English Learner Department

The English Learners (EL) Department supports the district’s mission of “Fostering an Environment of Equity and Opportunity”. We are committed to ensuring that all English Learners develop linguistic and academic skills to become productive members of a global society. EL students participate in academically challenging curriculum that respects and builds upon their unique cultural and linguistic attributes. We are also committed to providing high quality EL licensed teachers who celebrate and value diversity, advocate for EL students and their families and stay current with best practices for quality EL instruction. We work in collaboration with parents, government, non-profit local community agencies and organizations.

Our EL Department:

  • Provides our EL students the same standard of excellence as all students
  • Seeks community input in order to improve instruction and strengthen collaboration
  • Promotes an understanding and respect for the unique cultural and linguistic diversity of our EL students, parents, and our community.
  • Makes a genuine effort to communicate with parents in a language they understand
  • Complies with state and federal laws

How are EL students identified?

The Illinois Administrative Code, Part 228, Section 228.15 indicates for all districts to administer an individual language proficiency assessment to each student identified through the Home Language Survey.

During the registration process, families must complete a Home Language Survey (HLS). The survey consists of the following two questions related to language used in the home.

  • Is there another language other than English spoken in your home?

  • Does your child speak another language other than English?

If the answer to either one of the questions is “Yes”, the student is administered an English language proficiency test to determine students’ level of English language proficiency. If the student qualifies for EL services based on one of our state approved language proficiency assessments (see Table for screener information) the parent is notified and services are offered.


Grade Screener Cut Score
(scores below these cut scores are considered for EL services)

​1st semester of Kindergarten

​WIDA MODEL (listening and speaking)

5.0 oral language proficiency

​2nd Semester of K-1st Semester of 1st grade

​WIDA MODEL (all four domains)

​Overall Composite 5.0 & Composite Literacy 4.2 (reading/writing)​

​2nd Semester of 1st grade - 12th grade

WIDA Screener (online or paper)

Overall Composite 5.0

K-12th grade

ACCESS for ELs (scores must be within a year of administration date)

Overall Composite 4.8

Pre-Kindergarten Screening

Prescribed Screening Instrument(s)

The Pre-IPT Oral English Language Proficiency Test is the screener we utilize for children entering Preschool, ages 3 to kindergarten enrollment age as defined in Section 10-20.12 of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/10-20.12] to determine students’ English language proficiency and to identify students eligible to receive EL services.

Using Scores to Determine Placement

Our district uses the guidance included in the pre-IPT Oral for purposes of placing students.  All potential EL's screened with the Pre-IPT Oral that qualify for EL services will be re-screened with the WIDA MODEL upon entering Kindergarten

Qualifying Students

The state of Illinois sets the cutoff scores for English language proficiency. When students do not meet proficiency as designated by the state, they have the right to receive English language support. Qualifying students are placed into an English Learner program. Parents may accept or reject services at any time.

Do parents need to be notified of screening results?

Yes, if a student is determined to be limited English proficient (LEP), our district  informs parents in writing or in person of the assessment results and the program placement recommendations, describing the services that are available to assist the student to become English language proficient. Sample parent notification letters are available in English and 40 ​other languages on the ISBE website.

Placement and Notification Letters

Our District provides written notification to parents of EL students each year that they enroll in a TBE/TPI program in compliance with state and federal regulations. The letters incorporates all requirements found in Section 14C-4 of the Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/14C-4).

Language Learning Standards

Students are expected to acquire both linguistic and academic skills. Our district utilizes the WIDA standards to support language learning in the classroom.


District 129 State Approved Programs

Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE)

West Aurora School District #129 has a state approved Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) program for Spanish-speaking students who are acquiring English. This program utilizes native language for grade-level instruction. Students receive daily English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction. As students acquire more academic language, they are transitioned into English instruction. We provide instruction that is most appropriate for meeting student’s needs, as well as being aligned to state and district guidelines.

Transitional Program of Instruction (TPI)

Our District also has a state approved Transitional Program of Instruction (TPI). Our staff provides English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction. This program serves students whose first language is considered to be a low incidence language, meaning that there are less than 20 speakers of that language at a school.


Legislation and Rules/Transitional Bilingual Education

Services for English Learners in Illinois are defined in Article 14C of the School Code and Part 228 of the Administrative Code. Additional guidance and links to resources are included below.​ Article 14C Transitional Bilingual Education

Identification/English Language Proficiency Assessment


Qualifying English Learners must be assessed annually with the state required assessment ACCESS. This assessment measures students’ level of English proficiency and growth in English acquisition and academic vocabulary. English Learners must take this test annually.

As of the 2017 ACCESS, ELs in Illinois need to receive an overall composite score of 4.8 on    ACCESS to be English proficient


Responses from the Home Language Survey (HLS), which is a form completed by parents during registration, initiates the evaluation process. This process is designed to determine students’ level of English language proficiency. Parents are informed of eligibility status. If appropriate, the student is placed in a TBE or TPI program.

For additional information about the assessment process, please contact Karina Ochoa, District Bilingual Assessor at kochoa@sd129.org or (630) 301-5361.

Bilingual Parent Advisory Committee (BPAC)

BPAC is a group of bilingual parents, staff and community members. The purpose of the group is to form a collaborative union amongst school district parents, teachers, and administrators. In addition, parents have access to professional development activities to support their student’s progress in school. BPAC also participates in the review of spending of grant funds.

Comité Asesor de Padres Bilingües (BPAC)

BPAC es un grupo de padres bilingües, personal y personas comunitarias. El propósito del grupo es formar una unión colaborativa entre padres, maestros, y administradores del distrito escolar. Además, los padres tienen acceso a talleres para apoyar el progreso de sus estudiantes en la escuela. BPAC también participa en la revisión de gastos de los fondos provistos por los gobiernos estatales y federales.

BPAC Board Members/ Miembros del Comité:

Deisy Alfaro

Lorena Duran

Teresa Madrigal

Maria Peña

Marisela Baez

Faviola Gallardo

Berta Mayorga

Estela Rivera

Silvia DeLaTorre

Rosa Gutierrez

Maria Medellin

Julia Zamudio 

Helpful Links

Illinois State Board of Education Division of English Learners (DEL)

Resources for Parents of English Learners

Resources listed here support parents and communities of ELs.

External Resources

Family Resources

Languages and Culture

Legal Compliance and Advocacy

Professional Associations

Refugee and Immigrant Students

Research and Resources

Sheltered Instruction


Maria Lozano

Maria Lozano

Director, EL
Christine Anderson

Christine Anderson

Curriculum Coordinator, 6-12 EL
Karina Luviano

Karina Luviano

Curriculum Coordinator, K-5 EL
Claudia Rubio

Claudia Rubio

EL Program Coordinator
Karina Ochoa

Karina Ochoa

Teacher, EL Assessor
Hector Salcido

Hector Salcido

Teacher, EL Assessor
Andrea Delgado

Andrea Delgado

Office Professional
Teaching & Learning