In March 2014, the State Board of Education created the language acquisition award to recognize schools whose ELL students are making the greatest progress toward the goal of becoming proficient in English, which is a stepping stone to career and college-readiness.
English Language Learner (ELL) students are the fastest growing subgroup in our schools today. According to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s (OSPI) K12 Report Card, the number of ELL students increased 30 percent between May 2005 and May 2013. In school year 2012-13, 187 different languages were spoken by Washington students.
Language acquisition is an indicator of school success and deserves to be acknowledged. We want to shine the light on what is working so it can be replicated across the state. The Board will work with OSPI and other partners to support award-winning schools in sharing their strategies and best practices.
These schools not only deliver high quality instruction to all of their students, they also provide instructional services to support their ELL students, preparing them to transition out of language programs and achieve academic success.
The award recognizes approximately the top five percent of elementary, middle, and high schools (who have assessed 20 or more students) based on the school’s median point gain on the Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment (WELPA). Award-winning schools must also have met Annual Measurable Achievement Objective (AMAO) 1 and AMAO 2 federal accountability targets. There are two categories based on the number of students who took the WELPA, small programs (20 to 99 students) and large programs (100 plus students).
Learn more about the award on our website at: www.sbe.wa.gov/ela_award.php