Columbia Heights Public Schools

English Learners

  • Columbia Heights Public Schools provides high-quality English Learner (EL) instruction. Our goal is to provide access to grade-level content while developing students’ English language proficiency.  Our teachers provide responsive instruction that meets the linguistic, cultural and academic needs of each student. 

    We encourage the use and development of home language as an asset that students can use to build their academic vocabulary and content knowledge.  Our EL teachers use their expertise to scaffold core content and to meet the language needs of each student.  Additionally, EL teachers work closely with classroom teachers to provide resources on best practices for EL students.

    EL Identification

    All students/families fill out enrollment paper work and submit it to the Student Placement Center. This include the Home Language Questionnaire.

    If the HLQ indicates a language other than English, then the Student Placement Center staff determines the student’s English proficiency level either through WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT) or from previous records/ACCESS scores.

    All new Kindergarten students with a home language other than English are given the WIDA MODEL test during the first two weeks of school or upon enrollment.

    Parents will be notified if the student is eligible for EL services.

    Additional Criteria Considered for EL Placement

    School records including LAS scores, MAP scores, MCA scores, grades along with teacher comments/input on report cards.

    EL Service Model

    • Elementary
      • In elementary grades K-5, Columbia Heights Public Schools delivers high quality English language service through the collaborative co-teaching model. Students are clustered in mainstream classrooms according to their academic language needs. With one EL teacher per grade level, the teacher teams are able to plan and deliver instruction together during literacy and math instruction. All students benefit from small guided groups and individualized instruction. Newcomer EL students benefit from additional pull-out groups during which the teacher pre-teaches concepts and vocabulary for upcoming lessons, or reinforces current concepts and oral language.

    • Columbia Academy
      • Columbia Heights Public Schools delivers high quality English language service in the middle grades through the collaborative co-teaching model as well content area language development courses. All EL students are integrated in the school-wide community of learners including STAR advisory, the arts and SIOP.

      • Newcomers in Level 1 and Level 2 receive sheltered EL instruction. The beginning EL courses focus on language development through all content areas. Our school district uses the English Now! program to accelerate language acquisition and to expose beginning students to science and social studies content. WIDA English Language Development and state academic standards are embedded into the curriculum. Students work toward developing basic reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in English.

      • Intermediate and advanced ELL students work toward mastering reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in English. Based on individual language needs, some students build literacy skills through Scholastic Read 180 reading intervention.

      • Our EL students benefit from the collaboration of EL and math teachers for their math instruction.

      • Heritage Spanish is available for Spanish-speaking students.  This class provides culturally-appropriate native language literacy instruction. Research shows that higher levels of literacy in a student’s first language transfers to greater literacy skills in a learned language.

    • Columbia Heights High School
      • The EL instruction for high school includes both sheltered instruction with EL teachers to support the core curriculum and collaborative instructive teams for Math and Science. Our EL students are provided high levels of support for core classes at lower levels of language proficiency and receive sheltered instruction at higher levels.

    Parent Refusal

    Parents or guardians can remove their student from EL Services at any time (via “EL Refusal Form” available and turned in to the Placement Center or classroom teacher) after initial identification. The student will still have to take the annual state EL assessment unless their parent refuses, in writing, the test as well. A copy of the Refusal of Service form will be placed in the student’s Permanent Record File.

    Criteria for Exit from EL Programs

    Columbia Heights uses ACCESS and MCA data to determine exit eligibility.  Teacher input is also considered, along with student grades at the secondary level.

    Grades K-2

    • ACCESS Composite PL of 5.9 or higher.

    •  Plus teacher recommendation to exit along with parent input

    Grades 3-5

    • ACCESS Composite PL of 5.0 with no domain less than 4.0

    OR

    • Meets/Exceeds Standards on MCA Reading

    • Plus teacher recommendation to exit along with parent input

    Grades 6-8

    • ACCESS Composite PL of 5.0 with no domain less than 4.0

    OR

    • Meets/Exceeds Standards on MCA Reading

    AND

    • MAP Score of 212+ OR Lexile Level of 800+

    • Teacher recommendation to exit after data examination and notice to parent/guardian.

    Grades 9-12

    ACCESS Composite PL of 5.0 with no domain less than 4.0

    OR

    • Current year's MCA Reading score meets or exceeds proficiency or passes Grad Reading Test

    AND

    • Teacher recommendation to exit after data examination and notice to parent/guardian.
  •  


    Jane Riordan
    EL/Family Engagement Coordinator
    Email: riordanj@colheights.k12.mn.us
    Phone: 763-528-4505
    1440 49th Ave NE, Columbia Heights, MN, 55421


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