The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have issued joint guidance to remind state education agencies (SEAs), public school districts, and public schools of their legal obligation to ensure that EL students can participate meaningfully and equally in educational programs.
Therefore Berkshire Hills Regional School District offers multilingual learners two types of research-based services: Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) approach to supporting our students who are English Learners (ELs) and an English Learner Teacher Specialist that provides support in and/or outside the regular classroom.

The Instructional Program for English Learners

Berkshire Hills Regional School District English Learner’s program that consists of 5 teachers: 2 in the elementary school, 1 at the middle school, and 2 at the High School. We also have a bilingual parent liaison (Spanish-English) that helps families navigate the school system.

ELE Program Types we offer:

  • Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Program: a program that incorporates strategies to make content area instruction more understandable to English learners and to promote English language development. This type of instruction is provided by the regular teacher and it is used for students with higher language proficiency levels. Content area instruction integrates sheltering strategies to make content comprehensive and develop content area academic language. Core subject teachers that serve our English Learners have a special Sheltered English Immersion Endorsement from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to serve EL students.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) classes: direct English language instruction by a specialized teacher that promotes success in the regular classroom by fostering development of speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. This part of the program is used as push-in services, where the ESL teacher goes in the regular classroom for a period of time or in ‘pull-out’ service, where students go in a separate classroom and receive instruction in a small group setting.
  • Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE): The BHRSD SLIFE program will be a full-year program for a cohort of SLIFE/Newcomer students. These students are housed at the high school and remain in the program the entire year. Content area classes (Math/Science) are co-taught by the ESL teacher with full-year courses. The focus of the program is rapid English language acquisition through a culturally and linguistically responsive teaching environment consistent with students’ level of English language proficiency and academic needs. Instruction targets gaps in skills and knowledge that students may have as a result of limited or interrupted education.

Constant collaboration between regular teachers and ESL teachers ensures the instruction happens in the classroom or in a setting separate from the regular classroom using WIDA English Language Development Standards and focuses on developing students’ academic language ability in the four core content areas (English language arts, math, science, and social studies.) Instruction is provided in the four domains of reading, writing, listening and speaking. The hours of service by the ESL per day can vary depending on the student’s current level of English proficiency and other needs.

Please know that our English Learners also participate in all other district programs without restriction, if they meet the eligibility requirements that apply to all students. These include special education and Title I services, honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes at the high school, behavioral support programs, and all after school programs, including athletics and summer programs.

  • PK-6 ELE Curriculum
  • 7-12 ELE Curriculum

Identification of English Learners

During the school enrollment process, parents complete the Primary Home Language Survey (PHLS) and based on the answers, qualified staff follows the document with a parent interview of those students who have more than one language spoken at home.

If appropriate, the student will be screened for English language proficiency by one of the district’s English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers using the WIDA screener, WIDA Kindergarten screener or Pre-Las assessment. Based on the results of that screening, the student may or may not be identified as an English learner (EL).

  • HLS Administration Instructions

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