Who is the English Language Learner?


    English language learners (ELLs) are those students whose primary or native language is one other than English or who live in a home where a second language is spoken.  Federal and state regulations mandate that local school districts provide appropriate services and equitable and effective learning opportunities for English Language Learners that ensure that ELLs have the language support that they need to succeed in school.


    The ELL Program in Westerly


    Westerly Public Schools has developed a comprehensive plan to support children who have limited proficiency in English that may be precluding them from succeeding in the mainstream classroom.  This plan is designed to meet the specific needs of ELLs in an academic setting and includes a combination of the ESL Program Model and/or the Collaborative ESL Program Model.  The ESL Program Model substantially separates small groups of ELL students for explicit, direct instruction for English language development, including academic language.  The Collaborative ESL Program Model requires that students receive ELL language and content instruction in the general education classroom.  This model employs peer-assisted learning opportunities used with careful planning and guidance from both ESL and content teachers.


    How is the ELL Identified?


    The first step in identifying a child who may benefit from ELL resources is at the time of registration.  The school district determines the primary language of all public school children through the Home Language Survey developed by the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  If any response on the Home Language Survey indicates that a language other than English is spoken in the child’s home, the child must be referred to the Office of English Language Learning for assessment of his/her English language proficiency.


    ELL Screening and Testing


    When a second language is indicated on a child’s Home Language Survey, the ELL Office is notified, and the ELL Coordinator contacts the parents or guardian to gather additional information regarding the child’s language proficiency in English and any other languages.  During that interview, the ELL Coordinator explains the resources that are available for ELLs and the assessment process used to determine the child’s English language proficiency level and possible need for ELL support.  The WIDA Screener Online is currently used to determine a student’s language proficiency in English.  If the WIDA Screener Online indicates limited English proficiency, a plan to provide ELL services and resources is developed and implemented by the ELL teacher and the classroom teacher.  The WIDA MODEL is used to determine a Kindergarten student’s language proficiency in English.    Parents are informed of the ELL Coordinator’s recommendations and are asked to sign a Parent Permission Form indicating that they are aware of the instructional support services that their child will receive.


    ACCESS for ELLs


    Federal regulations mandate that schools assess English language learners annually in grades K-12 using a standards-based instrument that is common throughout the state.  Rhode Island is a member of the multi-state partnership that has created an English language proficiency test – Assessing Comprehension and Communication State to State for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLs).


    ACCESS for ELLs is the required instrument for determining the proficiency levels and progress of English language learners throughout Rhode Island.  The ACCESS assessment is administered annually to any student who has received ELL services during the past year.  The ACCESS scores are used to determine a student’s progress in English language acquisition and to recommend resources and services for the next school year.  Scores are also used to provide information that enhances instruction and learning programs for ELLs.  ACCESS for ELLs is administered annually.

    Further Information


    For further information,

    please call the MLL Office



    MLL Coordinator

     MaryElizabeth Melillo

    MLL Teachers

     Susan Russell

     Moira McCool

     Robin Cardinal

     Rob Guglielmo

    ELL Support

     Mrs. Jie Wong

     Mrs. Graciela Fontana

     Mrs. Anne Young









    Westerly Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, marital status, race, religion, national origin, color, creed, political affiliation, sexual orientation or disability in accordance with applicable regulations.

















    Westerly Public Schools

    Multilingual Learners Program

    A Program Guide

    for Families



          Westerly Public Schools

          MLL Office

    Springbrook Elementary School

    39 Springbrook Road 

    Westerly, RI 02891