toney henry

Toney Henry

Special Programs Director

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English Language Learners

Waterford Unified School District serves approximately 1,800 students and around 30% of those are English Learners. We embrace the diversity of our student population and are committed to supporting the language acquisition and academic success of our English language learners. Our dedicated team of ELL specialists provides individualized instruction, English language development classes, and culturally responsive materials to ensure that students develop proficiency in English while maintaining their cultural identities. We also offer comprehensive assessments, ongoing progress monitoring, and personalized support to meet the unique needs of each student. We believe in creating a nurturing and inclusive environment where ELL students can thrive both academically and socially. We value your partnership in this important journey and are excited to help your child reach their fullest potential.

English Learners are provided instructional support in the classroom and small group instruction in order to assist them in reaching English fluency and mastering their grade-level standards. Some of the supports our District offers English Learners includes the following:

  • Our daily lessons align with English Language Development Standards and offer students access to grade level curriculum. Targeted instruction at the students' language level help students stay on track with grade-level learning while they are still mastering the English language

  • Students receive specialized English Language Development lessons to help them achieve proficiency as quickly as possible

  • At our primary school, every classroom has the support of a paraprafessional to facilitate small group reading and literacy instruction

  • A reading specialist is available to meet with students one-on-one to provide targeted support and inspire students to develop a love of literary

English Language Learner Classification

A student is designated as an English Language Learner if the primary language spoken at home is not English. School districts are required to administer the Initial English Language Proficiency Assessment for California (ELPAC test) to all students whose home language is not English within 30 calendar days after they enroll for the first time in a California public school.

Each year, students who are classified as English Language Learners are required to take a summative assessment to measure a student’s progress in learning English and to identify the student’s level of English language proficiency. Once a student is reclassified, they no longer have to take the ELPAC annually.

Reclassification of English Learners

A student can be reclassified when they meet criteria as outlined by the state and district. Students have the opportunity to be reclassified at any time during the school year. Criteria for reclassification include:

  • ELPAC Overall Performance Level (PL) 4

  • Performance in Basic Skills (English language arts)

  • Teacher Evaluation

  • Parent Consultation

State Seal of Biliteracy

At Waterford, we celebrate the outstanding achievement of our students who are biliterate by awarding the State Seal of Biliteracy to our graduating seniors who have demonstrated fluency in English and at least one other language.

State Seal of Biliteracy Eligibility Criteria for a Student Whose Primary Language is English

Each of these three academic requirements shall be fulfilled:

  • Students must have completed all English-language arts (ELA) requirements for graduation with an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or above in those classes. 

  • Students must have passed the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) in ELA (administered in grade eleven), or any successor test, administered in grade eleven, at or above the “standard met” achievement level, or at the achievement level determined by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) for any successor test. 

  • Students must demonstrate proficiency in one or more languages other than English through one of the following methods: 

    1. Pass a world language Advanced Placement (AP) exam, including American Sign Language, with a score of three or higher. 

    2. Pass an International Baccalaureate (IB) examination with a score of four or higher. 

    3. Successfully complete a four-year high school course of study in a world language and attain an overall grade point average of 3.0 or above in that course of study and demonstrate oral proficiency in the language comparable to that required to pass an AP or IB examination. 

    4. If no AP examination or off-the-shelf language test exists and the district uses its own language examination, the school district must certify to the SSPI that the test meets the rigor of a four-year high school course of study in that world language and, at a minimum, assesses speaking, reading, and writing. If a student seeks to qualify for the SSB through a language that is not characterized by listening, speaking, or reading, or for which there is no written system, the student must pass an assessment on the modalities that characterize communication in that language at the proficient level or higher. 

    5. If a district offers a language examination in a language in which an AP examination or off-the-shelf examination exists, the district language examination must be approved by the SSPI. 

    6. Pass the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) II world language exam with a score of 600 or higher.

State Seal of Biliteracy Eligibility Criteria for a Student Whose Primary Language is Spanish

If the primary language of a pupil is other than English, the student shall also meet the following academic requirements: 

  • Attain the level demonstrating English language proficiency on the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC), or any successor English language proficiency assessment, in transitional kindergarten or kindergarten through grade twelve, inclusive. 

  • Meet the academic requirements 1, 2, and 3 as stated above in Section I. 

Benefits of Earning the State Seal of Biliteracy

The Seal of Biliteracy recognizes and promotes world language instruction in public schools and encourages students to study world languages. Earning the Seal provides students with a competitive edge as they move on to careers and higher education. In addition, promoting biliteracy in multiple languages honors the cultures and languages of our community and leads to an appreciation of the diversity in our schools.

*Information obtained from the California Department of Education