ESL Services

"There is no equality of treatment merely by providing students with the same facilities, textbooks, teachers, and curriculum; for students who do not understand English are effectively foreclosed from any meaningful education."
LAU v. NICHOLS, 414 U.S. 563 (1974)
English as a Second Language (ESL) services in the Capital School District are offered to help students, whose dominant language is other than English, become fully English proficient and meet or exceed the academic standards set by the State of Delaware.


Program Goals

  1. Meeting the needs of our diverse English language learning (ELL) population.
  2. Bringing quality instructional support and resources that enable ELL students to progress academically in all content areas while learning English.
  3. Increasing the percentage of ELL students meeting or exceeding the standards on state-wide academic assessments. 
  4. Increasing the overall proficiency scores of ELL students on the annual English language proficiency assessments. 
  5. Improving communication with and between staff members, students, and outside community. 
  6. Providing professional support to teachers who have ELL students in their classroom. 

Who is an ELL?

An English language learning (ELL) student is a student who:
  • was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English and comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant, OR
  • is a Native American, or Alaska Native, or a native resident of the outlying areas and comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on such individual's level of English proficiency, OR
  • is migratory and whose native language is other than English and comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant, AND
  • has sufficient difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language, that may interfere with the student's opportunity to learn successfully in classrooms where the language of instruction is English, or to participate fully in society

ESL Identification Procedures

The students are identified as ELL through a home language survey and an English proficiency assessment according to the Delaware and U.S. DOE definitions. The criteria for identifying an LEP student include the Home Language Survey and the ACCESS assessment.

Home Language Survey
The Home Language Survey must be administered to parents of all new students in the Delaware schools. Each district has a question on the student enrollment form asking if another language other than English is spoken in the home. If the answer is "yes", the student may be ELL. The next step is to test the student using the W-APT or ACCESS (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State to State) test of English language proficiency. (DE DOE Guidelines, 2005).

ACCESS (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State to State)
The ACCESS test (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) is administered to students identified from the Home Language Survey.

ACCESS performance levels include:

  • Level 1 - Entering
  • Level 2 - Beginning
  • Level 3 - Developing
  • Level 4 - Expanding
  • Level 5 - Bridging

According to the Declaration of Rights for Parents of English Language Learners under No Child Left Behind, a parent or guardian must be notified when his or her child is identified and recommended for placement in a program for English language acquisition. Notification must include the reason for placement, the method of instruction and what is required for the child to exit the program. When the child enters school at the beginning of each school year, the school must let the parent know within 30 days if the child has been identified and recommended for placement in an English language acquisition program. If the child enters school during the school year and is recommended for placement in an English language acquisition program, the school must notify the parent within two weeks of the student's enrollment. School officials must notify parents of these options in a language or manner that they understand. The parent can also decline their child's enrollment in an English language acquisition program."

Small group instructional support for ELLs is provided by five (5) ESL teachers. ESL teachers also assist classroom teachers in determining grades for ELLs.

ELL students are invited and encouraged to attend after-school and summer school programs to supplement their English as a Second Language instruction.

Every year the DE Department of Education requires the annual English Language Proficiency Assessment to be administered to all ELL students to measure the level of their English proficiency that has been gained during the school year.

Students that have been formally identified as limited ELLs are eligible to test with accommodations on Smarter and DCAS assessments or be exempted from individual tests. 

The Capital School District is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions), national origin, citizenship or ancestry, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity, against victims of domestic violence, sexual offenses, or stalking, or upon any other categories protected by federal, state, or local law.  Inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies should be directed to the Title IX, District 504 and ADA Coordinators:  Capital School District, 198 Commerce Way, Dover DE 19904.  Phone (302) 672-1500