PRIORITY NOTICE: Adopted English Language Development Standards; Process and Support

As a critical companion to the Maine Learning Results, Maine’s officially adopted K-12 English language development (ELD) standards are the WIDA ELD Standards, which are:

  • Language for Social and Instructional Purposes;
  • Language for Language Arts;
  • Language for Mathematics;
  • Language for Science; and
  • Language for Social Studies.

In March of 2021, WIDA released the refreshed ELD Standards Framework, 2020 Edition, which serves as a foundation for systems that foster engaged interactive student learning and collaborative educator practice. The Framework is centered on equity for all students and fosters the assets, contributions, and potential of culturally and linguistically diverse children and youth. It also provides a clear and coherent structure to guide the development of curriculum, instruction, and assessment of content-driven English language learning.

Over the course of the 2021-2022 school year, districts will need to engage in planning and preparation for full implementation of the new WIDA ELD Standards Framework beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. We suggest the following three steps for effective implementation.

Step 1: Professional Learning

The implementation process begins with professional learning about the new standards framework and dedicated time for collaborative learning/planning with educators, across grade levels and content areas, across the district and within individual schools. Administrators, curriculum coordinators, teacher leaders, and others who coordinate the professional learning calendar should plan accordingly for this important work to occur. (See the end of this article for opportunities for professional learning through the Maine Department Of Education (DOE).

Step 2: Plan the Collaboration Cycle

The Collaboration Cycle consists of 4 components.

  1. Co-Reflecting-Includes WIDA Can Do Philosophy and Guiding Principles of Language Development
  2. Co-Planning-Includes WIDA ELD Standards 2020 Edition
  3. Co-Teaching-Includes WIDA Focus Bulletins and WIDA Professional Learning
  4. Co-Assessment-Includes WIDA Assessments, WIDA Rubrics, and Proficiency Level Descriptors.

The Focus Bulletin outlining this Collaboration Cycle in detail can be found here. In order for collaboration to succeed, district and school leaders must develop a culture of shared responsibility and create both curricular and administrative structures that facilitate collaboration. “Regardless of the type of educational setting and programming, a coordinated effort among all district and school levels is necessary to provide multilingual learners with meaningful learning experiences and an equitable, high quality education” p. 236 WIDA ELD Standards Framework, 2020 Edition.

Step 3: Classroom/Content Area Teachers and ESOL Teachers Engage in the Collaboration Cycle

The components of the ELD Framework will be utilized to inform language development planning across units of study or curriculum maps. An important component of this planning is English learners’ Individual Language Acquisition Plans, which should include appropriate grade-level language expectations grounded in the five ELD standards.

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to provide support to School Administrative Units (SAUs) in their implementation of these required state standards. We invite all districts to participate in the following trainings:

  • A free, self-paced, six-module eWorkshop called The WIDA 2020 ELD Standards Framework: A Collaborative Approach is available to all Maine public school educators through the WIDA Secure Portal. If you do not yet have a WIDA Secure Portal account, contact WIDA Client Services to have one set up for you. (Note that you must have a Maine public school email address.)
  • A 45-minute overview of the WIDA ELD Standards Framework, 2020 Edition, was provided on May 7th at the Maine ESOL Meeting. A recording of this overview presentation is available here.
  • The Maine DOE is hosting a series of two eWorkshops, facilitated by WIDA, on Planning with 2020 WIDA ELD Standards. The eWorkshops will take place on June 9th and June 16th from 9:30am to 11:30am. Participants must attend both sessions. The workshops are free and limited to 40 participants. Registration closes June 1st. Register here.

Additionally, the Department invites educators to participate in a virtual professional learning community, which will guide them through the self-paced eWorkshop mentioned above. If you are interested in participating or serving as a teacher leader facilitator, contact Robin Fleck, ESOL Consultant, at Contact hours will be provided.

Subscribe to the Maine DOE ESOL Educators Listserv to receive updates on additional professional learning opportunities related to the WIDA ELD Standards and other ESOL topics.

If you have any questions about the WIDA ELD Standards or the requirements for implementation, please contact April Perkins, World Languages & ESOL/Bilingual Programs Specialist at