Program Options

We offer families of English Language Learners three programs that help their children learn English. The three programs are:

  • Dual language
  • Transitional Bilingual Education
  • English as a New Language.

If your child’s current school does not offer the program you selected, the school can help transfer your child to a school that offers the program of your choice. Explore which Bilingual Programs are available in schools

Dual Language

The dual language program teaches students in two languages: English and their home language, such as Spanish, Chinese, or Arabic, among others. The home language and English are used equally. The goal of this program is for students to be able to read, write, and speak in both English and their home language. Classes are made up of both English Language Learners who share the same home language and English proficient students. The goal of the program is for students to learn how to speak, read, understand, and write in two languages, and also learn about and appreciate other cultures.

Transitional Bilingual Education

The transitional bilingual education program provides reading, writing, and other classes in English and in the student’s home language. As students’ English improves, more time is spent learning in English and less time is spent learning in their home language. The goal of this program is to support students' in their home language while they fully transition to an English-only instruction class. Classes are made up of students with the same home language.

English as a New Language

In an English as a New Language (ENL) program teachers work with the students to build their speaking, writing, reading and listening skills in English using supports in the students’ home language. The goal of the program is to support students as they become English proficient. There are two types of English as a New Language programs:

  • Integrated ENL: Students receive core content area areas (English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and/or Mathematics) and English language development instruction including home language supports and appropriate ELL scaffolds.
  • Stand-alone ENL: Students receive English language development instruction taught by a New York State certified ESOL teacher in order to acquire the English language needed for success in core content areas (English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and/or Mathematics).

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my child learn English if he or she is using our home language often?

A common concern is that students will be confused when learning in two languages. Research has shown that there is no language confusion. Using a student’s home language is the best way for them to develop English. Students who learn in two languages develop mental flexibility that helps them learn in powerful ways.

What kind of lessons should I expect in bilingual programs?

Students get part of their instruction in English and part in the home language, but the content is the same as in classrooms that are English-only. Students learn subjects such as math, science, and social studies in two languages. A student who is bilingual can listen, speak, read, and write in both English and the home language. Skills in one language transfer to the second language. When a student has strong skills in the home language, those skills transfer to the second language.

How do I learn more about programs for my child?

All New York State schools must hold meetings for families of newly enrolled English Language Learners.

During that meeting, families:

  • Are informed about the different programs available for English Language Learners in their schools or district.
  • Get information and materials about the programs.
  • Are able to ask questions about services, with assistance from an interpreter, if needed.

At the end of the meeting, parents:

  • Fill out a form to confirm that you have the information you need to make decisions for your child.
  • Receive an English Language Learner Student Placement form that you will use to tell us which program you want your child to be placed in.

When can my child leave English Language Learner programs?

There are three ways students can end their English Language Learner status:

  • For students in grades kindergarten to twelve, students must score at the Commanding/Proficient level on the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test.
  • For students in grades three to eight, students must score at the Expanding/Advanced level on the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test and must score three points or above on the New York State English Language Arts assessment in the same year.
  • For grades nine to twelve, students must score at the Expanding/Advanced level on the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test and 65 points or above on the Regents Exam in English in the same year.

Once your child has ended their English Language Learner status, they become a Former English Language Learner. Former English Language Learners are allowed to receive two years of support.

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