The vision of District 45 is to prepare students to successfully navigate a dynamic world. Bilingualism, the development of language and literacy skills in both English and a home language, is an academic advantage to equip children to navigate our globally connected society. We want D45 English learners to see bilingualism as an asset to their future. English learners enter our schools with incredible strengths having come from a home where another language is spoken. We want to build on those strengths. In D45, we believe language and literacy, embedded in a rigorous and relevant curriculum, will help children fully develop their capacities to read, write, speak, listen, and use language strategically and effectively.
Director of EL/Bilingual Services
Amy Baker Zaleski
District Biliteracy Instructional Coach
District EL Literacy Leader
District Parent Liaison
Full-time Transitional Bilingual Education (Spanish): Students in our full-time TBE program are offered a self-contained classroom in which English and Spanish are both used for instruction. The classroom teacher is a certified bilingual educator. Students remain in this setting from PreK-3rd grade. After 3rd grade, Spanish literacy services are given as needed in a pullout setting from 4th-8th grades.
Part-time Transitional Bilingual Education (Spanish): Students in our part-time TBE program are offered a self-contained English classroom. ESL services for English support are offered by an ESL endorsed teacher. Spanish support can be provided if needed.
Part-time Transitional Bilingual Education (Urdu): Students in our part-time TBE program are offered a self-contained English classroom. ESL services for English support are offered by an ESL endorsed teacher. Urdu support can be provided if needed. This program is only offered at Stevenson and York Center Schools.
Transitional Program of Instruction: Students in our part-time TPI program are offered a self-contained English classroom. ESL services for English support are offered by an ESL endorsed teacher.
Spanish I– Grade 8 students have the opportunity to begin learning Spanish as a foreign language during this interactive, exploratory course.
Heritage Spanish– Grade 8 students who speak Spanish in their homes are offered Heritage Spanish instead of Spanish I. Heritage Spanish includes opportunities for Latino students to engage in rich discussions of their cultural identity through exploration of literature, history, music, art, and food across the Spanish-speaking world.
Who are English Learners (ELs)?
English learners are multilingual students who enter school speaking English and one or more home languages. These students receive instructional support in developing the academic language skills needed for school success. In D45, we value the rich cultural and linguistic strengths of our English learners.
How many EL students are there in District 45?
English learners make up 25% of our population in District 45. We have approximately 850 students identified as ELs in our multilingual programs. 75% of our English learners have Spanish as their home language.
How are students identified for the Multilingual Programs?
When families register their child for school, completion of a Home Language Survey is included. If another language is spoken in the home and/or spoken by the child, all Illinois school districts are required by the State to screen students for English language proficiency. The screener measures the student’s ability to listen, speak, read and write in the English language. Students whose scores qualify them are invited to participate in one of our multilingual programs.
How long does it take to learn another language?
The most comprehensive research on language learning has been completed by Wayne Thomas & Virginia Collier, professors emeritus, George Mason University. Thomas & Collier studied the language acquisition of 7.5 million English learners over 32 years and across sixteen states. In their findings, Thomas & Collier found that the most significant variable in how long it takes to learn English is the amount of formal schooling students have received in their first language. They found that it typically takes between 5-9 years to learn another language academically (Thomas & Collier, 1997). It takes 5 years or less for students with a solid foundation in their first language and up to 9 years or more for students whose foundational language development was inconsistent.
Our full-time transitional bilingual education (TBE) program in District 45, although being transitoinal after third grade, has a content allocation plan to help K-3rd bilingual teachers know how to balance English and Spanish instruction. It provides consistency between bilingual programs across the district and supports students in learning both of their languages.
Students in the EL program, part-time TBE and TPI (transitional program of instruction) students, receive support in their English development with the support gradually released as the child acquires English and attains higher levels of English proficiency.
Every child is different and regardless of the type of multilingual program, some students take less than 5 years to acquire English and others take longer.
How do we know if our ELs are making progress in the English language?
All English learners in Illinois public schools grades K-12 must be assessed annually for English proficiency growth and academic progress. Every year, the ACCESS for ELLs exam is used to assess English language proficiency while the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) exam is used to assess academic achievement in English.
As a district, we also use local measures to monitor the academic progress of all learners. ELL teachers, bilingual teachers, and general education teachers work collaboratively to ensure English learners are showing growth in English.
How can parents help their children learn?
Students who can speak, read and write in their home language will learn English more quickly. You don’t need to teach reading twice. The home language skills transfer. A solid foundation in the home language will help children to learn a new language because they transfer what they know.
Parents can help by:
Current leadership members by school
ESL Online Resources
Spanish online resources