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H314 - Lau Plan

Policy H314: Lau Plan

The Hancock School Committee is committed to meeting the needs of students with limited English Proficiency.  The LAU Plan derives its name from the 1974 U.S. Supreme Court case, Lau v. Nichols.  The subsequent decision upheld Title VI and required school districts to provide special assistance to limited English proficiency (LEP) students who were unable to benefit from an educational program conducted primarily in English.  This Plan addresses appropriate educational practices for LEP students and includes components dealing with identification, assessment, placement, and exit criteria.

A.   Legal Requirements

1.     School systems must identify all students for whom English is an additional language who have, or may have, difficulty performing ordinary class work in English, and who can not learn or achieve on parity with their English-dominant peers.

2.     Any specially designed support or instructional program shall be consistent with all Federal acts and mandates, related Federal regulations and court cases as well as Maine State acts, mandates and policies, which relate to the education of LEP and language minority students (LMS).

3.     This instructional program should be based on second language (L2) acquisition pedagogy and sound educational practices for meeting the individual needs of LEP students.  The burden of proof is upon the district that the instructional program designed for an LEP student has clearly developed English language skills of comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing necessary for learning and achieving in English-only instruction at a level substantially equivalent to pupils whose first language (L1) is English.  (Castaneda v. Pickard, 648 F2d 989-5th Circuit – 1981)

4.     School systems which provide English language development programs to LEP students shall reclassify students from LEP to fully English proficient (FEP) by specific multi-criteria reclassification procedures.  (Rios v. Read, 73 F.R.D. 595 (E.D.N.Y. – 1977) (Cintron v. Brentwood, E.D.N.Y #77-C- 1370)

B.    Terms

1.     ACCESS: Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State

2.     BICS: Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills

3.     CALP: Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency

4.     EL Teacher: English Language Teacher

5.     ELL: English Language Learner

6.     ESLC: English as a Second Language Coordinator

7.     HLS: Home Language Survey

8.     ILP: Individual Learning Plan

9.     L1: First Language

10.  L2: Second Language

11.  LAC: Language Assessment Committee

12.  LEP: Limited English Proficiency

13.  W-APT: World Class Instructional Design Access Placement Test

14.  For the purposes of this Procedure, “parent” shall refer to “parent and/or legal guardian.”

C.    Language Assessment Committee (LAC)

1.     The LAC is a group of Hancock Grammar School staff members who meet to monitor, evaluate, and improve a plan of instruction and assessment for LEP students.

a.     LAC members may include at least the following:

The Principal

The ELL Teacher

The student’s classroom teacher(s)

A school counselor

b.     The English as a Second Language Coordinator (ESLC) and the EL teachers meet monthly to oversee the district ELL program.

c.     Responsibilities of the EL teacher/LAC Committee shall include:

2.     EL Teacher

a.     Determine meeting needs;

b.     Review home language survey (HLS) to be sure that all LEP students have been identified, and create a language-assessment file for each identified student;

c.     Notify parents, in a language they comprehend, of dates and nature of upcoming English proficiency testing;

d.     Annually administer ACCESS (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State), using data to make decisions about appropriate ELL programming;

e.     Be a resource for school staff by providing information about LEP students and ELL; and

f.      Carry out periodic review for two (2) years after the student has exited the ELL program.

3.     LAC

a.     Meet on a regular basis to monitor English Language Learner (ELL) student’s language and academic progress; and

b.     Make recommendations for placement and program type for next school year and discuss direction and instructional objective for the ELL instructor.

4.     ESLC & EL Teachers

a.     Recommend revisions and additions for the LAU Plan to the School Committee

b.     Recommend modifications of ELL support services or exiting a student from the program because he/she is FEP.

D.   Identification of Students

1.     Identification of LEP in Hancock Grammar School may be accomplished based upon any of the following methods:

a.     Results of the HLS completed by the parent/guardian and reviewed by the EL teacher of new kindergarten students and newly transferring students at the time of registration;

b.     Teacher referral;

c.     Parent referral;

d.     Student self-referral; or

e.     Previous school records.

2.     Once a child has been identified, a W-APT (World Class Instructional Design Access Placement Test) will be administered to determine the child’s basic interpersonal communication skills and cognitive academic language proficiency.  The assessment will include listening, speaking, reading, and writing in an academic setting.  Additional tools may include:

a.     Previous school records;

b.     Observation of the child in the classroom and informal settings;

c.     Interviews with the parent Testing will be administered by the EL Teacher.

3.     The LAC will review the above assessment and make decisions regarding:

a.     The need for a structured language support program;

b.     The most appropriate program to meet the student’s needs; and

c.     The Individual Learning Plan (ILP) for the child. 

E.    Student Placement into an ELL Program

An ILP will be developed for each Hancock Grammar School student who is determined to be ELL.  The type of program developed will depend on the particular needs of the student, but the following principles will apply:

1.     Using ACCESS for ELLs, the EL teacher will assess the student to determine placement;

2.     Instruction will be provided during the regular school hours only, with exceptions only upon recommendation of the LAC;

3.     Students will be mainstreamed into regular classes as much as possible, providing the learning experience can be successful;

4.     The ILP will be developed by the EL teacher and reviewed by each student’s LAC as needed;

5.     Instructional materials will be provided on an as-needed basis;

6.     Until the student is FEP, alternative grading procedures will be in effect: either non-grading, a pass/fail system, or a combination of the above plus traditional grades in subjects in which the student is able to participate;

7.     Parents will be involved as much as possible in program planning;

8.     Peer helpers will be utilized;

9.     LEP/ELL students will be encouraged to share culture and language with the regular classroom to the degree that they are comfortable. 

F.    Second Language (L2) acquisition

1.     The two components of L2 acquisition are Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP).  These two components encompass many skills, abilities, and cognitive demands.  If L2 learners are to be FEP, they must attain proficiency in both these components.  Within each component there are continua of cognitively demanding, cognitively undemanding tasks and context embedded, and context reduced tasks that an ELL must be able to perform to be proficient in that component.  ELL instructors may tailor-make instructional activities to assist students in working on the skills in each component. 

2.     Research has been conducted on the rate at which L2 learners acquire the two components.  Many variables contribute to the rapidity with which a learner would acquire the two components.  Those variables include age of child; previous schooling in the L1; was schooling interrupted; mastery of literacy skills in the L1; maintenance of the L1 in the home; length of residence in the US; family value of education; amount and quality of bilingual instruction in previous schooling; amount and quality of ELL instruction in previous schooling.  Under the optimal conditions, it can take up to two years for a student to acquire BICS and from five to seven years to acquire the CALP.  The ideal age for a child to begin learning an L2 is between the ages of 8 and 11. 

3.     Parents need to be apprised of this information so that they can have realistic expectations of the instructional programs and of their children.  It will also help them to advocate effectively for their children in the school setting. 

4.     Mainstream teachers and administrators also need to be apprised of this information so that they, too, can help provide an appropriate and effective structured language support program with realistic expectations for ELL children.  The assessment of the ELL must take into account the two components of language proficiency.  It is not enough for a child to have acquired the BICS component; that child may have difficulty with the cognitive-academic demands of the school which may result in unnecessary failure.

G.   ILP Exit Criteria

A multi-criteria assessment will be made when developing an ILP, reclassifying a student to FEP, or when transferring the student to another instructional program.  Multi-criteria assessment will consist of the following:

1.     Teacher evaluations – Relevant staff will evaluate the ELL’s proficiency by observing the student’s oral language in both formal and informal settings.

2.     The EL teacher will annually use ACCESS for ELL’s to determine the student’s progress.  Results of the ACCESS for ELL’s will be used to determine if a student is “making progress” in the acquisition of English in accordance with the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA).  If a student earns a score of 6 (six) on the ACCESS, they will be LEP designated.

3.     All of the student’s assessment scores will be used to evaluate the student.

a.     Accommodations and alternate assessments will be determined by the LAC, and recorded in the LAC minutes.

b.     Assessment scores will be used to develop an ILP in compliance with the NCLBA.

4.     After a student is reclassified as FEP, the student will be monitored and/or reviewed on a regular basis for two years.

5.     Parents will be notified in an understandable language of the following:

a.     Their child’s progress and classification; and

b.     Their legal rights regarding their child’s program.

6.     All ELL services from the Hancock School Department will terminate upon the student’s graduation.

H.   Record Keeping

1.     In all of the procedures involving the identification, assessment, provision of services, and exit from services of language minority children, thorough record keeping must be implemented and maintained.  Such record keeping is necessary to keep track of the components of the ILP and the child’s progress within it.  The file is also a valuable source of information for the program evaluation.  It the child moves to a different school, the information in the file can help the new teacher to set up a language support program more expeditiously.

2.     The file is also a valuable tool for illustrating the Hancock School Department’s commitment to quality programming for LEP children.  Ideally, a file would consist of:

a.     All test scores pertaining to program decisions;

b.     Writing samples completed by the student;

c.     ILPs (with program goals and objectives) and outcomes;

d.     A copy of the HLS that initially identified the child as a LEP;

e.     Time line of LAC meetings;

f.      Recommendations for reclassification or exit from program; and

g.     Online grades. 

3.     The EL teacher will maintain the file.

I.      Grade Level Placement and Retention

1.     To determine appropriate grade level placement, the LAC will evaluate the following information:

a.     The child’s chronological age;

b.     The child’s educational background; and

c.     The child’s English Language Proficiency (ELP) level.

2.     As a general rule, grade level retention is advisable only when an ELL is lagging behind peers socially and emotionally.  It stands to reason that the ELL will not be on grade level academically until he/she has had the opportunity to acquire the English skills necessary for success.  It is not appropriate to retain a student solely for the reason of LEP due to the fact that the child has unique needs and must be given time from grade level to grade level to acquire ELP.  The acquisition of an L2 for cognitive/academic proficiency can take from five to seven years under optimal circumstances.

3.     If an ELL is referred for retention, the LAC should be included in the process to ensure that ELP is not the sole reason for the referral.


Adopted:  6/17/14