English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

  • Program Overview

    English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) is an English language development program for Kindergarten to grade 12 students whose home language is a language other than English. The program focuses on developing their proficiency in processing and producing academic language across the content areas.


    1. Provide an asset-based approach to develop English learners’ language and literacy through listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English.
    2. Emphasize learning English in order to access grade-level WIDA and content standards, participate meaningfully in academic and special programs, meet the same challenging state academic standards that all Maryland students are expected to meet, and attain proficiency in English as measured by Maryland’s English Language Proficiency Assessment.



    Objective 1: To encourage a system-wide, asset-based approach to language acquisition which supports the development of linguistically diverse students as biliterate participants in a global society.

    Objective 2: To build English language proficiency among English Learners and foster the development of academic language, literacy, and mathematical competence in order to demonstrate progress toward attaining English language proficiency and academic achievement as measured by the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program.   

    Objective 3: To ensure all English learners graduate high school with adequate preparation to become globally competent participants in society, post-secondary institutions, and the workforce.

    Objective 4: To equip all educators of English learners with the knowledge and skills needed to support their linguistic, academic and social growth.

    Objective 5: To create access and opportunity for linguistically diverse families to support their child’s learning in partnership with schools.


    Curriculum Description

    Instruction and assessment is based on the 2020 WIDA English Language Development Standards Frameworks. Below are the grade-level cluster Proficiency Level Descriptors. These descriptors identify what ELs will be able to do toward the end of each proficiency level, when instruction and assessment are scaffolded appropriately.


    Elementary:  Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grades 2-3, Grades 4-5

    Secondary:  Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

    WIDA Resources:  ELD Standards Framework

    A Guide to School for Families of English Learners is now available in Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish here.


    English Language Development Programs

    English for Speakers of Other Languages (or ESOL) programs take different approaches based on the student's proficiency, grade level, academic need, and other factors.


    Integrated Instruction

    General education and ESOL teachers collaborate to provide targeted language instruction based on students' English language proficiency levels.

    • Teachers may share instructional responsibilities in the general education classroom.
    • The ESOL teacher may support an individual student or small group in the general education classroom ("push in").


    Designated Instruction

    ESOL teachers plan and implement targeted language instruction outside the general education classroom for students within the same grade cluster and English language proficiency levels.


    ESOL Class: This is a scheduled, stand-alone English language course taught by an ESOL-certified teacher. ESOL classes happen most frequently in high school.


    Content Instruction and Assessment

    English learners can receive support during instruction and on tests to make sure that language is not a barrier to learning, grading, or promotion. Scaffolds, Supports, and Accommodations are documented in the student's English learner plan. All teachers are responsible for ensuring that the student consistently receives the appropriate accommodations, scaffolds and supports during instruction and assessment.

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