English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) is a state-funded instructional program for eligible English Language Learners (ELLs) in grades K-12 (Georgia School Law Code 1981, § 20-2-156, enacted in 1985). The ESOL program is a standards-based curriculum emphasizing academic and social language development. ESOL coursework is based upon the WIDA Consortium English Language Development (ELD) standards.
Classroom teachers integrate these ELD standards with the Georgia Standards of Excellence to enable ELLs to communicate in English and demonstrate their academic, social, and cultural proficiency. Instructional approaches in ESOL and general education classes ensure that the needs of Georgia’s ELLs are accommodated. To the extent practicable, it is appropriate to use the ELL’s home language as a means of facilitating instruction and providing parents with school-related information.
Families are critical stakeholders within the ESOL program, and they have the right to know and understand how their child is progressing in his or her English language development. By providing families with information about key topics including what it means to be an ELL, the WIDA standards and assessments, and how to interpret student language proficiency scores, parents will be better equipped to engage in meaningful discussions with educators about students' language instruction and progress.
While parents are the primary audience for the webinars, educators can also benefit, as this resource raises awareness about the types of questions parents of ELLs may have and offers opportunities to examine local practices in order to enhance communication with families of ELLs.