• Definitions

    There are many different types of English language learners. Some students come from a household where English is not spoken at all, some students come to the United States from other countries at some point in their academic career, and some students have had interrupted levels of schooling, both in their native language and in English language acquisition. Here are the definitions that the district uses:

    English Learner (EL)

    As defined in Minnesota under 2017 Minnesota Statutes, section 124D. 59, subdivision 2, an English learner is “a pupil in kindergarten through grade 12 or a prekindergarten student enrolled in an approved voluntary prekindergarten program under section 124D.151 or a school readiness plus program who meets the requirements under subdivision 2a or the following requirements: 

    1. The pupil, as declared by a parent or guardian, uses a language other than English; and 

    2. The pupil is determined by a valid assessment measuring the pupil’s English language proficiency and by developmentally appropriate measures, which might include observations, teacher judgment, parent recommendations, or developmentally appropriate assessment instruments, to lack the necessary English skills to participate fully in academic classes taught in English.” 

    Note that the phrases, English learner (EL) and multilingual learner (MLL), are used interchangeably in this language instruction education plan (LIEP) to reflect both federal and state laws and regulations, in addition to guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education.

    Immigrant Children and Youth

    An immigrant is defined as a student who:

    1. A child who aged 3 -21;

    2. Was not born in any state or any U.S. territory;

    3. Has not been attending one or more schools in any one or more states for more than three full academic years (on a cumulative basis); and,

    4. While most immigrant students in Minnesota are also English learners, students who are not ELs can also be identified for funding and support.

    Long-Term English Learners (LTEL)

    Minnesota does not have a formal definition of LTELs within its statute, and ESSA does not formally define long-term English learners. However, under ESSA, all states are required to report the number and percentage of ELs who have not attained English language proficiency within five years of initial classification as an English learner and first enrollment in the local education agency [ESSA, Section 2133 (a)(6)].

    Migratory Children

    According to section 1309 of the ESSA, a child is a “migratory child” if the following conditions are met:

    1. The child is not older than 21 years of age; and,

      1. The child is entitled to a free public education (through grade 12) under state law, or,

      2. The child is not yet at grade level at which the LEA provides a free public education, and,

    2. The child made a qualifying move in the preceding 36 months as a migratory agricultural worker or a migratory fisher, or did so with, or to join a parent/guardian or spouse who is a migratory agricultural worker or migratory fisher; and, 

    3. With regard to the qualifying move identified in [2], above, the child moved due to economic necessity from one residence to another residence, and,

      1. From one school to another; or,

      2. In a state that is comprised of a single school district, has moved from one administrative area to another within such district; or,

      3. Resides in a school district of more than 15,000 square miles and migrates a distance of 20 miles or more to a temporary residence.

    Recently Arrived English Learners (RAEL)

    An RAEL is an English learner enrolled in a school in one of the 50 states in the United States or District of Columbia for less than 12 months [ESSA 1111(b)(3)(A)).

    Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE)

    Students with limited or interrupted formal education make up a specific group of ELs. Signed into law in 2014, the Learning English for Academy Proficiency and Success (LEAPS) Act formally defined this group of ELs in state law and requires the MDE to report on the acquisition of English and academic progress of SLIFE. The Minnesota LEAPS Act, under 2017 Minnesota Statutes, section 124D. 59, subdivision 2a, allows for EL to include “an English learner with an interrupted formal education who meets three of the following requirements:

    1. comes from a home where the language usually spoken is other than English, or usually speaks a language other than English;

    2. enters school in the United States after grade 6;

    3. has at least two years less schooling than the English learner’s peers;

    4. functions at least two years below expected grade level in reading and mathematics; and,

    5. may be preliterate in the English learner’s native language.