Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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A Division of the Arkansas Department of Education

English Learners

NEW - U.S. Department of Education Fact Sheet: Providing Services to English Learners During the COVID-19 Outbreak
NEW - English Learner Ready for Learning Considerations
The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) English Learners (EL) support program is the result of collaboration among the Division of Learning Services’ English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Unit and the Student Assessment Unit and the Division of Public School Accountability’s Federal Programs Unit. This program provides many resources and services to assist schools in their efforts to support ELs in the development of the skills needed to effectively utilize English both in and out of school.
The DESE will work with schools and educational cooperatives to:
  • provide assistance through Regional EL Specialists for professional development of teachers and administrators in the implementation of effective Language Instruction Educational Program (LIEP) design and delivery
  • assist, upon request, with school improvement program planning for ELs/li>
  • coordinate ESOL professional development training with Teacher Center Coordinators/li>
  • convene regional meetings of ESOL personnel to discuss strategies, LIEP implementation, and share resources used to instruct ELs under the AR Academic Content Standards/li>
  • implement and assess the Arkansas State Board of Education adopted English Language Proficiency Standards/li>
  • provide on-site technical assistance addressing ESOL techniques and strategies

Legal Obligations for Serving English Learners:

Plyler Letter-Children’s Right to Attend School (PDF)
Information on the Rights of All Children to Enroll in School: Questions and Answers for States, School Districts and Parents (PDF)
Schools’ Civil Rights Obligations to English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents
Dear Colleague Letter, January 7, 2015 (PDF)
OELA English Learner Toolkit

Special Needs Funding Rules-ELL Funds (PDF)

Division of Elementary and Secondary Education ESOL Program Guidance:

DESE ESOL Program Guide (Under Revision - Coming Soon)

District English Learner Plan Requirements:

DESE has a legal responsibility under ESSA, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA) to ensure that all LEAs meet the federal requirements to properly identify, assess, and support English learners through an effective English language development program. In order to meet this requirement, all LEAs must submit an annual district-wide English Learner Plan to the DESE, whether currently enrolling English Learners or not.
Submission Method Details Due Date
Title III Grant Application The English Learner Plan is the first part of the Title III Grant Application. June 26, 2020
English Learner Plan for Non-Title III Districts Districts that do not receive Title III funds will submit this plan in Indistar. October 1, 2020

Arkansas English Learner Entrance and Exit Procedures

Arkansas English Learner Entrance and Exit Procedures Entry/Exit Manual

Arkansas Professional Judgment Rubric-Exit Criteria Guidance (PDF)

Arkansas Home Language Usage Survey-Required for ALL new students
(Commissioner’s Memo LS-18-083 - Required Home Language Usage Survey, Entry/Exit Procedures, ELPA21 Screener, Summer Training)

Required Forms

Arkansas Home Language Usage Survey (See Commissioner’s Memo LS-18-083)

Arkansas HLUS Verification Form

ADE Language Minority Student Exit-Monitoring Form

Sample Forms
The Sample Initial or Annual LPAC Placement Form and the Sample LMS Transfer Data/Records Request Form are both available as links (DOCX) and (PDF) on the following PDF document that also 
contains links to Sample Parent Letters in English and 10 additional languages. Please see the  Arkansas English Learner Entrance and Exit Procedures Manual  for when to use each of these letters.

Required Parent Notifications

TransACT ParentNotices include ESSA Parent Notifications and GenEd Parent Notifications. DESE provides this site free of charge to all public/charter school, Education Service Cooperative, and DESE personnel in Arkansas. Your subscription gives you access to parent engagement guidance, as well as expertly written forms or notices that are required by your district, state or the federal government. The notices are already translated into ten priority languages by certified translators. Arkansas educators may go to the TransACT website and sign up using their district, ESC, or DESE assigned email address and a password of their own choosing.

DESE English Learner Data Entry Presentation Materials

2020-21 Language Minority Student/English Learner Data Entry (Webinar PDF) / (Webinar Recording)

2020-21 Back to School Checklist for LMS/EL Data Entry (PDF)

COGNOS Reports Information (PDF)

EL Data Entry Flowchart 2020-21 (PDF)

ESOL Program Guidance Webinar Series

  • Overview of SEA/District Responsibilities Toward Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners (2/2016) (Webinar PDF) (Webinar Video)
  • Identification and Assessment of Potential ELs (February 17, 2016)  (Webinar PDF) (Webinar Video)
  • Educational Approach, Language Assistance Program, Staffing, Meaningful Access to Comprehensive Curriculum (3/10/16) (Webinar PDF) (Webinar Video)
  • Avoiding Segregation, Identifying/Serving Special Education ELs, Addressing Opt-Out Students (March 31, 2016) (Webinar PDF) (Webinar Video)
  • Exiting/Monitoring Students, Meaningful Communication with LEP Parents, Program Evaluation (April 21, 2016) (Webinar PDF) (Webinar Video)
English Language Proficiency Standards

English Learner Resources for ESOL Coordinators/Administrators:

Unlocking the Research on English Learners (PDF)
English Language Learners: Shifting to an Asset-Based Paradigm (PDF)
Serving Foreign Exchange EL Students (PDF)
ELL Low-Incidence Guide (PDF)
Research-Based Options for Educational Policymaking: ELLs and Parental Involvement (PDF)
FAQ—Federal Guidance on ELs with Disabilities (PDF)

Resources for English Learner Students with Disabilities

Navigating the Intervention and Evaluation Process for ELs with Potential Disabilities:  A Resource Guide for Local Education Agencies (PDF)

LiveBinder Link - ELs with Disabilities

English Learner Resources for Teachers:

ESOL Considerations for TESS (PDF)
Key Principles For ELL Instruction (PDF)

ESOL Student Assessment

The English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) tests English Learners (EL) to determine their level of proficiency in the English language. More information on ELPA21 can be viewed by visiting the ELPA21 Page.
Disclaimer: Links to third-party websites do not constitute an endorsement of the content, viewpoint, accuracy, opinions, policies, products, services, or accessibility of the sites.

For more information, please contact:

Tricia Kerr, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program Director
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
Learning Services
4 North Double Springs Road
Farmington, AR 72730
Office: 479-267-7450 ext 334
Fax: 479-267-7456
Dr. Alan Lytle, English Language Learner Assessment Specialist
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
Learning Services
Four Capitol Mall, Room 301-B
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-682-4468

State Standards

Learn more about the standards that define the knowledge and skills Arkansas students should have in order to be ready for college and careers.

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Licensure & Certification

Find critical information about renewing Arkansas educator licenses, adding areas of licensure, licensing by reciprocity from other states, background checks and more.

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