster care, or homeless.

Expanding the Definition of Student Success Under ESSA

Opportunities to Advance Social-Emotional Mindsets, Skills, and Habits for Today’s Students: Signed into law on December 10, 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) presents education leaders with a unique opportunity to expand the definition of student success. Compared to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, ESSA empowers states to make more of the critical decisions related to accountability, school improvement, education spending, and public reporting. This resource offers an Executive Summary and White Paper that defines ESSA.

Guide to Supporting Undocumented Youth

Many educators, counselors, and school leaders have expressed interest in learning how to better support all children so that they can achieve educational and economic success – regardless of actual or perceived immigration status. Informed by research and promising practices, the U.S. Department of Education has compiled this October 2015 Resource Guide to assist and enhance State and local efforts to support undocumented youth at the secondary and postsecondary school levels. The U.S. Department of Education hopes that educators, schools, and campuses will, as they see fit, draw upon the tips and examples in this Guide to better support undocumented youth and move us closer to the promise of college and career readiness for all.

Migrant Students

This U.S. Department of Education website provides non-regulatory guidance for serving Migrant Students.

Parent and Family Engagement Provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

LEAs must ensure meaningful communication with LEP parents in a language they can understand and adequately notify LEP parents of information about any program, service, or activity of an LEA or state that is called to the attention of non-LEP parents. This January 2016 brief provides advocates with a full overview of the ESSA's requirements, and opportunities for parent, family and community engagement.

Supporting School Reform by Leveraging Federal Funds in Schoolwide Programs

This September 2016 non-regulatory guidance document from the U.S. Department of Education shows that under ESSA, schoolwide programs remain a key tool for using Title I funds to improve academic achievement and enable a school to more effectively leverage Federal funds to upgrade its entire educational program. This document explains how operating a schoolwide program under Title I can be beneficial to LEAs and schools as they explore how to most effectively leverage their local, State, and Federal funds in order to promote school reforms and raise student achievement.



AASA's ESSA Resource Library

This is a link to the AASA (The School Superintendents Association) Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) resources page. Designed with a focus on supporting school superintendents in their efforts to understand and implement ESSA. These resources are focused on both explaining the law and ensuring school superintendents are a go-to source for information on what’s in the law, what it means for schools and the variety of things all stakeholders must consider as they navigate the new federal law. This is a living page and our resources will be continually updated and expanded.

Parent Involvement

Having parents play a significant role in their child's experience with the ELL program requires planning by the school's teachers and administrators. This document summarizes the primary issues that should be addressed.

Two-Way Immersion

This Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) resource provides downloadable materials about two-way immersion programs in English and Spanish language versions.

What Will ESSA Mean for English Learners

This is the first in a series of posts via AIR (American Institute for Research) about ESSA’s implications for student subgroups. Over the past few decades, English learners (ELs) have become an increasingly significant student population, outpacing the demographic growth of non-EL students by more than 40 percent nationwide and growing by as much as 800 percent in some states.  ESSA’s Title III requires states to implement standardized, statewide procedures for identifying ELs (“entrance procedures”) and for determining when special language services are no longer needed (“reclassification procedures”). States must also dis-aggregate English learners with a disability from English learners without disabilities. Both measures are critical for monitoring EL progress.

The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and are intended for general reference purposes only. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education or the Center, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Some resources on this site require Adobe Acrobat Reader. This website archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.