Continuum of EL Services

Nearly 60 teachers across District 401's four schools have English learner (EL) certification, an indication of the District's commitment to serving our diverse student population.

As part of its wide range of EL programs, District 401 offers the following continuum of services to English learners.

Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE)

Illinois public schools are required to offer Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) programs when there are 20 or more English learners from the same language background in a school.

District 401's TBE programs in Spanish are available to students in pre-K through 12th grade. They provide bilingual instruction moving toward gradual increase in English language instruction to support the academic achievement of our Spanish language students.

Some buildings also offer Polish native language instruction to students who may need it in a resource model.

District 401 provides three types of TBE programs:

The TBE self-contained program serves only English learners from the same language background in a self-contained classroom. It is offered to District 401 students in pre-K through 1st grade. Core academic content is taught in English and in the language other than English, with a gradual shift to instruction in English as student English proficiency increases. English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction is provided.

The TBE collaboration program serves English learners who are placed in classes with non-ELs and/or with ELs from various language backgrounds. It is available to District 401 students in pre-K through 12th grade. Home language instruction occurs through co-teaching or when the classroom teacher, who has a bilingual endorsement, differentiates language instruction and provides some small group instruction in the home language for part of the day. Core academic content is taught in English and in the language other than English, with a gradual shift to instruction in English as student English proficiency increases. ESL instruction is provided.

District 401 implemented a Dual Language One-Way Transitional Bilingual Education Program for kindergarten in 2020-21. This program will grow to include first grade in 2021-22 and will continue as we see the growth in numbers. This will eventually replace the bilingual self-contained classrooms that were described above. Dual language is a form of bilingual education in which students are taught literacy and content in  two languages. Programs typically start in kindergarten and extend as the classes are filled with EL learners. Programming may continue into middle school and high school. Dual language programs foster multiculturalism, multilingualism and high levels of academic achievement through instruction in two languages. All recommended students enrolled in this model are Spanish-dominant speakers only. This model meets the State of Illinois requirements for bilingual education. To learn more about our Dual Language One-Way program, please click here.

Transitional Program of Instruction (TPI)

Illinois public schools have an option to offer TPI services instead of TBE programs when there are 19 or fewer students from the same language background in a school.

For District 401, this means we offer TPI services to students in pre-K through 12th grade who speak languages other than Spanish or Polish. We support these students within the general education setting by using the collaboration approach.

English learners are placed in classes with non-ELs. Core academic subjects are taught in English. Co-teaching instruction in core academic subjects using specific strategies for English learners is provided, or the ESL-endorsed mainstream classroom teacher differentiates language instruction and uses specific strategies for English learners. ESL instruction is provided.

Newcomers Program

Students who are new to learning English may also qualify for our newcomers program.

Newcomers benefit from a short-term program that teaches English and acculturation to the United States. Students attend special classes for short periods of time separate from their native English-speaking peers.

In 2019, the program expanded to include a "Newcomers Camp" as part of District 401's Summer Academy. This is a multi-week class for incoming students who are English language newcomers (recent immigrants). Eligibility is based on English Learners criteria. Tuition is covered by the District's Title III funding.

Student Identification

Illinois requires that any child registering in a public school district have a completed Home Language Survey (HLS) on file.

District 401 uses the HLS to identify and screen any student who speaks a language other than English or lives in a home where a language other than English is spoken.

Curricular Resources

In addition to an abundance of EL-certified faculty, District 401 offers a rich curriculum in Spanish that covers core subjects.

These curricular resources include the Ready GEN Biliteracy Pathway (English language arts), GO Math! (mathematics), STEMscopes (science) and My World Interactive (social studies).

Annual Multicultural Night

Besides receiving rigorous standards-based instruction, EL students also have the opportunity each spring to participate in the District's annual Multicultural Night.

Held at Elmwood Park High School, the event features cultural performances by EL students in their home languages, as well as displays, learning activities, teacher read-alouds and a festive community dinner.

All EL families are invited to join the fun.  

To Learn More

For additional information about District 401's continuum of EL services, please see the documents listed below: