Where do families register students who are not native English speakers?
All families of English learners can come to the district's Multilingual Enrollment and Support Center (MESC) to enroll students in any grade, get help with middle and high school choice, plan high school courses, and learn about community resources. Families of elementary and middle school students can also enroll at their neighborhood schools
What documents do families need?
All families complete the registration form (English | Spanish) and provide the same documents when they register, including proof of required immunizations.
By law, families are not required to prove legal status in the United States and do not need to show social security cards or any immigration documents. School staff should not ask for these documents or inquire about a family's or student's immigration status. However, for refugee students, the I-94 visa can be used to confirm birth date if no birth certificate is available.
How does a school serve families that don't speak English?
All families are entitled to high-quality service in a language they understand. First, determine the language the family speaks; then use one of these supports.
Face-to-face interpretation. Bilingual staff assigned to ESOL sites can assist with interpretation as their schools, as their schedules allow. (They may also provide limited translation services and interpretation for family meetings, phone calls home, and other schoolwide events.) If a bilingual staff member is not available, submit an online request for an interpreter at least five days before the event.
Interpretation on the telephone. CTS Language Link can be called to provide interpretation over the phone. To schedule IEP meetings and other communication about special education services, please call 1-800-535-9250 and use access code 15868. All other interpretation services should be accessed at 1-877-963-7466 with access code 13015.
Translation. City Schools produces many printed documents in English and Spanish, and this website can be translated into Arabic, Chinese, French, and Spanish by clicking the "Translate" link at the top right of any page. In addition, the district has a contract with TransAct, which houses numerous school-related documents in multiple languages.
For additional resources on translation and interpretation, review this information sheet. When using our approved vendors, fill out the Interpreter Request Form below and submit it directly to the vendor.
Interpreter Request Form: PDF | spreadsheet
How are students identified for ESOL services?
The registration form includes a "home language survey." Based on the family's answers to the survey questions, a student whose primary language is not English is flagged in Infinite Campus for assessment of English language proficiency (Kindergarten W-APT or the WIDA Screener) and placement for ESOL services, if appropriate. If your school is an ESOL site, ESOL teachers will administer the assessment.
If your school is not an ESOL site, an assessment teacher will visit your school to talk to the child’s family about transferring to the closest ESOL site or refusing service. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get the name of the assessment teacher assigned to your school.
Can families refuse ESOL services for their children?
Yes, after they are fully informed by the ESOL staff of the impact of their choice. The decision to waive services must be noted on the parent notification letter and filed in the blue EL folder, which becomes part of the cumulative record; it should also be recorded in Infinite Campus.
Students are still required to participate in the annual WIDA ACCESS, as mandated by the Maryland State Board of Education. Accommodations must also be provided for these students and documentation filed in their EL folder.
Do all students and parents from households where English is not the primary language receive language services?
No. Keep in mind that a student who does not speak English well may have a parent or guardian who is fluent in English; conversely, a student who is fluent in English may have parents or guardians who are not fluent. Students receive ESOL services based on their English proficiency determined by the Kindergarten W-APT or the WIDA Screener and the annual WIDA ACCESS. Parents and guardians must receive information related to their child's education in a language they understand, with interpretation or translation services as needed.