EL Program

About the English Learner Program At Odyssey

(Haga clic aquí para la versión en español)

How Do Students Get in the English Learner Program?

English Learner (EL) students are identified at registration when the parent or guardian informs the school that they speak a language other than English. Each year, all EL students are required by state and federal law to be tested on their ability to listen, read, write, and speak in English until they obtain a 4.5 or higher on the test. This test is called the WIDA Assessment and must be taken in person on Odyssey’s campus. If students do not score a 4.5 or higher on the WIDA, then the federal government designates the student as “Limited English Proficient,” which means the student speaks limited English according to the WIDA exam.

Why Does This Program Exist?

As required by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, all students who are identified as “Limited English Proficient” or EL must be assessed annually for English proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. This language test does not replace the other English exams like SBAC or EoC, but it is required by state law. All EL students must participate in all four sections of this exam. This exam is delivered entirely on the computer for middle and high school students and on paper for some elementary school students.

What does WIDA mean?

In 2002, a grant provided initial funding for the organization that would become WIDA. Three states were involved in the grant: Wisconsin (WI), Delaware (D), and Arkansas (A), so the acronym WIDA was chosen for the name. At the last minute, however, Arkansas dropped out, and World-class Instructional Design and Assessment was created to fit the acronym. WIDA later dropped the acronym and states “WIDA just means WIDA–It’s a proper noun stylized as an acronym.”

If you have been labeled EL in Infinite Campus, you are required to participate in this exam.

What is the WIDA Screener?

When a student is new to Odyssey, we ask if the student speaks a language other than English “at home, ” “in school,” or “with their friends.” If the answer to any of these situations is yes, then students must be given the WIDA screener (grades K-12) to see if they need EL services. Students who score below 4.5 on this test are placed in the English Learner Program.

English Learner Program

Students in the English Learner (EL) program receive a variety of supports and benefits. This can be additional support such as a grade-level advocate, tutor, or other academic support as deemed appropriate. For our Elementary School students, they see Ms. Catherine Friedman for these supports. For our Middle School students, they see Ms. Vicki Dailey for these supports. For High School students, they are enrolled in a class called Academic Content Language Expansion (ACLE) for these supports.

With regards to testing, students in our EL program may receive certain testing accommodations such as extra time, a bilingual dictionary, or translated directions on required state and federal tests.

EL students will also participate each year in the WIDA exam which will measure their ability to listen, read, write, and speak English. Once students obtain a score of 4.5 or higher, they will be considered proficient in English and have “exited” the EL support program.