Maine DOE offers strategies to help ELLs demonstrate proficiency

All students in Maine, including English language learners, will need to demonstrate proficiency of both State learning standards and the Guiding Principles in order to graduate beginning in 2018. As schools plan educational opportunities for English language learners in the eight content areas of the Maine Learning Results and the five Guiding Principles, the Maine DOE is encouraging educators to consider the following strategies which may be helpful. Each are based on research on how best a concept or skill is learned in each of the content areas and the Guiding Principles, and the power of background knowledge to support English language learners.

  1. Support students to demonstrate proficiency in the standards of world languages through the student’s first language.
  2. Whenever possible, as students learn and demonstrate proficiency in standards of the content areas and the Guiding Principles, support them to build background knowledge and conceptual understandings and skills with support from the first language or build background knowledge and conceptual understandings and skills using the first language of the students.
  3. Whenever possible, when evidence of proficiency in the standards of content areas and the standards of the Guiding Principles does not require proficiency in standard(s) of English language arts, allow the student to use their first language or use support from their first language to demonstrate proficiency.

For more information about the proficiency-based diploma requirement and related resources, visit Getting to Proficiency: Graduating Every Student Prepared or contact Maine DOE’s Proficiency-Based Education Specialist Diana Doiron at diana.doiron@maine.gov or 624-6823.

For more information on supporting English language learners in Maine, contact Maine DOE’s English as a Second Language and Bilingual Programs Director Nancy Mullins at nancy.mullins@maine.gov or 624-6788.