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English Learner Policy

Overview  |  Policy  |  Screening, Identification and Placement in English Learner Services  |  Sample Parent Notification Letter Templates  |  English Language Proficiency Assessment  |  Accommodations for ELs on State Assessments  |   Instructional Resources  |  Family and Community Engagement  |  Contact

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The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) provides school leaders and teachers guidance around maintaining a language instruction educational program (LIEP) for English learners (ELs) that is rooted in federal and local regulations. This guidance, including administrative procedures and instruction, is available in the form of publications, professional development, and in-person technical assistance and programmatic support.


All staff, including principals, instructional leaders, teachers, and other school personnel, are responsible for ensuring that students learning English are supported in school. State and local education agencies (LEAs) have an obligation to ensure English learners (ELs) both develop English language proficiency and meet the same challenging state academic standards as their native English-speaking peers. Refer to the policies and procedures document for details:

Screening, Identification and Placement in English Learner Services

For all students who have enrolled in a DC school for the first time, schools must begin with administering the OSSE Home Language Survey, a questionnaire completed by parents of all students at the time of enrollment. The OSSE Home Language Survey does not need to be administered to a student who is re-enrolling in a DC school.

If the OSSE Home Language Survey indicates that a language other than English is spoken in the home to or by the student, the student must be screened for possible identification as an EL using the appropriate screener within 30 school days of the student’s first official school day (also known as stage 5 enrollment). A student shall not be identified as an EL student only based on OSSE Home Language Survey indicating a language other than English is spoken in the home or routinely used in other settings. The list of appropriate screeners are found at the links below.

For questions, please contact Michael Craig at [email protected].

Sample Parent Notification Letter Templates

Within 30 days of stage five enrollment at the start of the school year, or within two weeks of placement if not identified at the beginning of school, LEAs must notify parents of ELs that their child was identified as needing EL services. This must be done in an understandable and uniform format, and to the extent practicable, it is strongly recommended to translate the parent notification letter into a language that parents can understand. LEAs should develop a procedure for tracking the issuance of parent notification letters and for documenting parental consent for services. The sample templates below are resources to help LEAs provide parent notification letters that meet the necessary requirements.

English Language Proficiency Assessment

ACCESS for ELLs is the summative English language proficiency test taken annually by students who are ELs. For more information on ACCESS, please use the link below.

Accommodations for ELs on State Assessments

For information on EL accommodations on state assessments, please visit OSSE's Testing Accommodations webpage.

Instructional Resources

Family and Community Engagement


For more information or questions, please contact Anika Harris, Professional Development Specialist, English Language Acquisition Programs K-12 at [email protected].