San Marino Unified School District

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Services for English Learners

What services are available to help students learning English as a Second language?

English Language Development (ELD) is a specific method of teaching in English to build vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency in the English language. ELD specialists work with groups of students who have limited English language proficiency as appropriate to each child’s level of proficiency.

Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE) is a specific method of teaching content (i.e. social studies, science, math, etc.) that helps English as a second language learners to master the California Content Standards in English.

All classroom teachers in San Marino are required to have special training and to practice SDAIE teaching strategies with English learners in their regular education classes.


How are results from the CELDT reported and used?

One of five levels of English proficiency is report from the results the California English Language Development Test (CELDT):

Early Intermediate
Early Advanced, and

Children are tested on the CELDT upon entering SMUSD and then annually thereafter to assess English language proficiency and individual progress over the years. Kindergarten and First graders will be tested in the reading/writing portion of the CELDT. Parents are given the results of these tests as soon as received from the scoring service.

The CELDT as well as other measures (grades, observations, classroom work samples, and standardized tests, etc.) are used to determine the child’s class placement. Teachers, parents, and specialists work together in making important educational program decisions.


The Elementary English Language Development Program

The ELD teacher develops an Individual Learning Plan with input from the regular education teacher and parents. Program decisions are based on the child’s level of proficiency and other instructional needs. Students may receive instruction for part of the day in the ELD class or remain in the regular class with extra help from the classroom teacher.

The Middle and High School Programs

The counselor works with ELD specialists, classroom teachers, and parents to determine each student’s instructional needs and coordinates the student’s course assignments.

The student is assigned to an English Language Development (ELD) class instead of a “regular” English class for the number of instructional periods appropriate for his/her needs. Other coursework placements are arranged as appropriate to meet the needs of the student.

Teacher Training to Address Needs of English Learners

All teachers in San Marino Unified School District are required to have specialized training to teach English Learners by January 1, 2005. This training includes research-based information about the needs of their students learning English as a second language, as well as strategies to assist students in understand the content they are learning in academic coursework.

How does the school decide eligibility to receive services?

California requires all parents to complete a home language survey when registering children for school. The survey asks:

1. What language did this student learn when first beginning to talk?
2. What language do you use most frequently to speak to this student?
3. What language does this student most frequently use at home?
4. What language do adults speak at home most often?

If the answer to the first three questions on the survey is a language other than English, the child must take the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) as well as other measures to determine the child’s English proficiency level. By law, a parent can not opt their child out of this testing.

What does the CELDT Measure? 

The CELDT assesses the four domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English and is aligned to the English-language development (ELD) standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE). In California, EC Section 60810 has been amended to authorize early literacy assessment of ELs in kindergarten and grade one (K-1) commencing with the 2009–10 school year. Only trained examiners administer the CELDT to K-12 grade students.

Can a parent refuse English Language Development instruction?

No, the child is required to receive specialized instructional strategies to help him/her learn English regardless of their program assignment. However, the parent may request a waiver to opt out of a particular language arts program. The procedures and forms may be requested from the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services at (626) 299-7000 Extension 321 or from the school principal’ s office. The final decision rests with the principal.

English Language Advisory Committees

All parents of English learners are welcome to participate in their school site and District level English Language Advisory Councils. These groups provide valuable input for ongoing program improvement. They additionally receive information about curriculum, instruction, program evaluation and budget. For more information contact your site ELD teacher.

What are the requirements to achieve the status of “English Proficient?”

When describing language proficiency, it is important to remember that mastering English for social purposes is a much easier and shorter process than mastering English to learn and achieve in academic subjects. A student may be reclassified as 'English Proficient’ based on PERFORMANCE, not on the length of time he/she has been in the ELD program. The criteria teachers use to reclassify a child from English learner to English Proficient are as follows:
• A score of 4 or 5 on the CELDT Test and a score of 4 or higher on each skill area (e.g., listening, speaking, reading and writing)
• STAR Test results that show a 'basic' level of proficiency in Language Arts and Math
• Grades of C or better in academic classes (i.e. social studies, science, and math,)
• Teacher evaluation of oral English language skills
• Parental approval

What do these terms mean?

CELDT California English Language Development Test
A California test to assess English language proficiency level in reading, writing, listening, and speaking

DELAC District English Language Advisory Council
District group of parents of English learners who learn about and give advice to staff about programs

ELL English Language Learner
A student who speaks English as a second language with limited fluency

ELD English Language Development
A program that helps students with limited English proficiency gain in English language fluency

SDAIE Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English
Strategies used in classes to help students with limited fluency learn general coursework in English

SELAC School English Language Advisory Council
School site group of parents of English learners who learn about and give advice to staff about programs.

SST Student Success Team
The parents, teachers, administrator, and others as they are appropriate that meet to talk about a child’s strengths and needs to best plan an educational program

STAR Standardized Testing and Reporting
Standardized tests to assess reading, language arts, writing, math, science, and social studies given in English

ELD Teachers

Instructional Services TOSA

Leticia Aranda,


Danielle Blatchley,



Kimberly Cheng,



Robert Chacon,

San Marino High School

Kelly Chao,