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Back to Index | Relevant Policy - 9.16 Bilingual Instruction / Native Language Instruction
9.16.P.1 Bilingual Instruction / Native Language Instruction
The following procedures are established for purposes of honoring parental exception waivers and assuring compliance with all statutory requirements for teaching students who are non-native English speakers. According to state statute, children who are English language learners are to be educated through sheltered English immersion during a temporary transition period not normally intended to exceed one year. Schools are permitted but not required to place in the same classroom English learners of different ages but whose degree of English proficiency is similar. Schools are encouraged to mix together in the same classroom English learners from different native-language groups but with the same degree of English fluency. Once English learners have acquired a good working knowledge of English and are able to do regular school work in English, they will no longer be classified as English learners and will be transferred to English language mainstream classrooms. Foreign language classes for children who already know English will be completely unaffected, as will special educational programs for physically- or mentally-impaired students.

The requirements for a transition period may be waived with the prior written informed consent, to be provided annually, of the child's parents or legal guardian. Such informed consent requires that parents or legal guardian personally visit the school to apply for the waiver and that there be provided a full description of the educational materials to be used in the different educational program choices and all the educational opportunities available to the child. If a parental waiver has been granted, the child will be transferred to classes teaching English and other subjects through bilingual education techniques or other generally recognized educational methodologies permitted by law. Individual schools in which 20 students or more of a given grade level receive a waiver will offer such a class; in all other cases, students will be permitted to transfer to a public school in which such a class is offered.

Parental exception waivers may be granted for the following:
  • The child already possesses good English language skills, as measured by oral evaluation or standardized tests of English vocabulary comprehension, reading, and writing, in which the child scores approximately at or above the state average for his grade level or at or above the 5th grade average, whichever is lower; or
  • Older children: the child is age 10 years or older, and it is the informed belief of the school principal and educational staff that an alternate course of educational study would be better suited to the child's overall educational progress and rapid acquisition of basic English language skills; or
  • Children with special individual needs: the child already has been placed for a period of not less than thirty calendar days during that school year in an English language classroom and it is subsequently the informed belief of the school principal and educational staff that the child has such special and individual physical or psychological needs, above and beyond the child's lack of English proficiency, that an alternate course of educational study would be better suited to the child's overall educational development and rapid acquisition of English. A written description of no less than 250 words documenting these special individual needs for the specific child must be provided and permanently added to the child's official school records, and the waiver application must contain the original authorizing signatures of both the school principal and the local superintendent of schools. Teachers and local Districts may reject waiver requests without explanation or legal consequence, the existence of such special individual needs shall not compel issuance of a waiver, and the parents shall be fully informed of their right to refuse to agree to a waiver.