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Bilingual Education & English as a New Language

Helpful Links for English Language Learner and Multilingual Learner Parents, Guardians, and Families

NYSITELL Parent Waiver

As the Governor’s Executive Order for COVID-19 related school closures has ended, schools must complete the ELL identification process for all students who enrolled during the 2019-20 school closures, the summer of 2020, and during the 2020-21 school year. This requirement applies to students who choose all remote instruction when schools reopen in 2020-21, and to schools that voluntarily choose an all remote model when they reopen in 2020-21.

Because the NYSITELL must be administered in person, parents whose children have been provisionally identified as ELLs who are receiving entirely remote instruction may use the attached file to submit a temporary waiver of the NYSITELL. Such students will remain provisionally identified pursuant to the Home Language Questionnaire and individual interview, both of which may be conducted remotely via video or phone, until they cease to receive fully remote instruction because their parent or district switches to an in-person or hybrid setting. Students who are provisionally identified may receive ELL services in accordance with NYSED’s previous guidance and progress monitoring, but may not be reported as ELLs.

This waiver must be submitted directly from the parent(s) to the school and must be maintained in the student’s record for a minimum of three years.

The waiver is currently available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Additional translations will be posted on the Forms and Waivers web page as soon as possible.

Guide Helps Newcomer Students' Families Navigate the U.S. School System

Starting a new school can be difficult—especially for newcomer immigrant and refugee students, whose families may not be familiar with the U.S. education system. Starting School in the United States: A Guide for Newcomer Students' Families, a new resource from REL Northwest, provides answers to many questions newcomer families typically have about the U.S. school system. Specifically, the guide (which is available in four languages) offers research-based guidance on the registration process, how families can get involved in their children's education, the rights every student has under U.S. law, and more. We encourage schools, districts, and refugee agencies to provide a link to the guide on their website and print copies for newcomer families.

What Parents of ELLs and MLs Should Know to Ensure Their Child Graduates From High School


This presentation will help parents learn about the educational system in New York State (NYS), particularly in high schools. Parents will learn about High School organizations, expectations for High School students, and High School graduation requirements.

Colorín Colorado

A bilingual website for families and educators of English Language Learners which is a project in partnership with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). It includes information about teaching English Language Learners.

Community Organizations and Advocacy Groups

PBS Parents

PBS Parents is a trusted resource that’s filled with information on child development and early learning. It also serves as a parent's window to the world of PBS KIDS, offering access to educational games and activities inspired by PBS KIDS programs.

Reading Rockets: English Language Learners

A website geared mostly toward educators, but useful for families as well! Discusses the most effective ways to teach ELL students, how to create a welcoming classroom, and ways to promote family involvement.

Teachers First: Ideas and Resources for Parents of ESL/ELL Students

These reviewed resources offer information for ELL parents and guardians. Some are resources parents can use at home with children to reinforce language skills. Others include suggested activities ELLs can begin in school and share with parents. Be sure to read the "In the Classroom" suggestions for ways these reviewed resources can build language skills both at home and at school.

US Department of Education

The website of the federal agency that oversees US education. It is responsible for:

  • Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds.
  • Collecting data on America's schools and disseminating research.
  • Focusing national attention on key educational issues.
  • Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.

USDOE Federal Student Aid Portal

Are you a parent who’s looking ahead to your child’s college years? Or just about to face the first tuition bill? Here are some resources to help parents save for college, learn about financial aid, and understand the application process.

USDOE Helping My Child Succeed: Toolkit for Hispanic Families (English and Spanish)

This brochure provides information about how you can help build your child's reading and language skills during the early years of life. Reading well is at the heart of all learning. Without the ability to read, children can't succeed in school.

Toolkit in Spanish   Toolkit in English


Updated 1/6/21