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All About ENL

What is ENL?

The English as a New Language (ENL) program used to be called English as a Second Language (ESL). It provides instruction in English with support in the students’ home language so that they can learn to read, write, and speak English. Students from many different language backgrounds are taught together, and English may be the only common language among them. 

ENL teachers work collaboratively with your child's classroom teacher to deliver the most effective language support. Your child’s ENL teacher meets with your student throughout the week providing ENL instruction in their classroom. We utilize Push-In/Integrated Instruction and Stand-Alone Instruction during the school day to assist with students' Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.

Students have the opportunity to receive small group instruction and participate in hands-on and multi-sensory activities that target language development in English. Each year ELL students demonstrate their progress with developing their English skills by taking the NYSESLAT exam.  Their English language proficiency levels vary from Entering, Emerging, Transitioning, Expanding and Commanding.  Students who attain a Commanding score on NYSESLAT exit the program.



What is an English Language Learner?

An English Language Learner, or ELL, is a student whose native language is not English and needs support learning English.

Who is Entitled to ENL Services?

All parents and guardians of newly enrolled students must complete a Home Language Identification Survey to let school staff know which language your child speaks at home.

If your responses show that your child speaks a language other than English at home, the school may give your child the New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners (NYSITELL).

The NYSITELL exam measures your child’s knowledge of English and shows whether your child needs support programs and services. If the test shows that your child needs support learning English, your child will be identified as an English language learner.

For more information on the NYSITELL Examination, please click the preceding link or the button below:

How Will I Know How My Child is Performing in a Program?

Your child's school will hold parent-teacher conferences and annual ELL parent meetings to let you know how your child is performing in school. In addition, each spring your child will be given the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT). This test measures your child’s progress in learning English. It is given to all English Language Learners enrolled in New York State schools.

The results of the NYSESLAT allow students, teachers, and parents to understand each student’s strengths and areas that need improvement, such as speaking, reading, and writing. In addition, the results are used to determine if your child will continue to be identified as an English Language Learner in the next school year.


For more information on the NYSESLAT Examination, please click the preceding link or the button below:



Parent Involvement:

  • Ensure that your child promptly attends their in-person or remote learning schedule every day, ready to learn.
  • Ensure that your child reads and completes their assignments daily.
  • Attend all parent-teacher conferences (virtually and/or in person) and annual English Language Learners parent meetings.
  • Attend virtual and/or in-person parent-workshops and conferences that are specially designed to assist you in helping your child.
  • Create a supportive home environment for learning and studying.
  • Read and speak with your child in your home language every day and encourage them to read daily. A strong foundation in their home language will assist in their English Language Acquisition. Research has shown that the more proficient a student is in speaking their native language, the better they will perform learning a second language 
  • Reach out to your child's ENL teacher and classroom teachers for ways to support your child at home

Common Useful Acronyms and Terms:

  • ELL: English Language Learner
  • BICS: Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills
  • CALP: Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency
  • Bilingual Instruction: Provision of instruction in school settings through the medium of two languages, usually a native and a second language.
  • Home Language: Language(s) spoken in the student’s home by significant others (e.g., family members, caregivers) who reside there.
  • Language Proficiency: The level of competence at which an individual is able to use language for both basic communicative tasks and academic purposes.

  • English Language Proficiency Levels: 
    1. EN: Entering Language Proficiency
    2. EM: Emerging Language Proficiency
    3. TR: Transitioning Language Proficiency
    4. EX: Expanding Language Proficiency
    5. CM: Commanding Language Proficiency


  • NYSITELL: New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners
  • NYSESLAT: New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test
  • Primary Language: First or native language spoken by an individual.
  • Social Language: The aspects of language proficiency strongly associated with basic fluency in face-to-face-interaction; natural speech in social interactions, including those that occur in a classroom.