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English Learners

Basis For English Learner Programs

There are Federal and State laws that establish the rights of English Learners (ELs), and define the responsibilities of school districts serving them. In this section are some of the most pertinent Federal laws, court rulings, and State laws affecting the education of English Learners (ELs)

Federal Law

The most important Federal laws establishing the rights of all students are set forth in:

Constitution of the United States, Fourteenth Amendment (1868)
The 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees that “. . . No State shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Civil Rights Act, Title VI (1964)
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 declares that “. . . No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color or national origin . . . be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Equal Educational Opportunities Act (1974)
The Equal Educational Opportunities Act makes educational institutions responsible for taking the necessary steps to overcome linguistic and/or cultural barriers that keep students from equal participation in instructional programs. Specifically “. . . No State shall deny equal educational opportunity to an individual on account of his or her race, color, sex or national origin, by . . . the failure of an educational agency to take appropriate action to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation by its students in its instructional programs . . .”

In addition, every four years, the California Department of Education conducts a Categorical Program Monitoring (formerly CCR) of programs to ensure that schools and districts are in compliance with the laws protecting language minority children and the services they receive.

The District bilingual programs and their services to English Learners were established according to AUSD Board of Education Policy, which is based on the Lau requirements and statutes included in the California State Education Code Section 62002. These requirements are mandated for all districts that enroll English Learners.

English Learner Program Options

California State law requires that all English learners at the Elementary level are placed in an English language acquisition program that is appropriate for their grade and English proficiency level. The types of programs include:

  • Structured English Immersion (SEI) designed for ELs who are new to English or at the early levels of English proficiency.

  • Mainstream English (ME) designed for ELs who have acquired reasonable fluency in English and are at higher levels of proficiency.

  • Alternative Dual Language Programs where bilingualism, biliteracy, academic achievement and multicultural awareness is promoted. For more information visit Dual Immersion Programs.

The goal of each of these programs is to accelerate English language proficiency and provide access to grade level academic content. (Castañeda v. Pickard, 1981).

Designated English Language Development

Designated English Language Development is part of a comprehensive approach to improve the academic achievement of English learners in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Designated ELD is a targeted, proficiency level based approach with its own dedicated time.

Essential components of Designated ELD include:

  • Purposeful placement of students by English language proficiency level.

  • Explicit teaching of how English works in a meaningful context.

  • Emphasis on substantial oral language practice to ensure accuracy and fluency.

  • Attention to the use of newly taught language throughout the day in academic and social settings.

  • Progress monitoring of English language development.

Instructional Framework for EL Programs

The instructional framework for English Learners includes Integrated and Designated English Language Development with an emphasis on providing access to grade level content while developing academic language. Teachers engage in research based professional development to strengthen their implementation of the instructional framework.


District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC)

Major Function
The purpose of the DELAC, or subcommittee on English learner education, is to provide guidance and advice to the Board of Education and the District staff (e.g., in person, by letters/reports) on the needs and services for English learners. Each California public school district, grades kindergarten through 12, with 21 or more English learners must form a District-level English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) or subcommittee of an existing district-wide advisory committee.

Composition Requirements
Parents or guardians of English learners not employed by the district must constitute a majority of membership (51 percent or more) of the committee.

Each site's English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC) must have the opportunity to elect at least one member to the DELAC. If the district has 31 or more ELACs, it may use a system of proportional or regional representation.


  • The committee advises the Board of Education on the following:

  • Development or revision of a master plan of education for programs and services for English learners.

  • Establishment of district programs, goals and objectives for programs and services for English learners.

  • Development of a plan to ensure compliance with any applicable teacher and instructional aide requirements.

  • The district’s reclassification procedures.

  • Written notifications required to be disseminated to families


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