Wayzata Public Schools

English Learners

We appreciate the diversity of languages spoken by our students and their families. We also know that English proficiency is important to academic success in our general education programs.

It is our mission to ensure that each English Learner (EL) in our schools develops linguistically, academically and cognitively within a socially and culturally supportive environment.

Our EL Program teaches listening, speaking, reading and writing through content. We use a pull-out model, focusing on the development of academic language and skills. Some language instruction occurs in the general education classroom. The total amount of EL instruction varies by student, based on individual needs.


Ann Fehrenbach
Resource Teacher - Literacy

School Contacts

How are students identified?

  1. When you register your student at the Welcome Center, you will complete a Home Language Questionnaire. If the results of that survey suggest your student may qualify, the Welcome Center notifies us.
  2. An EL teacher administers the English Language proficiency screening to your student. If they for services, based on the screener, EL staff will review their records and literary assessments to get a better understanding of the student's proficiency level.
  3. Parents of students who qualify are notified by mail.

How is progress monitored? When do students exit the program?

Each student in the EL Program is assessed annually using the WIDA ACCESS assessment. This measures progress and indicates when the student is ready to leave the program.

How is the EL curriculum determined?

EL instruction is informed by theories of language acquisition, current pedagogy, and current materials. The State of Minnesota's standards for English Language development, students' ACCESS scores, together with formative and summative assessments guide EL teachers' instruction and provide a touchstone for collaboration with mainstream staff. EL teachers focus on literacy and specialized vocabulary and academic language in the content areas. Paraprofessionals support the instruction EL teachers provide according to student needs.

Does being in the EL Program affect my ability to receive other district services?

No. EL students may also receive Title 1, Section 504, Vision 21 or Special Education services as appropriate. Staff from the different programs coordinate to find ways to best serve each student. Proficiency level, previous schooling and the amount of time in the United States and current academic achievement level are all considered when determining how much EL instruction a student receives.

Elementary School English Learner Program

EL services are available at all of our elementary schools. EL teachers are supported by EL paraprofessionals. Teachers use the pull-out model, push-in model, or both to support language and content area learning.

  • Pull-out model: Students are in mainstream classes for the majority of the day. EL teachers work with small groups to target specific English language needs. Beginning ELs receive more EL instruction than intermediate or advanced students.
  • Push-in model: Students are in mainstream classes for the majority of the day. The EL teacher may work with students in the mainstream classroom to improve academic English in content areas and paraprofessionals may support generalization of skills previously taught by an EL teacher.

Elementary EL teachers use a variety of materials, including content area texts and materials from the mainstream classroom, the EL component of the mainstream Scott Foresman Reading Street curriculum, leveled readers, RAZ kids, Evan-Moor Educational Publishers Non-fiction Reading Practice materials, and Reading A to Z. In addition, in Grades 4 and 5 teachers use National Geographic Reach materials.

Middle School English Learner Program

Beginning in the fall of 2018, all three middle schools will serve english learners.

EL coursework emphasizes an integrated approach including listening, speaking, reading and writing. A separate Academic Support class taught by the EL teacher provides individualized support for content area and academic needs for all EL students as needed. EL paraprofessionals work with students to support progress in mainstream classes. Entering and Emerging level students (see WIDA Performance Definitions) receive more intensive support than Developing and Expanding level students. EL classes are based on proficiency level.

At the middle schools, we use the following teaching materials.

  • Pearson’s Shining Star curriculum
  • Time for Kids Magazine and novels
  • National Geographic Reach resources
  • Content area curriculum resources

High School English Learner Program

At the high school level, English Learner (EL) courses and support are offered for students at the Entering, Emerging, Developing, Expanding, and Bridging levels (See WIDA Performance Definitions) of English proficiency. All courses include instruction in the four domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing with an emphasis on academic language and skills. Technology tools for academic success are also taught at all levels.

Classes include EL 1 for levels 1 through 3, EL 2 for level 4, and EL 3 for level 5. Academic Skills, a workshop style course emphasizing the skills needed for academic success and providing content area support is also offered. In addition, a sheltered Social Studies class, Cultural Literacy, is offered for EL students. The curriculum focuses on government, citizenship and current events. Reading, writing, listening, speaking and academic skills are also taught.

EL teachers monitor EL students’ progress in content area classes and collaborate with general education teachers to maximize student growth. EL paraprofessionals, under the supervision of EL teachers also provide academic support for EL students in their content area classes. Content area learning is supported using both the pull-in and push out models.

Minnesota World Language Certificates & Bilingual/Multilingual Seals

Minnesota students in grades 10 - 12 who become proficient in English and one or more other languages can earn Minnesota's World Language Proficiency Certificates & Bilingual/Multilingual Seals.

  • The World Language Proficiency Certificate
  • The Bilingual Seal
  • The Multilingual Seal

Please contact your child's English Learner teacher with questions.

Important EL Resources