English Learners

Vision Statement

School districts in Arkansas must be dedicated to providing a rigorous and relevant education in which all students gain the academic and personal skills needed for lifelong learning and success. It is the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program’s overall vision to serve and support our English Learner (EL) students so that they are able to reach fluent English proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing. It is also the goal that with these areas of proficiency, EL students will gain the skills needed to be college and career ready.

The DESE ESOL program works with schools and educational cooperatives to:

  • Provide assistance through the Teacher Center Coordinators for professional development of teachers and administrators in the implementation of effective ESOL program design and delivery.
  • Assist, upon request, with program planning for ELs.
  • Coordinate ESOL professional development training.
  • Convene regional meetings of ESOL personnel to discuss strategies and share resources used to instruct ELs under the Arkansas Academic Standards.
  • Provide assistance to classroom teachers in implementing the Arkansas State Board of Education adopted English Language Proficiency Standards.
  • Provide on-site technical assistance addressing ESOL techniques and strategies.

Belief Statements

The DESE ESOL program believes:

  • Effective education of every EL is the responsibility of all educational personnel.
  • Effective education requires that excellent English Language Development (ELD) and supplemental services are rendered to EL students.
  • Effective programs for EL students respect and celebrate all students’ native language in the contexts of both school and community.

ESOL Program Guide: Guidance for Providing ESOL Services

To fully meet the demands of the Arkansas Academic Standards (AAS) and to ensure access to an equitable education for ELs, ESOL programs are expected to provide effective ELD programs and provide support to ELs so that they learn how to effectively employ a second language in an academic setting while learning through that second language knowledge and skills in multiple disciplines.




District English Learner Plan Requirements

DESE has a legal responsibility under Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA) to ensure that all local education agencies (LEAs) meet the federal requirements to properly identify, assess, and support ELs through an effective ELD program. In order to meet this requirement, all LEAs must submit an annual district-wide English Learner Plan to DESE, whether currently enrolling ELs or not.

Submission MethodDetailsDue Date
Title III Grant ApplicationThe English Learner Plan is the first part of the Title III Grant Application.Last Friday in June
English Learner Plan for Non-Title III DistrictsDistricts that do not receive Title III funds will submit plan in Indistar.October 1

For personalized support or additional information, please contact:

Maria Touchstone, ESOL Program Director/Title III Co-Coordinator


english.learners@ade.arkansas.gov or contact your ESOL Regional Specialist
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
Learning Services


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