English Learners

English language learning opportunities in Spring Lake Park Schools prepare students identified as English Learners for success by honoring home language and culture, and providing equitable access and personalized experiences for each learner.

Spring Lake Park Schools has created a framework to provide instruction for students identified as English Learners. Our framework and instructional approach strives to foster students' academic language needs through developing the linguistic, academic, life and career skills needed to succeed. We believe in a shared responsibility, working to meet the needs of our students identified as English Learners. We offer a personalized system of support for students identified as English Learners as they work toward developing listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

Assumptions and Beliefs that Guide Our Work

  1. All children are language learners and are capable of learning more than one language (Lightbown & Spada, 2006).
  2. All teachers, regardless of content area, are language teachers and are responsible for teaching the language needed for students to access and fully engage with the course content and related classroom work (Harper & de Jong, 2004).
  3. Bilingual education options in Spring Lake Park Schools support an additive model, which promotes bilingualism and bi-literacy over the long term, as opposed to a subtractive model, which promotes monolingual learning in the dominant language resulting in loss or replacement of the heritage language (May, 2008; Steele et al., 2015; Valentino & Reardon, 2015).
  4. The linguistic abilities and cultural experiences of all students, particularly those with a first language other than English, will be regarded as assets to leverage as opposed to deficits to overcome.
  5. There is no “one way” to learn a language, and the process of learning an L1 cannot be equated to that of learning an L2, L3, etc. As such, we will use multiple ways to formatively and summatively assess all language learners, and we will make use of what we learn to personalize each child’s language learning experience and create options that meet individual needs (Harper and de Jong, 2004).
  6. Language informs identity, provides power and is an asset; the developing and/or maintaining of a child’s heritage language increases his or her ability to acquire new or additional languages. A solid academic base for students in their L1 facilitates the acquisition of literacy in L2 (Cummins, 2000).
  7. Observational data and quantitative research within immersion education indicates a trend toward positive academic achievement for students whose L1 is either English or the target immersion language; positive academic achievement for students whose L1 is neither English nor the target immersion language has also been evidenced, and is an area for further research (Steele et al., 2015; Valentino & Reardon, 2015).
  8. Acquisition of more than one language benefits learners cognitively, academically, socially, and economically (NEA Research, 2007).
  9. We will be informed and transparent with regards to bilingual education opportunities that exist in our district, including anticipated outcomes based upon current research. We will conduct outreach and actively inform families of these options so that each can make the best possible decision for their child.
  10. All stakeholders in this endeavor need more information on the benefits of multilingual education; as a result, we will consistently examine student outcomes data over time to continue to examine the impact of bilingual education programming in Spring Lake Park Schools.


  1. Cummins, J. (2000). Language, power, and pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire. Bristol, United Kingdom: Multilingual Matters.
  2. Harper, C., & de Jong, E. (2004). Misconceptions about teaching English-language learners. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 48(2), 152-162.
  3. Lightbown, P. M. & Spada, N. (2006). Popular ideas about language learning revisited. In How Languages are Learned (pp.183-194). Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.
  4. NEA Research (2007). The benefits of second language study: Research findings with citations. 
  5. Pacific Policy Research Center (2010). Successful bilingual and immersion education models/programs. Honolulu: Kamehameha Schools, Research & Evaluation Division.
  6. Slavin, R. E., & Cheung, A. (2005). A synthesis of research on language of reading instruction for English language learners. Review of Educational Research, 75(2), 247-284.
  7. Slavin, R. E., Madden, N., Calderon, M., Chamberlain, A., & Hennessy, M. (2010). Reading and language outcomes of a five-year randomized evaluation of transitional bilingual education. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 33(1), 47-58.
  8. Steele, J. L., Slater, R.O., Zamarro, G., Miller, T., Li, J., Burkhauser, S., & Bacon, M. (2015). The effect of dual-language immersion on student achievement: Evidence from lottery data. Institute of Education Sciences.
  9. Thomas, W. P., & Collier, V. P. (2015). English learners in North Carolina dual language programs: Year 3 of this study: School year 2009-10. Click here to view the study. 
  10. Valentino, R.A., & Reardon, S. F. (2015). Effectiveness of four instructional programs designed to serve English learners: Variations by ethnicity and initial English proficiency. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 37(4), 612-637.

More on English Learners

Click on the links below to access additional English Learners information on the district website:

•  Frequently Asked Questions
•  Access Test

Student writing