Language Instruction Educational Program (formerly ELL or ESL)
Roanoke County Public Schools offers a Language Instruction Educational Program (formerly known as English Language Learning or English as a Second Language) designed to meet the needs of these students who live in our district. The primary languages of the majority of our EL students are Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Vietnamese; there are also more than 40 others. Federal law states that public schools must provide free and equal education to meet the needs of all students, including those who have limited proficiency in the English language (Plyler vs. Doe, 1982; Lau vs. Nichols, 1974; Equal Education Opportunity Act, 1974). To meet federal regulations, now under ESSA, the school division continues to expand its LIEP with school and community outreach.
Roanoke County Public School’s mission is to ensure that each English Learner develops high levels of English proficiency while mastering challenging content area standards of learning. Our school system and community of learners are committed to providing high quality education for all students. We currently have 13 LIEP instructors and they provide specified resource time for language acquisition or assistance during particular classes, depending on the student's level of English. We also have a Newcomers' Center at the Burton Center for Arts and Technology that offers intensive English classes for students in Middle School and High School.
When a new student registers in RCPS, the following indicators of a language other than English signal the need to screen for possible services through the LIEP program.
- What is the primary language used in the home, regardless of the language spoken by the student?
- What language is most often spoken by the student?
- What is the first language the student acquired?
- Has the student attended prior school in another country?
- Was the student enrolled in a Language Instruction Educational Program in his/her prior school?
If the answer to these are yes or a language other than English, the student is screened and an English level is assigned via the WIDA screener. Instruction is modified and accommodated according to the student’s proficiency level. The instruction follows WIDA ELD standards to develop academic English which helps the student succeed in coursework. The student's level of English is assessed each year so that instruction is appropriately modified to the level.
The LIEP program is supported, in part, by Title III funds. These funds provide for professional development for LIEP and general education teachers, instructional support and materials and community outreach. This also includes professional development for private schools in the area as requested. Title III funds may not be used for items that are considered the responsibility of the local district as part of its general education plan.