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Language Acquisition and Development

Carmen C. Castro


2238 E. Ginter Road
Tucson, AZ 85706
United States
32° 8' 14.676" N, 110° 56' 16.1376" W

Vision- English Language Learners in every school are guaranteed a high quality and equitable education.

Mission-The Language Acquisition Department seeks to create a culture of support in the Sunnyside Unified School district that ensures English Language Learners in every school are guaranteed a high quality and equitable education.

The Language Acquisition and Development Department will provide assistance in developing a systemic and school-based strategic approach to strengthening and accelerating the academic achievement of English Language Learners in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

Program Model
The program model for English Language Learners (ELL) is Structured English Immersion (SEI) which is available in all schools.  The following is a description of how students are identified and supported through the Language Acquisition Programs offered at Sunnyside.

Student Identification
Students are identified when registration information indicates a primary language other than English is spoken by the student.  Students receive an assessment known as the Arizona English Language Learner Assessment (AZELLA). Students are identified as English Learners when their AZELLA score demonstrates that their proficiency level is Pre-emergent, Emergent, Basic or Intermediate.

Students who are identified as English Learners are placed into the Sunnyside District’s Structured English Immersion (SEI) programs. In the SEI program, students receive 4 hours of English Language Development, where they learn and practice skills in oral communication, reading, writing, and grammar.

English Learners also participate in subject area classes. In these classes, Math, Science, Social Studies, and elective or specialist classes, teachers include language objectives that help students learn the concepts of the class while continuing to practice the language skills they are learning.

ELL students are placed in the SEI Program for a period not normally to exceed one year.  Students who do not reach proficiency as measured by the AZELLA will continue in the SEI program.

Students are assessed when they first register in the district. Students are reassessed at the end of their first year and each following year until they are measured to be proficient. Students in grades four through twelve and at the Intermediate level of proficiency may receive an assessment at the end of the first semester. Upon reaching proficient status, students are monitored through reassessment and academic performance for two years.

Students are reclassified when they reach proficiency on the AZELLA. When students are classified as Proficient, they are placed in the mainstream curriculum.

After Reclassification
Students are reclassified when they reach a proficient score on the AZELLA test. Reclassified students are monitored for two years. During the monitoring period, students’ grades in mainstream classes are reviewed at the end of the first and third quarters. If students are having difficulty with classes, they are eligible for participation in extended day, Saturday school, and/or summer school.

Additional Services and Functions

  • Professional Development for teachers, administrators and staff
  • Consultation on instructional materials and curricular design
  • Consultation for parental engagement/advocacy
  • Compliance monitoring

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