Students are identified based on home language surveys, the federal limited English proficient (LEP) definition, student records, and the WIDA Screener (Grades 1 - 12) or WIDA Screener for Kindergarten assessment. Services and instruction are provided to the student based on scores from the applicable WIDA assessment. Parents/guardians and the student are informed of the student's eligibility and services can be declined by the parent/guardian by submitting the necessary paperwork. Students who arrive to West Fargo Public Schools from a North Dakota school district, or another WIDA state, and are already identified as English learning will have their current WIDA access score used to enroll in West Fargo Public Schools' English learning program.
English learners are placed in grades that are age-appropriate. Elementary and middle school students are never placed in a grade level that is more than one year below their chronological age. When making grade placements, the student's chronological age, educational background, number of credits previously earned, and parent/guardian's input are all considered.
Students who are identified as limited English proficient (LEP) are administered the applicable WIDA assessment for English language learners each year to measure progress and to reestablish eligibility or determine readiness to exit. The scores are kept on file to document eligibility and are provided to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.
The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction requires the school district to assure limited English proficient students are included in the statewide achievement assessment system, identified and assessed for English language proficiency, and provided appropriate instructional services based on the assessment. English learners who take NDAA 1 take an alternative WIDA ACCESS assessment. Accommodations are available for English learners and vary by assessment; case managers work with administrators and special education staff, if applicable, to determine the appropriate accommodations for each student.
The WIDA ACCESS test administrator must hold a North Dakota English Language/Bilingual endorsement on their teaching license or have an English learner program plan on file with the state. The administrator must complete online training on the WIDA ACCESS website and pass the online quizzes for the test modules they plan to administer. The assessment scorer (if scored on-site) must hold a North Dakota English Language/Bilingual endorsement on their teaching license or have an English learner program plan on file with the state.
Individual Language Plan (ILP)
An individual language plan (ILP) is written within 30 days of the start of each school year or within two weeks of a student enrolling after the start of the school year. An ILP is developed and revised each year by a student's English learner case manager. The case manager files a copy in the student's cumulative file and distributes one copy to the student's parents/guardians and classroom teachers. The ILP includes an assessment, instructional accommodations, and standardized testing accommodations. Each student also has language objectives in the core areas of English language arts, math, science, social studies, and social and instructional language.
Special Education & English Learner Enrollments
English learner teachers work with the special education teachers to ensure that students are placed into the correct program. The use of the Acculturation Quick Screen (AQS III), by Dr. Catherine Collier is one tool used to help understand the needs of diverse students. West Fargo Public Schools also uses a case review form that includes Dr. Collier’s difference versus disability process when considering if an English learner should also receive special education services. Students who are placed in special education also take the ACCESS or Alternate ACCESS assessment every year.