English Learners

English Learner (EL) Program

The La Mesa Spring Valley School District provides an instructional program for English Learners. The fundamental goal of the program is for English Learners (EL) to develop proficiency in English and in the grade level California Content Standards as rapidly and as effectively as possible. As a result, ELs will make appropriate progress through the curriculum as they acquire competence in English. ELs are reclassified as fluent English proficient (FEP)after meeting established State and District criteria to ensure that these students have overcome language barriers, have recouped any academic deficits incurred in other areas of the curriculum, and have demonstrated English-language proficiency and academic achievement comparable to their native English speaking peers. The District provides three program options to English Learners—Structured English Immersion, Alternative Program—Dual Language Immersion, and English Language Mainstream. The instructional setting in which students are placed is based on assessment results and parental preference.

Structured English Immersion Program (SEI)

Students with less than reasonable fluency in English are placed in a Structured English Immersion (SEI) Program unless a waiver has been granted for an Alternative Program or the parent has requested another program (EC 306). This program requires a properly credentialed teacher and includes English Language Development (ELD). Instruction in the core curriculum is designed for each level of English proficiency and may include Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE) and/or primary language support. A parent may request to have a student removed from an instructional setting (SEI, ELM, or ALT-BB) at any time, regardless of language proficiency level, however the student’s identification as an EL and the school’s duty to provide daily ELD instruction are still required (Castañeda vs. Pickard).

Alternative Program—Dual Language Immersion (Currently available in Grades K-5)

The Dual Language Immersion program offers English speaking and Spanish speaking students an academically challenging and enriching educational opportunity. The program uses a scientifically research based 50/50 model in which students receive half of their instruction in English and the other half in Spanish. Additionally, all ELs receive ELD instruction until the student is reclassified. All students will learn to read, write and communicate effectively in Spanish and English while achieving high levels of academic success. Students will have the bilingual skills and cross-cultural skills to be prepared for success in our diverse global community. Students retain their first language while acquiring a valuable second language. Participation in Dual Language Immersion is recommended through 6th grade.

New Student Assessment & Identification 

When new students register in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, their parents or guardians complete the state-mandated Home Language Survey (see questions below).

  • Which language did your child learn when he or she first began to talk?
  • What language does your child most frequently use at home?
  • What language do you use most frequently to speak to your child?

If the answer to any of the first three questions on the survey indicates a language other than English, the student is referred to the Language Assessment Dept. for mandated English testing using the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) Once a student has taken the ELPAC, the results will indicate if they are an English learner with scores of Beginning to Develop (1), Somewhat Developed (2), Moderately Developed (3) or Well Developed (4). Initial ELPAC testing will occur within 30 school days of initial enrollment, or prior to class placement whenever possible. LPAC testing will occur within 30 school days of initial enrollment, or prior to class placement whenever possible.

Program Placement

You are encouraged to contact the Language Assessment Dept. if you are a new member of our learning community at (619) 668-5700 ext. 6400, and they will assess your child prior to the first day of school. A detailed description of the programs will be presented to you. 

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