April 12, 2023 ELPAC Meeting

The English Learner Parent Advisory Council held an open meeting for parents/guardians of current and former English Language Learners on April 12, 2023.

The text from the slides is posted below.

If you need this information translated, please select “Language” at the top of the page. If you are on a mobile device, select “More Options” at the top of the page and then select “Language”. If you have any questions, please contact Jamie Singelais, Director of English Language Learner Education, at [email protected] or 781-455-0461 ext. 53331. 

Text Version of Slides:

ELPAC Meeting April 12, 2023

Jamie Singelais, Director of English Langauge Learner Education

What is ELPAC?

  • English Learner Parent Advisory Council
  • Voluntary group of parents and guardians whose children are or were identified as English Learners (ELs) or former English Learners (FELs)
  • Works together to advise the Needham Public Schools on matters related to English learners and issues that are important to English learners and their families
  • Run by families!
  • Meet and talk with other parents of multilingual and multicultural students

  • Help the schools to plan and improve the school experience for multilingual students and families

  • Share ideas and ask questions about school and community

  • Learn how you can help your child with school and how your school can help you
  • Learn about EL and other school programming 

Monica Gonzalez Wulff: ELPAC Opportunities

  • Current Needham Parent - former ELPAC leader in Natick

  • Share experiences with ELPAC in Natick

  • Support for ELPAC in Needham

We want to hear from you!

  • The goal is to have families run the ELPAC and to have an ongoing partnership with the schools (similar to PTC or SEPAC)

  • We recognize that we need to focus on building relationships and community first 

  • We want meetings to meet the needs of our diverse multilingual community

DESE Tiered Focused Monitoring

  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) regularly reviews school districts

  • They review English Language Education Programs

  • Surveys will be sent to families of current English learner students. 
  • Please provide feedback if you can

District Survey for Families

  • Needham Public Schools sends electronic surveys to families periodically to solicit feedback

  • The survey will be sent to families later this spring

  • We value your thoughts and experiences 

  • Please provide feedback if you can

What happens next?

  • Share interest to participate in ELPAC

  • We will continue to build community and empower the ELPAC group

  • In person family event - tentatively planned for May

Questions and Answers from the April 12, 2023 Meeting

Is there a website for vocabulary help?

There are many websites that can be used to help learn English. The website that works for your needs will depend on the age and English proficiency level of the individual. Here are some examples of basic vocabulary websites. If you would like more specific recommendations, please contact your child’s English Learner teacher or Jamie Singelais, Director of English Language Learner Education.

Learning Chocolate

Language Guide

How often are children evaluated to see if they still require this service or not?

Children are evaluated every year to see if they require this service or not.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) sets rules for when a student can be exited from the English Language Learner Program. Every year, in January/February, all English Learners in Massachusetts public schools participate in an English Language Proficiency assessment called ACCESS for ELLs. The test assesses listening, speaking, reading and writing in English and the scores are sent to districts and families in May/June. DESE requires students to receive at least an overall score of 4.2 and a literacy score of 3.9 on this assessment in order to be considered eligible to exit from English learner programming. 

Parents/guardians have the option to withdraw their child from an English learner education program. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s English Learner teacher or Jamie Singelais, Director of English Language Learner Education.

Will it help kids and family to keep their own cultural backgrounds as well?

Yes, absolutely! Maintaining their cultural backgrounds is important for students’ sense of identity. It will help children to see the world from different perspectives and maintaining their language skills will help them to communicate with more people in our global society. 

In addition, students who demonstrate proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in a language other than English and receive a passing score on the 10th grade English Language Arts MCAS are able to earn the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy

Will there be any evaluation prior to school start to understand how much ELL support my child needs?

When a child registers for school and the family reports exposure to a language other than English, the child completes an assessment to determine their English proficiency and whether they are eligible to participate in the English Language Education program.

For students entering Kindergarten, screenings may take place the spring before the student begins kindergarten (for example, Spring 2023 for a student starting Kindergarten in Fall 2023). Sometimes screenings take place in the fall when school starts.

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