School District of Janesville ELL

English Language Learners Program

527 South Franklin St. Janesville, WI 53548 (608)743-5000

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English Language Learner (ELL) Handbook - Special Education

A student can not be placed in the special education program solely on the basis of being a non-native English speaker. Along those same lines, a student can not be excluded from such programs because they are part of the ELL program. We must be mindful of how to best serve the educational needs of our students while being culturally and linguistically sensitive. We must also remember that a referral to special education must be based upon academic ability and not present performance.

During initial contact the ELL teacher should question parents as to any educational concerns including previous special educational programs, years retained, or other notable academic difficulties. In particular the ELL teacher should also take note of any periods that the student was not regularly attending school. It is imperative that the Special Education Referral Considerations Checklist and Response to Intervention (RtI) monitoring and documentation be completed before referring a student to special education; this will help eliminate unnecessary referrals.

If you feel that a student does need to be referred, it is essential that you work closely with the family and the special education staff. Testing should be conducted in his/her native language if deemed the most valid representation of his/her academic ability. If language modifications are necessary the tests should be conducted by a bilingual psychologist. If we can not find a psychologist fluent in the student’s native language, an interpreter may be needed. The family should be informed of this initial process and feel comfortable in expressing their opinions and concerns.

If the student qualifies for the special education program, the ELL teacher may have the responsibility of communicating with the parents on behalf of the special education staff. The ELL teacher may have to explain what the student’s program may entail and discuss the details of the IEP. Your job is not to create or implement the IEP, but your main responsibility is to communicate with the parents.

There are additional resources included in this section that you may find beneficial.

Special Education Referral Considerations Checklist

Preventing Inappropriate Placements of Language Minority Students in Special Education: A Prereferral Process

Speech and Language Questionnaire

Description of Language Proficiency Questionnaire, Written by Larry J. Mattes and George Santiago

Language Proficiency Questionnaire (English)

Language Proficiency Questionnaire (Spanish)

DEVELOPMENTAL HISTORY OUTLINE for Speech & Language: English

DEVELOPMENTAL HISTORY OUTLINE for Speech & Language: Spanish

PRAGMATIC PROTOCOL TRAINING WORKSHEET, Adapted from the Pragmatic Protocol, Developed by Prutting & Kirchner ©1987