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Frequently asked questions about EL students and ELAC

1. Who is an EL student?
An English learner [also referred to as a student with limited mastery of the English language or Limited English Proficient Student (LEP)] is a student that does not speak English or speaks a native language that is not English and currently cannot perform the normal class work in an English class (based on the Code of Education, Section 306[a]).

2. Who needs to take the English Language Proficiency Assessment of California (ELPAC)?
The Education Code requires that each student (from kindergarten to 12th grade) whose first language is not English, based on the Home Language Survey, takes the ELPAC exam during the first 30 days after being enrolled for the first time in a California public school in order to determine if he/she is an EL. Parents or guardians complete the Home Language Survey as part of the enrollment process when they enroll their children in school for the first time. The ELPAC exam must be administered each year to students identified as EL students based on the process of evaluation from the School District until they are Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) students.

3. What is the English Language Proficiency Assessment of California (ELPAC)?
Federal and state law require the development of a statewide test that school districts should implement for students that speak a language other than English. In California, this test is called the English Language Proficiency Assessment of California (ELPAC).

4. When do EL students stop taking the ELPAC?
EL students continue to take the ELPAC each year until they are reclassified based on the criteria established by the Board of the school district.

5. What is reclassification?
Reclassification is a local decision based on established criteria by the local Board of Education in agreement with the state law. The school districts have to use individual ELPAC results as one of four criteria considered for EL students’ reclassification. Additional measures that must be considered are the comparison of the English learners’ progress in basic skills versus the level of progress of students who are native speakers of English within the same age group, teacher evaluations, and opinions and consultations with parents or guardians for approval.

6. What is the English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC)?
The English Learner Advisory Committee is an advisory committee developed to advise the school about programs for English learners students. A school that has more than 21 EL students is required to have an ELAC.

7. What are ELAC’s obligations?

  1. a. ELAC advises the School Site Council (SSC) in the development of a Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA).
  2. b. ELAC makes recommendations to the principal and staff about programs for EL students.
  3. c. ELAC assists in data analysis and review of the school’s language census to decide which are the best programs for the EL students, and it will make an effort to raise awareness among parents of the importance of regular school attendance.
  4. d. ELAC has the responsibility to elect officers, including at least one DELAC representative.

8. Who forms ELAC?
The membership of ELAC is comprised of the school principal, the officers elected by the parents of EL students: president, vice-president, secretary and/or a DELAC representative, and other parents and community members. The number of EL parents in ELAC must reflect at least the same percentage as the number of EL students in the school.

9. What is DELAC?
The District’s English Language Advisory Committee consists of a group formed by ELAC representatives of each school within the district. The purpose of this committee is to advice the district in regards to the programs destined for EL students and to certify that the district complies with the federal and state norms.

10. How does ELAC work in conjunction with other school organizations?
In some schools, ELAC is linked to SSC (School Site Council), but there are certain legal requirements that need to be met if this alliance is wanted. ELAC is an advisory committee and the SSC is a school governing organization. Other organizations such as the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) are independent. It is very important that parents of EL students participate in these other parent organizations.