• Pennridge School District


    LIEP Description

    Language Instruction Educational Program

    Dr. Kathy Scheid - Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning

    Jenna Vitale - Supervisor of English Language Development

    Carly Baker - ELD Coordinator

    Amy Moyer - ELD Coordinator

    ESL Specialists - Carly Baker, Leigh Anne Gatto, Jennifer Gunning, Eveline Hayes, Lauren Holsinger, Kate Walsh, Rebecca Weida


    Revised March, 2023

    1. PURPOSE

    There are more than 61,000 English Learners (ELs) speaking more than 200 different languages in Pennsylvania. The education of students whose dominant language is not English and who are ELs is the responsibility of every Local Education Agency (LEA). Title 22, Chapter 4, Section 4.26 of the Curriculum Regulations requires the LEA to provide a program for every student who is an English learner (EL).


    The goal of Pennridge School Districts LIEP is to facilitate the development and attainment of English proficiency and academic achievement of students whose native or first language is not English. Without instruction in social and academic English and appropriate support for learning academic content, these students are at risk of losing the educational opportunities provided to non-ELL students. ELs must have equitable access to academic content for all courses in which they are enrolled. Pennridge’s LIEP is designed to ensure that the program meets the needs of its EL population.


    Educating English Learners, Pennsylvania Department of Education Website 



    Pennridge School District staff and ESL teachers use the following process and resources to identify and place English Learners (ELs) in the Pennridge School District’s Language Instruction Educational Program (LIEP):




    Upon registration, parents/guardians of new students must complete the Home Language Survey (HLS). This survey is a requirement of federal law to be completed during the registration process for all new students. A translated version of this document can be generated from the Translation Library from PDE.  Administrative staff will place a completed copy of the HLS in the student’s cumulative/permanent file.


    If the parent/guardian responds YES to any question on the HLS, the Registration Office Staff forwards a copy of it to the ELD department. Based on the responses from the HLS, the ELD department will screen newly enrolled students for English language proficiency within 30 calendar days of the beginning of the school year and within 14 calendar days during the school year.




    1.   There will be a review of academic records and a parent interview will be conducted by trained ELD staff. 


    1A. If available records indicate a student was enrolled in a Language Instruction Educational Program at the time of transfer, the student will be placed in Pennridge’s Language Instruction Educational Program.


    1B. A student without academic records will be assessed using the WIDA Screener. The WIDA Screener is an identification and placement assessment for LIEPs developed by WIDA. It is an initial measure of a student’s English language proficiency for potential placement in an English language development program. Other formal standardized assessments may be used for additional information including the WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT) or WIDA MODEL. 


    4.   A student may be exempt from screening and/or assessing when rare circumstances occur such as an adoption of a foreign born child or an error on the HLS.


    For more information see PDE website ELL Identification Procedures

    Note A:

    A student who comes from an environment where English is not the dominant language or who has been exposed to another language (HLS indicates other languages) is not necessarily an EL and does not necessarily need to be screened for English language proficiency if there is compelling evidence suggesting that the student is proficient in English. Parent permission to screen for language proficiency is NOT required; however, a Parent Interview should be conducted prior to screening. The information gathered should be filed with the student’s other enrollment documentation. The Parent Interview can serve to determine whether or not to screen a potential EL. If the evidence gathered during the Parent Interview is indeterminate, then an academic records review may be used to indicate English proficiency and preclude screening.


    Note B:

    If, after the Parent Interview, it is unclear whether or not a student should be screened for English proficiency, a thorough review of any available academic records and document evidence of English language proficiency shall be completed. Some examples of this type of evidence are:

    · Transcripts from previously attended U.S. schools with passing grades in core content classes

    ·  Statewide assessment results from previously attended U.S. schools indicating English proficiency (may be from other states)

    ·  District assessment results from previously attended U.S. schools indicating English proficiency (may be from other states)

    · Notes and/or other less formal indicators regarding language proficiency contained in the student’s academic record.


    Note C:

    If the student has an IEP, ESL, and Special Education personnel MUST collaborate to determine program and academic placement.


    All students enrolling with academic records indicating EL or Monitor status in an LIEP will be placed in Pennridge School District’s LIEP at their current level.



    Parent permission to assess is not required, but a parent should be notified prior to testing (phone call or personal contact).


    The WIDA Screener, along with multiple criteria, must inform the identification and/or placement decision.

     Placement into the LIEP may not be made without notifying parents. Following the assessment, the ELd department will send home the Pennridge District Parent Letter informing parents of assessment results and/or placement in the district’s LIEP. A copy of this letter must also be placed in the child’s file.


    Parents also have the right to refuse placement in Pennridge’s LIEP. This decision must be informed and voluntary. Should a parent choose to refuse placement, the procedures outlined in PDE’s English Language Development Program Parental Waiver Form shall be followed. It should be noted that Federal law requires that ELs be tested annually with the WIDA ACCESS for ELLS until the child attains English proficiency. This includes ELs whose parents have completed the Parental Waiver Form.


    Instructional placement of ELs must be age and grade appropriate. Students with an IEP must be screened with appropriate accommodations. Students with an IEP must be placed in coordination with the IEP team. Further, ELs must be given equal access to all educational programs, opportunities, and extracurricular activities.



    As used here, the term "program" refers to:

    1. Planned English language development instruction by a qualified ESL/Bilingual Education teacher, and

    2. adaptations/modifications in the delivery of content instruction and assessments by all teachers based on students' language proficiency levels and the Pennsylvania English Language Development Standards (PA ELDS) Framework for ELs as well as the Pennsylvania academic standards.


    The Language Instruction Educational Program (LIEP) includes instruction based on:



    ELD programs may not replace any other core content in a student’s academic program unless it is for a limited time not to exceed one school year and the LEA has a plan for immediately mitigating any academic gaps that result (e.g. in the case of a newcomer program).


    English language development instruction, otherwise known as English as a Second Language (ESL), delivered by a licensed ESL teacher is its own content area. ELD in this context is driven by language, but it draws from general education content as a vehicle for instruction in order to contextualize language learning. It is dedicated and planned curriculum specifically designed to develop the English language proficiency of ELs so that they are able to use English in social and academic settings and access challenging academic standards. ELD instruction provides systematic, explicit, and sustained language instruction designed to prepare students for the general academic program by focusing, in meaningful and contextualized circumstances, on the academic language structures that underpin social and academic constructs. It can be taught as a stand-alone class or course but may also be embedded within other courses with the direct support of an ESL program specialist as appropriate based on the program design and needs of the students. 


    In general, ELD instruction taught by an ESL licensed teacher should not replace ELA instruction in a student's academic program. ELD has its own curriculum that, although may incorporate elements of ELA or other content areas, is unique and aligned to the PA ELDS. ELD may replace ELA only when the instruction is aligned to the same ELA standards as the ELA course or instructional period in which a student's non-EL peers are enrolled.


    ELD may not replace any other core content in a student's academic program unless it is for a limited time not to exceed one school year and the LEA has a plan for immediately mitigating any academic gaps that result (e.g. in the case of a newcomer program).


    Instructional models within our LIEP include:


    •  EL-Specific English-only Instruction: Language Focus: English language skills and content are the focus of instruction. The student’s native language is not used in either instruction or support. Class Composition: ELs only 

    • Mixed Classes with English-only Support:  Language Focus: English language skills and content are the focus of instruction. The student’s native language is not used in either instruction or support. Support could be provided either inside or outside of the regular classroom. Class Composition: ELs and non-ELs are placed together in the same classroom


    ELs are assessed annually with the state English language proficiency (ELP) assessment, ACCESS for ELLs®, which is required by federal law. The results of the state ELP assessment are used to measure students' English language proficiency and progress in each of the four language domains (i.e., reading, writing, speaking and listening/understanding).  There is no provision that allows parents to opt their children out of annual ELP testing.ELs participate in all other annual state-required assessments (e.g. PSSA, Keystone exams) according to those testing guidelines.



    The district is not free to persist in an LIEP which, although it may have been "appropriate" when adopted, in the sense that there were sound expectations for success and bona fide efforts to make the program work, has, in practice, proved ineffective. To this end, LEAs must employ a method to evaluate their LIEPs for effectiveness and make any changes necessary based on the evaluation.


    Evaluations of LIEPs must be conducted at least annually and the results documented and reported to the state through the English Learner Reporting System (ELRS). Determinations to make changes to an LIEP based on program evaluations may be made annually, although a LEA may allow more time for a program to produce positive results before taking action as long as that time is reasonable based on the program design and expected outcomes.


    Evaluations must be based on student outcomes rather than program inputs. For example, a program evaluation may not be based on the number of hours that teachers collaborate each week, the amount of funds spent on resources, or the implementation of a particular intervention or support. A program evaluation should include evidence of student growth toward proficiency in English and academic achievement.



    Based on a student’s English language proficiency, teachers must establish realistic expectations. Modifications/accommodations should be provided to ensure that class work, assignments, and assessments measure a student’s content knowledge and skills. 


    ELD must be incorporated into all classes taught by non-ESL licensed teachers in which ELs are enrolled. These teachers are responsible for deliberately planning for and incorporating language instruction as well as supports, modifications, and accommodations needed to allow ELs to access the standards to which the course is aligned. 


    PSSA/Keystone accommodations are allowable for ELs and are published annually by Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). The following individuals, when appropriate, should be involved in the determination of accommodations: ESL teacher, classroom teachers, test administrator, test coordinator, parent, principal, counselor, and student. Current accommodations used in day-to-day instruction and assessments are appropriate for testing. New accommodations unfamiliar to students should not be introduced to students for the first time when they are taking the PSSA or Keystone Exams. All accommodations should be documented in the student’s ESL folder and recorded on the accommodations section of the PSSA or Keystone Exams. Visit the PDE website for current Accommodation Guidelines for ELs.


    The testing accommodations allowable for ELs on state academic achievement assessments are published annually by PDE. Testing accommodations allowable for ELs on the ACCESS for ELLs® are published annually by the WIDA Consortium.



    VI.        GRADING and RETENTION 

    ELs must be graded using the same grading system as all other students (e.g. pass/fail is inappropriate for ELs if other students receive a letter grade).


    The ESL and regular education teacher should collaboratively determine grades for each EL. Content area instruction is aligned to the standards with modifications/ accommodations provided to meet the needs of the ELs. For ELD courses or instructional periods taught by a licensed ESL teacher in an all-EL setting, any grading system that meaningfully conveys information about progress and/or achievement may be used.


    In addition to the information that is provided to all students, LEAs must communicate information related to English language proficiency and/or progress to parents at least annually.


    An EL may not be retained in a grade based solely on his/her lack of English proficiency.


    Evidence must be provided that all appropriate modifications and accommodations to instruction and assessment aligned to a student’s English language proficiency to allow the EL meaningful access to the general curriculum as well as to promote second language learning were implemented and documented over time prior to considering grade retention.



    Some ELs may have a disability and qualify for special education services. This could be determined at the time of enrollment if a student arrives with a valid individualized education program (IEP) or at some point during the school year.


    All procedures for the screening, evaluation, IEP, and the provision of services and/or instruction must be in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Opens In A New Window(IDEA) and PA Chapter 14 Opens In A New WindowRegulations.


    This section only describes those aspects of policy for ELs with disabilities that are not contained in special education regulations, policies, and guidance.


    See the Department's Bureau of Special Education website for access to all related regulations, policies, guidance, and FAQs.


    Right to dual services

    LIEP and special education programming are not mutually exclusive. Special education services do not replace English language development services or vice versa. ELs must be afforded all supports, resources, and programming for which they are eligible. In other words, ELs are eligible for special education services if they meet IEP eligibility criteria and, conversely, students with a disability are eligible for English language development programming if they are identified as an ELs.



    There is no waiting period for making a disability determination for an EL.


    A child must not be determined to be a child with a disability if the determinant factor for that finding is lack of English proficiency.


    Programming considerations

    English language development instruction or English as a second language is part of an EL's general academic program and must be included in an academic program for ELs with disabilities. This content must be delivered by a properly trained and certified ESL teacher either directly or by a special education teacher who is working in collaboration with an ESL teacher.


    The IEP team, which must include an ESL professional, must take into account the language needs of an EL with a disability when considering program design and placement.



    The district employs uniform procedures in accordance with state requirements for reclassifying ELs as Former ELs (FELs) when they attain proficiency. See procedures and guidelines here. Once ELs attain English proficiency as defined in the state reclassification procedure, they must be reclassified as former ELs.


    An EL must demonstrate the ability to access challenging academic content and interact with other students and teachers both academically and socially in an English language setting in order to be considered for reclassification. Evidence of this ability is demonstrated by the student on the annual English language proficiency assessment, WIDA ACCESS for ELLs, and gathered by teachers using standardized language use inventories.


    Some ELs with disabilities may not be able to participate in all four domains of the ACCESS or Alternate ACCESS. For ELs whose disabilities prevent them completing all four domains of the test and who are being considered for reclassification under the criteria for students with disabilities, the state has adopted a method for calculating an overall composite proficiency level with fewer than all four domains.



    Upon exiting the program, former ELs will be monitored for four years. Academic progress of monitored students is tracked for the first two years. Monitoring the academic progress of ELs should be a collaborative effort between the ESL teacher and the classroom teacher. Additional staff may be included as needed. The classroom teacher and ESL teacher should establish frequent and ongoing communication to ensure that the student receives appropriate support aligned with instructional needs. The ESL Monitor Report is used to collect data quarterly for the first two years after reclassification. If Former ELs  struggle academically as a result of persistent language barriers, it may be necessary to re-designate FELS as active ELs.  This procedure is detailed in the “Reclassification, Monitoring, and Re-designation of ELs" guidance document.



     Nonpublic students qualify for Title III funding and should be given Title III services through the LEA. Annual consultation with nonpublic entities within the Pennridge School District’s geographic boundaries shall be done to determine their participation in Title III. Information concerning the nonpublic Title III students and the support presented shall be determined after administering, if necessary, a valid and reliable assessment to determine the English language proficiency of nonpublic students and after meaningful consultation with the nonpublic entity regarding English language development support services. These services shall be monitored and evaluated through the consultation process.  


    Districts are  required to provide all important information to parents who are not proficient in English in a language or mode of communication that they understand. If it is not practicable to provide a written translation because the parents’ language is not a common language, then the district may use a cover page explaining in the parents’ language how they may have the document translated orally.


    Pennridge utilizes Language Line in order to provide parents with effective communication as interpreters or translators must understand and be able to express in both languages of any specialized terms or concepts used in the communication. It is also important that translators or interpreters understand the ethics of interpreting and translating and the need for confidentiality. Relying on laypeople such as students, siblings, or friends is not appropriate for translations that require confidentiality (e.g. parent-teacher conferences, discipline, participation in special services, etc.). 


    The following list identifies essential information that must be provided to parents:

    • school registration and enrollment instructions 

    • a description of the EL identification process and the reason that their child was identified as an EL 

    • their child’s current English proficiency level and a description of what that means 

    • a description of the LIEP as outlined in this document 

    • information explaining their right to refuse enrollment of their child in the LIEP (see Parental Right to Refuse Specialized Programming section) 

    • a description of the criteria for reclassification and an expected timeline for achieving proficiency 

    • notices required by special education laws and regulations 

    • grievance procedures and notices of non-discrimination 

    • student discipline policies and procedures

    • report cards and progress reports 

    • notices of parent-teacher conferences 

    • information regarding gifted and talented programs 

    • results of the annual English proficiency assessment, ACCESS for ELLs®

    • requests for parent permission for student participation in school activities 

    • other information provided to native English-speaking parents such as invitations to join school-related councils or groups or parent handbooks


    Parents of currently enrolled ELs must be provided with the following information within 30 days of the start of each school year: 

    • A notification of their child’s continued participation in the LIEP 

    • A description of the LIEP including its intended benefits for their children and an explanation of its effectiveness 

    • A notification of their right to refuse services as outlined in this document 

    • A description of any Title III supplemental services being offered

    • A notification of their right to refuse Title III supplemental services (if applicable) 


    Required outreach activities

    The district is required to implement an effective means of outreach to parents of ELs to inform the parents regarding how they can be involved in the education of their children and be active participants in assisting their children to attain English proficiency and succeed academically. This includes holding, and sending notice of opportunities for, regular meetings for the purpose of formulating and responding to recommendations from parents of ELs.