English Learners Program

The Upper Arlington Schools English Learners Program strives to provide all EL students with the knowledge, skills and confidence to become independent learners and achieve academic success during their time in our schools. 

More than 30 languages are spoken in the homes of our students — including: 

Cantonese / Zho / Mandarin
Persian / Farsi

Through collaboration, structured support and authentic language learning, the UA EL Program prepares students to succeed in all areas of school and society while continuing to value the native language and culture of all EL students.


The EL Program:

  • Provides best-practice instructional strategies that are designed to meet the needs of each EL student.

  • Facilitates opportunities for parents of EL students to develop home-school relationships and encourages involvement in their child’s education.

  • Helps students become proficient in the four language domains of listening, speaking, reading and writing.

You can view the Upper Arlington Schools EL Brochure, or expand the windows below to read the content of the brochure. If needed, a translation link is available in the top right corner of our website.

Identification - procedures and evaluations

If a student has a language other than English spoken in the home and has completed the Language Usage Survey at enrollment, the student will be assessed for English Language Proficiency. If the student qualifies, he or she is then an EL. ELs may be born in the USA or come from other countries. 

After identifying potential English learners with the Language Usage Survey, English proficiency will be assessed using the Ohio English Language Proficiency Screener (OELPS). OELPS is an online assessment designed to identify students who are not yet proficient in English. It is aligned to the English Language Proficiency Standards and uses the same platform as the OLEPA. It is administered individually by the EL Teacher during the school day. There are three steps to the assessment which assesses the four domains of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Part of the assessment is scored by the teacher and part is scored by the computer. These two scores are combined to give a score in each domain - listening, speaking, reading and writing, as well as an overall score.

Parents are notified of the results of OELPS. The letter will state if the student is identified as an English learner or if he or she didn’t qualify for services. Students who were English Learners in another Ohio district or another state will continue to be classified as EL in this district. 

This process must be completed within 30 days of enrollment at the beginning of the school year or within 14 days of enrollment during the school year.


Methods of Instruction

EL Teachers & Tutors follow the Ohio English Language Proficiency Standards to guide instruction, and to ensure that students achieve English proficiency and academic mastery in subject content areas. 


Kindergarten through 5th grade students participate in a combination push-in/pull-out program. EL students spend most of the school day in their regular classroom, and receive English language instruction individually or in a small group. Kindergarten students who qualify for EL services will receive instructional support in their regular classroom from an EL Tutor. 1st-5th grade students receive a combination of push-in and pull-out instruction from an EL Teacher or EL Tutor. The elementary EL Teacher and EL Tutors focus on individualized English instruction, literacy skills, scaffolding of classroom assignments, and building background knowledge to support classroom assignments. The frequency and duration of instruction are determined by the EL Teacher with consideration from the classroom teacher. 

Middle School/High School

Middle school (6-8) EL students meet with an EL Teacher or Tutor during their flex or enrichment times, or during class time in a pull-out program. Instruction is one-on-one or in small groups, depending on the availability of the student and the teacher or tutor. The EL Teacher and Tutors will assist students with homework, classroom assignments, test preparation, as well as individualized English Instruction. 

High school (9-12) EL students will be enrolled in an EL English class which is designed to build fluency of students’ language and communication skills. Students will work on vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension, speaking and writing skills, as well as explore cultural and community issues. High school students will also meet in a small group setting with an EL Tutor during their study hall period. This time is dedicated to supporting homework and classroom assignments, assisting with test preparation, and providing additional instruction as needed.


Instruction in the classroom

Classroom and content area teachers in UA Schools are expected to provide scaffolds, accommodations and modifications for ELs in their classes. Possible accommodations for instruction and assessments may include:

  • Visual aids - pictures, videos, manipulatives, drawings

  • Communicate directions in multiple ways (oral & written)

  • Speak slowly and clearly

  • Bilingual materials/Bilingual tutor

  • Extended time

  • Modified assignments

  • Use of a dictionary/iPad/Google Translate for translation

  • Repeat or model directions

  • Frequent checks for understanding

  • Pre-teaching vocabulary, vocabulary lists

  • Build background knowledge

  • Graphic organizers

  • Provide outlines, highlighted notes

  • Peer or buddy teaching

  • Allowing students to write in their first language

  • Wait time

  • Providing frequent opportunities for small group work with peers

  • Reduce the length of a test. Focus only on key concepts

  • Read the test aloud (with EL Teacher)

  • Allow student to define/explain/summarize in native language

State & District Testing for ELs

English Learners take all state assessments required of their English-speaking peers.  Accommodations will be provided to assist with their understanding of testing material and the clarity of their response. Accommodations may include:

  • Extended time

  • Use of word-to-word dictionary

  • Interpreter for content area tests (not ELA)

  • Small group testing environment with EL Teacher

Each spring, EL students will take the Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA). The OELPA is a state-required assessment given annually to all students identified as English Learners. OELPA is an online assessment based on the English Language Proficiency Standards, which assesses the four domains of listening, speaking, reading and writing. It is administered by EL Teachers and Tutors. The domains of listening, reading and writing are administered in a group setting. Speaking is administered individually. ELs do not receive any accommodations on the OELPA as it is an assessment of their English skills. The results of OELPA are generally received by districts in May. Letters are sent to parents in June with results of their student’s assessment. 

While the OELPA has no bearing on grade-level advancement or achievement, it gives valuable feedback to both the district and the state about the language progress of our EL students. It also affects each student’s status as an English Learner. 

Third Grade Reading Guarantee and ELs

From Ohio Department of Education’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee Guidance Manual

(Updated as of School year 2018-2019)

All students scoring below the designated level on the third grade ELA must be retained, with the exception of specific groups of students which include the EL. ELs who have been enrolled in U.S. schools for less than three full school years and have had less than three years of instruction in an English as a Second Language (ESL) program are exempt from the retention stated in the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.


Exiting the EL Program

Each year, El students take the Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA) to monitor their progress in speaking, listening, reading and writing. In OELPA, there are three overall performance levels: Proficient, Emerging, and Progressing. The performance levels are determined as follows: 

  • “Proficient” students are those scoring any combination of 4’s and 5’s across all four domains.

  • “Emerging” students are those scoring any combination of 1’s and 2’s across all four domains.

  • “Progressing” students are those scoring any combination across the four domains that does not fall into Proficient or Emerging. 

ELs who score a combination of 5’s and 4’s in three domains and a score of 3 in one domain are considered Trial Mainstream. Trial Mainstream students will remain in the program until they reach “Proficient” status. EL Teachers will monitor students’ progress and provide services as needed until they meet the exit criteria. 

Students identified as “Proficient” in grades K-12 are eligible to exit the EL program. After scoring Proficient, the student is no longer considered an English Learner student and will not receive services from the EL program.

Students exiting from EL status must be monitored for at least four years to ensure that they have not been prematurely exited and they are meaningfully participating in the standard program of instruction comparable to their never-EL peers.


Contact Information

Michelle Banks, Ed.D.
Director of Elementary Education
[email protected]

Kristin Robbins, Ed.D.
Director of Secondary Education
Cynthia Redman
District EL Teacher, Elementary
Andrew Hoobler
District EL Teacher, Secondary
Laura Geil
EL Tutor
Greensview, Wickliffe and Windermere
Jean Piper
EL Tutor
Barrington and Jones
Dee Milo
EL Tutor
Chiu Chen
Bilingual EL Tutor, District
Suki Liu
Bilingual EL Tutor, District 
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