Avery County Schools Policy Policy Code: 3102


The Avery County Board of Education acknowledges the unique needs and strengths of students whose primary home language is a language other than English. The progress of English learner (EL) students can be enhanced by effective and appropriate programs designed to meet their language needs. These programs shall be developed and implemented for English learner students within the guidelines and funding established by the North Carolina State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction.

The English Learner Department of Avery County Schools strives to ensure that EL students have access to challenging content and receive appropriately modified instruction and assessments. EL services shall be delivered through both the English as a second language (ESL) program and the content area teacher. The EL department shall offer support and professional development to teachers and staff who work with English language learners.

Identification of English Learner Students

A home language survey will be included in the required initial enrollment packet provided to every new student enrolling in Avery County Schools. The principal or his or her designee shall notify the EL department within five (5) days after enrollment if a review of the home language survey reveals that the answer to any question is a language other than English. The EL department shall then assess the student’s current level of English proficiency and determine if the student meets the criteria for EL classification.

ESL specialists will collaborate with content area teachers to develop a personal education plan (PEP) for each EL student. The PEP will document the EL student’s current English proficiency levels, language goals, classroom modifications, and eligibility for EL testing accommodations. Content area teachers shall implement the modifications and testing accommodations prescribed in the PEP. ESL specialists will meet with content area teachers during the year to review student needs and progress.

Identification of Immigrant Students

All children in the United States are entitled to equal access to a public education. Avery County Schools will not inquire about students’ or parents’ citizenship or immigration status.

Avery County Schools may inquire about a student’s country of birth for reporting purposes. The U.S. Department of Education allocates a portion of funding to states based on the share of immigrant children and youth in the state. The term “immigrant children and youth” as defined in Section 3201(5) of Title III refers to individuals who: (A) are aged 3 through 21; (B) were not born in any state; and (C) have not been attending one or more schools in any one or more States (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) for more than three (3) full academic years. The term “immigrant” as used in Title III is unrelated to an individual’s legal or immigration status in the United States.

Questions pertaining to a student’s country of birth and date of first enrollment in any U.S. school are included on the Avery County Schools home language survey. The principal or his or her designee shall notify the EL department within five (5) days after enrollment if a review of a student’s home language survey indicates that the student was born in a country other than the United States. The EL department shall determine if the student meets the criteria to be reported as an immigrant child or youth.

Evaluating and Grading EL Students

EL students will have access to challenging, grade-level content that will be modified to reduce complexity of language while preserving complexity of thought. However, EL students may not be expected to achieve the same outcomes in the same amount of time as their English- proficient peers. EL students may not receive a failing grade due to lack of English proficiency. Teachers should demonstrate that an EL student’s poor academic performance is unrelated to language proficiency levels and is a result of factors unrelated to language, such as attendance, participation or effort, if a failing grade is to be assigned.

Retention of EL Students

EL students may not be retained for failing to meet academic standards due to language deficits. Retention of an EL student in grades K-8 or denial of credits in grades 9-12 may only be considered if academic difficulties are unrelated to English proficiency levels. EL specialists will participate in decisions concerning the retention of EL students.

EL Students and Special Programs

EL students shall not be referred to or excluded from specialized programs and support services (special education, programs for the academically gifted, etc.) because of English proficiency levels.

Avery County Schools recognizes the challenges associated with making valid special education referrals and accurate special education placement decisions for EL students. EL specialists will be active participants in problem-solving and intervention processes prior to special education referrals. The problem-solving team will observe best practices and district protocol regarding EL students and the pre-referral process. Extrinsic factors such as English proficiency levels will be eliminated as primary contributors to a student’s failure to make expected progress.

Meaningful Communication with EL Parents

Avery County Schools will promote the involvement of EL parents in the education of their children by providing equal access to information and effective, meaningful language assistance, when feasible. Avery County Schools will use the home language survey to inquire about whether a parent or guardian requires oral and/or written communication in a language other English. Limited English proficient parents will be provided with translation or interpretation services from appropriate and competent individuals. Students, siblings, friends, and untrained staff members are not considered qualified translators or interpreters, even if they are bilingual. Avery County Schools may use a language line phone service to provide oral interpretation services if interpreters who speak the target language are not available.

Legal References: 16 N.C.A.C. 6D .0106 NC State Board of Education Regulations Governing Serving LEP Students (policy 3550); 16 N.C.A.C. 6D .0507 Accountability Standards for Students with Limited English Proficiency; ESEA Section 3201(5); English Learner Tool Kit, U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and U.S. Department of Justice (2015) Cross Reference: Adopted: 11/06/00

Updated: 1/12/16; 5/14/19

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