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Title III: English Language Acquisition

Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the EEOA, all States and LEAs must ensure that ELs can participate meaningfully and equally in educational programs and services. To meet their obligations under Title VI and the EEOA, LEAs must:
  • Identify and assess all potential EL students in a timely, valid, and reliable manner;
  • Provide EL students with a language assistance program that is educationally sound and proven successful, consistent with Casta eda v. Pickard and the Supreme Court decision in Lau v. Nichols;
  • Provide sufficiently well prepared and trained staff and support the language assistance programs for EL students;
  • Ensure that EL students have equal opportunities to meaningfully participate in all curricular and extracurricular activities;
View Professional Developments. Schedule to come.
  • Avoid unnecessary segregation of EL students
  • Ensure that EL students who have or are suspected of having a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are identified, located, and evaluated in a timely manner and that the language needs of students who need special education and disability related services because of their disability are considered in evaluations and delivery of services;
  • Meet the needs of EL students who opt out of language assistance programs;
  • Monitor and evaluate EL students in language assistance programs to ensure their progress with respect to acquiring English proficiency and grade level content knowledge, exit EL students from language assistance programs when they are proficient in English, and monitor exited students to ensure they were not prematurely exited and that any academic deficits incurred in the language assistance program have been remedied;
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of a school district s language assistance program(s) to ensure that EL students in each program acquire English proficiency and that each program is reasonably calculated to allow EL students to attain parity of participation in the standard instructional program within a reasonable period of time; and
  • Ensure meaningful communication with limited English proficient (LEP) parents.
English learner students is defined students with a home language background other than English (definition of a EL student), whose English language skills are not yet well enough developed for them to be able to participate successfully in classrooms where all academic instruction is provided in English. Definition of Immigrant Children and Youth.

Purpose of Title III

The purpose of Title III is to help ensure that English learners, including Immigrant children and youth, attain English language proficiency and meet the same standards that all children are expected to meet.

    Title III Required Activities
  • Increasing the English language proficiency of ELs by providing effective language instructional education programs (LIEPs)/ELD programs that have successfully demonstrated increasing English language proficiency and academic achievement.
  • Providing effective professional development to classroom teachers, principals and other school leaders, administrators, and other school or community-based organizational personnel that relates directly to the instruction of ELs that support their linguistic, academic, and social-emotional challenges and opportunities of ELs.
  • Providing and implementing other effective activities and strategies that enhance or supplement LIEPS/ELD programs for ELs. These activities and strategies must include parent, family, and community engagement activities, but may also include strategies that coordinate and align related programs.

Assessment and Standards

South Dakota is a part of the WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment), a consortium of states dedicated to the design and implementation of high standards and equitable educational opportunities for English learners. WIDA has created many research studies, educator resources, and training resources to help meet legal and program requirements for ELs. State-specific information regarding English language proficiency assessments, including important dates, materials, and training requirements, is posted on South Dakota's WIDA page.

English Language Proficiency Assessment and Standards

EL Toolkit

This toolkit illustrates highlights of the Federal Guidance provided by the Department of Education, in addition to the administration of the English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement Act, also known as Title III, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) (Title III).

The scope of the toolkit is to guide school districts, professionals, parents, and all stakeholders in the state of South Dakota to meet their obligations to ensure that English Learner students can participate meaningfully and equally in educational programs and services.

The information contained in this toolkit is published with the intent to support implementation of English Language services, they are in no way exhaustive and are meant to expand the support network provided by the South Dakota Department of Education.

Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) may choose to use some of the forms and templates provided if so they desire, or create local forms that better mirror their districts needs.

Main sources for this toolkit are:

The forms and templates included in this toolkit are reproduced with the authorization of the U.S. Department of Education.

For clarification purposes, in this toolkit, the term 'parents' refers also to any family member or guardian.

Federal Law

1) 1868 - Fourteenth Amendment - "No state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

2) 1964 - Civil Rights Act, Title VI -"No person in the U.S. shall, on the ground of race, color, national origin be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

3) Bilingual Education Act (Amended in 1974 and 1978) - "The Congress declared it to be the policy of the United States, in order to establish equal educational opportunity for all children, (a) to encourage the establishment and operation, where appropriate, of educational programs using bilingual educational practices, techniques, and methods; and (b) for that purpose, to provide financial assistance to local education agencies, and to State education agencies for certain purposes, in order to enable such local educational agencies to develop and carry out such programs in elementary and secondary schools, including activities at the pre-school level, which are designed to meet the educational needs of such children; and to demonstrate effective ways of providing, for children of limited English speaking ability, instruction designed to enable them, while using their native language, to achieve competence in the English language."

4) May 25, 1970, Memorandum, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare - This memorandum interpreted the Civil Rights Act. It delineates the responsibility of school districts in providing equal education opportunity to national origin minority group students whose English language proficiency is limited. The following quotes discuss some major areas of concern with respect to compliance with Title VI and have the force of Law:

"Where inability to speak and understand the English language exclude national origin minority group children from effective participation in the educational program offered by a school district, the district must take affirmative steps to rectify the language deficiency in order to open its instructional program to these students."

"School districts have the responsibility to adequately notify national origin minority group parents of school activities which are called to the attention of other parents. Such notice, in order to be adequate, may have to be provided in a language other than English."

"School districts must not assign national origin minority group students to classes for the mentally retarded on the basis of criteria which essentially measure or evaluate English language skills; nor may school districts deny national origin minority group children access to college preparation courses on a basis directly related to the failure of the school system to inculcate English language skills."

5) 1974 - Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA) - "No state shall deny equal educational opportunity to an individual on account of his or her race, color, sex or nation origin, by the failure of an educational agency to take appropriate action to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation by its students in its instructional programs."

Federal Resources

Contact the South Dakota Department of Education at 605-773-3134 with questions.

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