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June 21, 2005

ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER NO.:    35                                        

POLICY CODE:   IHBEA

TO:                  Superintendents of Schools

FROM:           Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

RE:                   Eligible Districts Enrolling English Language Learners under Essential Programs and Services (EPS)                                   

      Title 20-A, under Chapter 2 of PL 2005 §15675(1) provides for a formula distribution of funds under EPS to support supplemental instruction provided to English language learners ( ELLs), also referred to as limited English proficient students.   For 2005-06, the formula for affected school districts has already been calculated.   For 2006-07 and thereafter, the process for determining eligibility will be different.   Hence, this administrative letter clarifies school administrative units’ statutory obligations for program approval through the Maine Department of Education, commencing 2006-07.

      Three requirements must be met to demonstrate evidence that school districts are eligible for EPS support for their ELLs:

  1. A current policy or procedure (since 2001) for providing instructional support to ELLs, commonly referred to as a Lau plan, must be filed with this Department.   Sample Lau plans may be viewed at www.maine.gov/education/esl.   Components of that plan generally include:

    1. Identification of non-English students who may be ELLs

    2. Assessment of ELLs annually through ACCESS for ELLs™ (or its screener for those ELLs entering school after the ACCESS testing window)

    3. Procedures for determining full English language proficiency and ELL program exit to mainstream content classrooms

    4. A two-year maximum for monitoring of exited ELLs

    5. District procedures on accommodations and alternate assessments for ELLs for the MEA, Grade Level Expectations assessments, and local assessment systems

    6. Procedures for accessing parents to school information in their native language

    7. Periodic program evaluation

    8. Compliance with No Child Left Behind Act in selection of approach to instructing ELLs, assessments, “making progress” in acquisition of English, professional development, and parental involvement.

  2. For school districts that enroll fifteen or more ELLs, direct instruction for all its ELLs is provided by a Maine certified teacher with an endorsement in English as a second language (ESL) or bilingual education (BE).   For Wabanaki language restoration or immersion programs, a tribally approved credential would be required.   For districts enrolling fewer than fifteen ELLs, direct instruction for its ELLs may be provided by a paraprofessional who is supervised by a Maine certified teacher with an endorsement in ESL or BE. The latter provision will occur only after the district can document (e.g., web or newspaper announcements) that it has exhausted all good faith efforts in recruiting an endorsed ESL or BE teacher for those students.

  3. State EPS funds apply only to ELLs who score at composite English proficiency Level V or lower on ACCESS for ELLs™ or the ACCESS for ELLs™ screener.

      Schools which enroll limited English proficient students may request assistance from Dr. Barney Bérubé of the Office of English Instruction for English language learners at the Maine Department of Education, #23 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0023. Phone 624-6772     FAX 624-6789 or e-mail: barney.berube@maine.gov.