Programs and Levels

Rochester Public School’s English Learner Plan of Service

Goal of English Learner (EL) Services:

The goal of the English Learner program in the Rochester Public Schools is to assist students in achieving Academic English Language proficiency in order to be successful learners in the classroom.

English Learner Identification:

As part of the registration process, Rochester Public Schools asks families to complete a Home Language Questionnaire.  The questions on the Home Language Questionnaire include:

  • First language learned by student
  • Language normally used by student at home
  • Language normally used by parents at home

If a family designates a language other than English for any of the above questions, the family is directed to the EL Registrar.  The EL Registrar gives the student the W-APT, an English language proficiency test.  The results from this assessment determine the student’s English Language Proficiency level and assist in determining if the student would benefit from EL services.  If EL services are deemed appropriate, the student will receive these services at the school sites from an EL teacher.  If the student is a kindergartener, the site EL teacher will assess the student’s English language Proficiency using the PreLas.  This is a developmentally appropriate English language assessment for kindergarteners.  The results of this assessment will assist in determining if the child will benefit from English Learner services.

Each year, parents will receive a “Notification of EL Services” letter in the mail.  This letter explains the program and the types of EL services available to their child.  If a parent wishes to refuse EL services, a meeting must be set up at the school site.  This meeting will discuss the needs of the child.  Parents must complete a “Refusal of Services” form in order to stop EL services.

On-going Identification:

Minnesota is part of the WIDA© consortium.  WIDA© provides member states with high quality standards, assessments, research and professional development for educators.  Since Minnesota is a member of WIDA©, students are assessed using the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 English language proficiency assessment.  This assessment is for Kindergarteners through 12th grade students who have been identified as English Learners (ELs).  This assessment is given each year between February and March.  The results of this assessment determine students’ English language level and the information is used by teachers to determine the EL services the students receive. 

Overview of EL Services:

The WIDA levels are used to determine services for EL services. 


Level 1


Level 2


Level 3 Developing

Level 4 Expanding

Level 5 Bridging



  • Newcomer Center at Riverside Elementary School
  • Small Group Instruction

EL Services may be provided through any of the following (or a combination of)

  • co-teaching model
  • small group instruction
  • individual instruction

EL and Classroom teachers collaborate to meet the needs of the EL students they serve.

Middle School 6-8

  • Newcomer Center at Kellogg Middle School


EL Services may be provided through any of the following (or a combination of)

  • co-taught mainstream classes
  • Sheltered EL Language class
  • Small group instruction

High School


  • Newcomer Center at Century High School

Sheltered English Instruction through the following classes:

  • EL 2 Reading
  • EL 2 Writing
  • EL 2 Grammar

Sheltered English Instruction through the following classes:

  • EL 3 Reading
  • EL 3 Writing
  • EL 3 Grammar

Sheltered English Instruction through the following classes:

  • EL 4 Reading
  • EL 4 Writing



Sheltered English Instruction through the following classes:

  • EL 5 Reading
  • EL 5 Writing


Newcomer Services:

Students with little to no English language skills are typically enrolled in our Newcomer Centers, which are located within our schools.  Our Newcomer Centers teach students the basics of reading, writing, listening and speaking in English, so that they can begin to participate in an American school setting.  The intensive, all-day programming also teaches math, science and social studies content to students.  Bilingual assistance is available for students who need additional help.  Typically, students remain in the Newcomer Centers for about a year, until they pass assessments that show they have enough basic literacy and English proficiency to participate successfully in a regular education classroom.

Elementary K-5 EL Services:

Elementary EL students receive language instruction at their elementary schools from a licensed EL teacher.  Students receive services based on their language level, which is provided from the W-APT or the ACCESS for ELs 2.0 assessment.  Students may receive instruction through a combination of services, such as a co-teaching model, pull-out setting for small group instruction or individual language instruction.  The time provided for each student depends on the needs of the student and the type of services provided.  The service time typically ranges from 30 minutes to an hour of EL instruction.  EL teachers focus on developing academic language proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing.  The instruction is aligned to the state English Language Arts standards and the WIDA English Language Development Standards.  EL teachers communicate regularly with mainstream classroom teachers regarding student progress.

 Middle School 6-8 EL Services:

EL students may receive direct English instruction for up to two hours daily, depending on their level of language proficiency.  Students receive daily language instruction in listening, speaking, reading and writing.  Students also develop academic language that is relevant to math, science, social studies and language arts.  EL services may be provided through co-taught mainstream classes, small group instruction and/or sheltered English Learner classes.  The services provided depend on the students’ level of English language proficiency.  Instruction is aligned to the state English Language Arts standards and the WIDA English Language Development Standards.

High School 9-12 EL Services

Students at the Beginning and Developing levels (Levels 2 & 3) receive three hours of EL instruction in reading, writing, listening and speaking daily.  These levels also provide students with general background knowledge in content areas such as language arts, science and social studies.  These courses earn general elective credits.  Students at the Expanding and Bridging levels (Levels 4 & 5) receive two hours of EL instruction in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.  Students at these levels focus on advanced academic language skills.  Level 4 students earn credit for 9th grade English.  Level 5 students earn credit for either 9th or 10th grade English.  Students may also receive EL services at any language level from a co-taught mainstream class. 

Age Limitation:  Minnesota allows students to attend high school until age 21.  However, the law states that there must be a reasonable expectation of graduation for students to enroll in the High School Newcomer Center.  Students who are 20 years old and have limited previous schooling will be referred to the Adult Literacy program.

Exiting the EL Program:

When a student has met the EL Exit Criteria, the student will be reclassified and will no longer receive EL services.  Parents will be notified of this reclassification.  Students will continue their education in the regular mainstream classrooms.  Please see the document Rochester Public Schools EL Exit Criteria to see the criteria used to determine when a student is ready to be exited from the program.

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