Language and Cultural Education 

English Learner Programs

Programs for English Learners
As of 2015, there are about 70,400 students classified as English Learners at Chicago Public Schools (CPS). English Learners (ELs) within CPS have the right to participate in a program for ELs.

How Is a Student Classified as an English Learner in CPS?

When a student is enrolled in a CPS school for the first time, the student’s parent or legal guardian is given a Home Language Survey to complete. The Home Language Survey, or HLS, asks two questions:

  • Is a language other than English spoken in your home?
  • Does the student speak a language other than English?

The answers given on the HLS are used to decide whether or not the student is screened for admittance into a program for ELs. Students who must be screened are given a test of their English Language Proficiency Level in some or all of the following categories: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The categories in which they are tested depend on the student’s age and grade level. If, based on the test score, the student is considered an EL, the student will then be placed into a Transitional Bilingual Education Program or a Transitional Program of Instruction. Both ELs and native-English speaking students also have the option to enroll in a Dual Language Program if positions are available.

Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE)

Schools with 20 or more ELs who speak the same home language are required to provide a TBE Program. ELs in TBE Programs must receive instruction in all of the following areas:

  • Language Arts in the home language
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction to help develop students’ English Language Proficiency
  • Core subjects (math, science, social science) provided in both English and the native language
  • Instruction in the history and culture of the U.S.
  • Instruction in the history and culture of the native land of the ELs (or of their parents)
  • All instruction provided in English must include supports and modifications that are appropriate for the EL’s level of English language proficiency

Transitional Program of Instruction (TPI)

Schools with 19 or fewer ELs who speak the same home language are required to provide a TPI Program. This includes schools in which there are more than 19 total ELs, but less than 19 who speak any one language. ELs in TPI Programs must receive instruction in all of the following areas:

  • English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction to help develop students’ English language proficiency
  • Core subjects (math, science, social science) provided in English
  • Instruction in the history and culture of the U.S.
  • Instruction in the history and culture of the native land of the ELs (or of their parents)
  • All instruction provided in English must include supports and modifications that are appropriate for the EL’s level of English Language Proficiency
  • If a teacher, assistant, or tutor is available who speaks the EL’s home language, the school may provide support in the home language to the extent possible

For more information about programs for English Learners and the rights of ELs and their families to receive a high-quality education and to participate in all programs, events, and activities within CPS, contact the Office of Language and Cultural Education.

Dual Language Education (DLE)

Optional Dual Language Education (DLE) Programs are currently offered in 15 CPS schools, including 9 neighborhood schools, 3 charter schools, and 3 magnet schools. These programs begin in preschool or kindergarten and currently accept native-English-speaking and native-Spanish-speaking students into their classes. Students receive all core instruction (language arts, math, science, social science) in both English and Spanish, with the goal of all students becoming bilingual and biliterate in both English and Spanish. In addition to core instruction, all native-Spanish-speaking students receive English Language Development instruction, and all native-English-speaking students receive Spanish Language Development instruction to improve their proficiency in the new language. It is recommended that students in the DLE Program continue in the program through at least 6th grade so that they have a greater opportunity to develop literacy skills and fluency in both languages.

Goals

  • Develop high levels of proficiency in two languages
  • Perform at or above grade level in all academic areas in both languages
  • Demonstrate positive cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors

Program Benefits

  • Provides a learning environment that develops bilingualism, biliteracy, and cultural understanding among English Learners and native-English speakers
  • Offers unique opportunities for participating students to develop two languages
  • Provides a potential route to obtaining the State Seal of Biliteracy upon graduation

For more information about DLE Programs, contact the Office of Language and Cultural Education.

Page Last Modified on Friday, January 30, 2015