English Language Development


This handbook provides multilingual families and New Hope-Solebury School District (NHSD) staff a guide for effectively supporting the education of English Learners. The handbook has been developed to:

  • Serve as a reference tool to clarify policies, administrative procedures, and program requirements.

  • Offer guidance in implementing instructional programs and strategies that best serve the needs of English Learners.

  • Assist administrators and teachers in implementing effective Language Instruction Educational Programs for ELs.


Director of Education  
Dr. Amanda Benolken
Email Amanda Benolken 

English Language Development Teachers

Program Goal and Philosophy

New Hope-Soleburys’s Language Instructional Educational Program (LIEP) supports students for whom English is not their first language/home language as well as Districts to provide ESSA-aligned Language Instruction Education Programs and best practices for English Learners. The LIEP Department of NHSD lies within the Education Office.

NHSD’s ELD Teachers each hold Level I or Level II PA Teaching Certifications as well as an ESL Specialist certification. Teachers use a variety of curricular materials, including district programs when applicable and appropriate. Level of support is determined by the District and/or placement school with input from the LIEP teacher.

The goal of New Hope-Solebury School District's LIEP program is to support the needs of their multilingual learners. Our LIEP Teachers assist each student in achieving and growing their individual English proficiency as well as to support their acculturation to a new culture, when applicable. The philosophy of the Language Instruction Educational Program of NHSD is based on the following principles:


NHSD’s ELD Department will positively impact student success by supporting students in their English language acquisition achievement and growth.


  1. Language acquisition takes approximately one to two years for conversational skills and five to seven years for academic language proficiency.

  2. Language proficiency is acquired through active, functional, and meaningful participation.

  3. Language is acquired in an atmosphere of trust, acceptance, high expectations, and support.

  4. Acquisition must be built on the students’ previous experiences and knowledge.

  5. The skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing are interdependent and reinforce each other in language acquisition.

  6. Teachers, students, and parents working together in an environment of mutual respect are imperative to the language acquisition process.


English Learner (EL): students whose first language or primary home language is not English and who are in the process of learning English (refers to the students, whereas ESL refers to the program).

English Language Development (ELD): a required component of all language instruction programs (LIEPs). ELD takes place daily throughout the day for ELs and is delivered by both ESL and non-ESL teachers.

English as a Second Language (ESL): A program of techniques, methodology and special curriculum designed to teach EL students English language skills, which may include listening, speaking, reading, writing, linguistical features, study skills, content vocabulary, and cultural orientation.

Home Language Survey (HLS): The home language survey (HLS) is a questionnaire given to parents or guardians that helps schools and Districts identify which students are potential ELs and who will require assessment of their English language proficiency (ELP) to determine whether they are eligible for language assistance services.

Immigrant Student: A student between the ages of 3 and 21 years old, not born in any US state (including Puerto Rico or the District of Columbia), and has not attended one or more schools in any one or more states for more than 3 full academic school years.

Limited English Proficiency (LEP): Students with limited proficiency in English (as determined by WIDA Screener, WIDA ACCESS, and other local diagnostic tests).

Language Instruction Educational Program (LIEP): An academic discipline designed to teach English Learners social and academic language skills and cultural aspects of English in order to succeed academically; it involves teaching listening, speaking, reading, and writing at appropriate developmental and proficiency levels. There are six program models defined by PDE.

LIEP Pull-Out: English as a Second Language program model in which English Learners are pulled out of mainstream classrooms in order to receive specific instruction in the development of conversational and academic English.

Long-Term English Learner (LTEL): An English learner (EL) student who has been enrolled in a U.S. school for six years or more and has not been reclassified as fluent English proficient.

Migrant Education: Pennsylvania's Migrant Education Program (PA-MEP) is a federally funded program that supplements educational support services for migratory children. The PA-MEP assists school districts and charter schools in coordinating the continuity of educational services for children who have had their schooling interrupted, and provides formula grants to state educational agencies to establish or improve education programs for migrant children.

Migrant Student: A child age 3-21 who has moved across a school district line with/or to join a migrant parent or guardian, or on their own, within the preceding 36 months, in order to obtain temporary or seasonal employment in qualifying agricultural or fishing work including agri-related businesses such as meat or vegetable processing.

Multilingual Learner (ML): Children and adults who use multiple languages on a regular basis in school and in contexts outside of school.

Primary or Home Language Other Than English (PHLOTE): All students identified through the HLS as PHLOTE are placed following the family interview and/or testing at which time a determination is made as to placement as Current EL, Monitor, Former EL, or Never EL.

Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE): English learners who have experienced interrupted education due to war, civil unrest, migration, or other factors; who have never had the opportunity to participate in any type of schooling before entering school in the United States; or who have experienced limited education in their home countries due to lack of resources or trained teachers, the type of schooling they participated in, or other circumstances.

WIDA: Organization that provides the PA ELD assessments for both placement and language proficiency.

WIDA ACCESS: The annual state English proficiency assessment administered to measure English Language Development (ELD).

WIDA Screener: The assessment to help determine English language proficiency and identify English Learners

Educators of ELs and Responsibilities

Teachers who provide instruction in a Language Instructional Educational Program (LIEP) are approved and hired as teachers by the New Hope-Solebury School District Board of Directors. Teachers educating in specialized English language development programs and who provide ELD instruction must hold a current Pennsylvania Instructional I or II certificate and complete or be evaluated by the Department of Education as having met the state required LIEP training components as offered through the approved LIEP state training providers. Any teacher who provides instruction and a grade for any non-ELD course or class must be appropriately certified in accordance with PDE requirements, i.e., a teacher who holds an instructional certificate in English Language Arts (ELA) and an ESL Program Specialist Certificate may provide either ELD/ESL or ELA instruction to, and a grade for, an EL, but may not provide instruction in, or a grade for, any other subject. That teacher may, however, provide support in instruction in the language of another content area (e.g., mathematics, social studies, science, etc.), but may not provide a grade for that content. Furthermore, the language instruction may not supplant that content in the student’s schedule.

The role of an LIEP Teacher embodies these essential functions:

  • Increasing English language proficiency through the instructional alignment of the PA Academic and English Language Development Standards.

  • Guiding English Learners (ELs) toward gaining knowledge and skills socially, culturally and academically.

  • Performing instructional duties related to the organization and implementation of an English language instructional program that will result in the students’ academic success.

  • Assists in the identification and instructional placement of ELs through the administration of required federal, state, and local policies, procedures, guidance and assessments.

  • Collaborates with parents, colleagues, school personnel, and other appropriate individuals regarding the educational needs of English learners.

  • Works and communicates effectively, both orally and in writing, with students, parents, school personnel, NHSD LIEP supervisor and other professionals to plan appropriate instruction and meet student needs.

  • Collaborate with school staff to create culturally relevant experiences for students.

  • Maintains accurate, complete, and correct records for submission as required by the federal, state, and local law, NHSD and contracting educational entities’ policy procedures.

  • Maintains and completes Act 48 requirements as directed by the PA Department of Education and keeps abreast of the current trends in the profession.

  • Attends in-services, staff meetings, professional development opportunities, open houses, and other activities required by the administration and in collaboration with the educational entity.

  • Take on-line training and pass all quizzes needed to administer the WIDA Screener/ACCESS for ELs/PSSA/Keystone assessments. Each year, LIEP Teachers will be re-certified in order to administer the speaking portion of the WIDA Screener.

Professional Development

LIEP teachers will engage in professional development opportunities, staff meetings, in-services, and other activities throughout the school year as required by the District. 

Professional development topics are relevant, current, and/or required. LIEP Teachers maintain knowledge of current trends in education and research-based pedagogy.

Materials for Instruction

  • New Hope-Solebury School District’s Core Curriculum for English Language Arts and Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies

  • Imagine Language & Literacy 

  • Reading A-Z, ELL Edition of Learning A-Z 

  • TEAM Toolkits: Teaching ELs for Academic Language Mastery

  • Wilson Fundations in elementary grades 

  • Digital Tools: FlipGrid, Quizlet, Formative, ISL Collective 

  • Conferences and courses available from colleges, universities, on-line programs, PDE, other intermediate units, and national associations

  • Publications and resources of PDE

  • Local District program materials (at request of district/school administration)

The LIEP Program: Identifying, Screening, and Placing PHLOTES

This section will discuss the role of NHSD in identification, screening, and placement in relation to the responsibilities of Districts. PDE has a statewide process for districts to use when identifying newly enrolling students as ELs in both Pre-K and K-12. These documents can be found on the PDE EL webpage for Screening, Identification, and Placement.

The District personnel responsible for registering students must have parent(s)/guardian(s) complete a home language survey (HLS). The HLS is a part of the registration process for every child entering the District, as required by the Office of Civil Rights. Building registration personnel should notify the appropriately identified staff/administration when any language other than English has been noted on the HLS, or if they feel a family is in need of assistance in completing forms due to language concerns. Additionally, an appropriately identified staff/administrator should also conduct a family interview to determine if the student is potentially an EL, using an interpreter if necessary. HLS are placed in student permanent files. Parent permission to identify students as ELs, including screening for English language proficiency is NOT required.

Upon completion of the HLS and family interview, the District may choose to: conduct student screening and placement independently or contact the NHSD LIEP supervisor to arrange screening and consult on student placement. The NHSD LIEP teacher will use the WIDA Screener to determine need/eligibility and LIEP instructional level placement. If the student is identified as an EL, NHSD may provide the ESL instruction when requested by the District.

Following the screening, parents are to be notified in a timely manner of:

  • The identification process

  • The results

  • Recommended placement

Parents are to be provided with:

  • New Hope-Solebury School District’s LIEP Program Manual

  • Intended benefits

  • Explanation of effectiveness

State regulations require that parents be afforded the opportunity to review the identification and program placement decision and either accept or refuse the placement. A parent may not refuse any part of the identification process including language proficiency screening. A parent may also not refuse the identification of their child as an EL. A parent may only refuse placement in a specialized program of instruction (i.e. ELD program, bilingual education, ESL class, after-school tutoring, etc.).

The District must ensure that all steps in the English learner identification procedures are implemented. It must include all the steps outlined in the state document, as they are required but may choose to use their own documents. At NHSD, we utilize the PDE forms and follow PDE procedures.

English Language Development

NHSD’s LIEP department grounds all ESL instruction in sound language acquisition practices including language functions, features, and structures that align to the five WIDA ELD standards:

  • ELD Standard 1: English language learners communicate for Social and Instructional purposes within the school setting,

  • ELD Standard 2: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Language Arts.

  • ELD Standard 3: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Mathematics.

  • ELD Standard 4: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Science.

  • ELD Standard 5: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Social Studies.

In addition, teachers utilize the WIDA ELD Standards Framework 2020 Edition and Can-Do Descriptors as well as the Pennsylvania ELL Overlays to assist them in scaffolding instructional units, lessons, and activities that are meaningful and comprehensible for ELs.

The Six Levels of English Proficiency

Entering - (up to 6 months in an English-speaking classroom with EL support and/or a score of 1.0-1.9 on the ACCESS or WIDA Screener). At this level, students can be expected to speak and understand little English. They will observe and internalize the new language and use gestures, pointing, nodding and other nonverbal signals to communicate. Any oral utterances will be yes/no answers, single words and short word patterns that are repetitive. At this level, students tend to use functional vocabulary to communicate personal and survival needs while still internalizing English.

Emerging - (up to 2 years in an English-speaking classroom with EL support and/or a score of 2.0-2.9 on the ACCESS or WIDA Screener). At this level, students understand and speak conversational and academic English with hesitancy and difficulty, understand parts of lessons and simple directions, and are at a pre-emergent or emergent level of reading and writing in English which is significantly below grade level. Students can be expected to use simple sentences and begin to initiate discussions, but they will predominantly use present tense verbs and demonstrate errors of omission (e.g., leaving words out, leaving endings off). While the students may understand simple sentences in sustained conversation, they may require repetitions.

Developing - (up to 5 years in an English-speaking classroom with EL support and/or a score of 3.0-3.9 on the ACCESS or WIDA Screener). At this level, students understand and speak conversational and academic English with decreasing hesitancy and difficulty; are post-emergent in that they are developing reading comprehension and writing skills in English; and their English literacy skills allow them to demonstrate academic knowledge in content areas with assistance. They are more comfortable in social situations but hesitate to state opinions or ask questions when in a large group. Reviews and restatements are necessary to ensure better understanding, and the students continue to need a good amount of support in academic areas.

Expanding - (up to 7 years in an English-speaking classroom with EL support and/or a score of 4.0-4.9 on the ACCESS or WIDA Screener). At this level, students understand and speak conversational English without apparent difficulty, but understand and speak academic English with some hesitancy. They can be expected to be comfortable in social language situations, state opinions and ask for clarification. Students continue to acquire reading and writing skills in content areas, use complex sentences, and participate in classroom activities, but they need additional support for comprehension and use of the academic language in order to achieve grade level expectations. Support is needed in filling gaps in cultural and/or background knowledge, and repetitions, rephrasing and clarification are still necessary for understanding classroom discussions.

Bridging - (up to 10 years in an English-speaking classroom with EL support and/or a score of 5.0 to 5.9 on the ACCESS or WIDA Screener). At this level, students understand and speak conversational and academic English well and can be expected to communicate their thoughts more completely. They can participate in everyday conversations without relying on concrete contextual support, and they can express their ideas on a wide range of topics. While gaps may exist in vocabulary and/or grammar, students are near proficient in reading, writing, and content area skills needed to meet grade level expectations. Students consistently display an understanding of grade level material and can write to convey meaning and understanding. Occasional support is necessary, and monitoring is required.

Reaching - (and/or a score of 6.0 on the ACCESS or WIDA Screener). At this level, students represent parity with native English speakers.

Assessment (WIDA)

ACCESS for ELLs is the annual state English Language Development assessment and it meets state reporting requirements of the federal government. The results may be used as an indicator or tool for continuation of, or exit from, ELD instruction and the Language Instruction Educational Program at each District and to compare student progress toward fluent English proficiency from one year to the next. Pennsylvania requires that the English language proficiency of all ELs in K-12 be measured annually with the ACCESS for ELLs; this includes any students who opted out of ESL services.

There is no provision that allows parents to opt their children out of annual ELP testing.

The ACCESS for ELLs test is administered within the assessment window determined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). NHSD ELD Department will coordinate with the District’s ELD point of contact to ensure students complete ACCESS for ELLs.

Test Accountability

The District is responsible for student participation in ACCESS for ELLs testing and score reports. Students who are dual-identified and are placed in NHSD classrooms are reported to PIMS through the NHSD. 

Preparation for Testing

A variety of training related to ACCESS testing are required throughout the school year. They are covered in the PA ACCESS for ELLs Online Checklist. All NHSD ELD teachers complete testing administrator training in preparation for ACCESS administration.

The NHSD ELD teachers ensure accuracy and update student information in PIMS with the District’s Data Analyst prior to testing for all EL students. 

Test Administration

All students must complete the test in person, not virtually or remotely. NHSD ELD teachers will complete testing schedules and communicate them tentatively to the Director of Education, classroom teachers, and building administrators. All ACCESS for ELLs testing will be completed within the established testing window. 

Exit Criteria and Reclassification

NHSD ELD Department adheres to the State Required Reclassification, Monitoring, and Re-designation of ELs Criteria and Procedures. Students may be reclassified as former ELs (FELs) only when they have met the minimum criteria outlined in the state-defined, required reclassification, monitoring, and re-designation document.

Monitor 1 and Monitor 2 Status

  • Once a student has been reclassified, he/she begins a two year active monitoring process and must be reported in PIMS as Monitor 1 or Monitor 2.

  • During this time, if a student begins to struggle academically as a result of second language acquisition needs, he/she may be redesignated as an active EL and placed back into the LIEP.

  • Monitoring must be a formalized process and must be documented. You may choose the method for accomplishing this, but it must, at a minimum, include periodic reviews of the students’ academic progress in all core classes as well as consultation between ELD and content teachers.

Monitor 3 and Monitor 4 Status

After the initial two years of active monitoring, students are reported in PIMS as being in monitor status for an additional two years (Monitor 3 and Monitor 4). This is for state accountability calculations only. The district is not required to conduct active monitoring of former EL students during monitoring years 3 and 4.

Special Populations

Foreign exchange students
The Pennsylvania Department of Education supports the educational and cultural values of foreign exchange programs. Districts are required to screen foreign exchange students using the state EL identification procedure. If foreign exchange students are identified as ELs, then they must:

  • Be placed with the district’s language instruction educational program (LIEP) as appropriate based on their language proficiency,

  • Be included in PIMS and the English Learner Reporting System (ELRS) as ELs,

  • Participate in the annual state English language proficiency assessment (ACCESS for ELLs), and

  • Participate in the PSSA/Keystone Exams

English Learners with Special Needs
English Learners may be eligible for special education (and/or gifted education services) once it has been determined that a disability exists and that lack of grade-level performance is not solely due to low level English proficiency. All procedures for the screening, evaluation, development of the IEP, and the provision of services and/or instruction must be in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and PA Chapter 14 Regulations. The IEP team must consider the need for ESL instruction as they address the students’ needs related to the provision of Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Unless criteria for exit from the ESL program have been met (as outlined above,) all English Learners eligible for special education services must continue receiving EL instruction. The EL teacher must be part of the IEP team.

Communication with the parents of English Learners being considered for special education placement must be clear and presented in a mode and language they understand. Support documents translated into major languages can be found on the Pattan website. The following document from the Pennsylvania Department of Education provides additional guidance regarding the identification, assessment, instruction, and placement of English Learners (ELs) thought to be eligible for special education services and/or ELs with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).

When students who are dual-identified as English Learner/Student with Disability are placed in NHSD special education classrooms, EL instructional services can be provided by the NHSD’s ELD Department. 

Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education
Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) is an umbrella term used to describe a diverse subset of the English language learner population who share several unifying characteristics. Students who have these characteristics could be refugees, migrant students, or any student who experienced limited or interrupted access to school for a variety of reasons, such as poverty, isolated geographic locales, limited transportation options, societal expectations for school attendance, a need to enter the workforce and contribute to the family income, natural disasters, war, or civil strife.

Refugee students
The Pennsylvania Department of Education aims to integrate and assimilate refugee students into the public school system. Pennsylvania's Refugee Education Program offers advocacy for a special population of students and parents who otherwise may not have support.

Migrant students
NHSD supports the endeavors of the PA Migrant Education Program by drawing awareness to the resources available to students and families through advocacy and information-sharing with Districts. The PA Migrant Education Program offers support/opportunities such as Student Leadership Institute, before/after school/Saturday tutoring, summer school, life skills and reconnection, family advocacy, and preschool services.

Students Attending Alternative Programs
English Learners who attend alternative education programs are required to be provided the same level of support that they would receive in their regular education setting/District. The District will share the LIEP to communicate English Learner information, services, and goals. 

Family Communication

NHSD ELD teachers communicate with families in their home language using a variety of tools including Language Line, Talking Points, Department of Education’s Library of Translated Documents, NHSD translation services, etc.