School District Justification to Expand the Maximum Allowable Grade Span to Three Contiguous Grades in 1-12 English as a New Language (ENL) or Bilingual Education (BE) Classes
The presence and population of English Language Learners/Multilingual Learners (ELLs/MLLs) vary considerably among New York State schools. Some communities have no ELLs/MLLs, while others have small numbers of ELLs/MLLs of wide-ranging ages; for instance, a district might have many ELLs/MLLs in grade 2 but none in grade 1. Others have enough ELLs/MLLs in a given grade to create one self-contained ENL classroom per grade or across two grades, with higher proficiency ELLs/MLLs distributed across the remaining classes. This demographic reality must, however, be balanced with what we know about best practices to use with this growing subset of our student body. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) understands that districts with small numbers of ELLs/MLLs may face challenges for finding appropriate staffing for ENL or BE classes. However, it is critical to keep in mind possible unintended consequences that can arise from grouping too many grades together for instructional purposes. This document was created in response to feedback that the NYSED Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages (OBEWL) has received from the field regarding Commissioner’s Regulations (CR) Part 154, to support all districts’ efforts in meeting the grade span requirement of Part 154-2.3(i) and to provide guidance to qualifying districts with less than 30 ELLs/MLLs in applying for a one year waiver to expand the maximum allowable grade span from two to three grades.