Lau Plan

Falmouth School Department
     Falmouth, Maine 
            Lau Plan

I. Legal Foundation

Falmouth Public Schools is obligated to follow all federal and state guidelines in providing equal 
educational opportunities to all students. Therefore, it is necessary that the district take care in 
evaluating and meeting the needs of students with limited English proficiency. The rights of this 
group of students to an equal education are protected by the force of legislation, judicial 
opinion, and administrative regulation. 

Through its English as a Second Language (ESL) and Bilingual Programs, the Maine Department 
of Education has issued the following guidelines for measuring school districts’ compliance with 
federal and state law:

A.  School systems must identify and service all students whose primary language is other than 
English, who have or may have difficulty performing ordinary class work in English, and who 
cannot learn or achieve on parity with their English dominant peers.  Such limited English 
proficient (LEP) students must be placed in a specifically designed language support program 
(Lau guidelines refer to the U.S. Supreme Court case Lau vs. Nichols).

B.  Any specially designed support or instructional program shall be consistent with all national 
origin minority students.

federal acts and mandates, related federal regulations and court cases as well as Maine State 
acts, mandates and policies, which relate to the education of limited English and C.  This 
instructional program should be based on second language acquisition pedagogy and sound 
educational practices for meeting the individual needs of LEP students.  The burden of proof is 
upon the district that the instructional program is designed for an LEP student has clearly 
developed English language skills of comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing necessary 
for learning and achieving in English-only instruction at a level substantially equivalent to 
pupils whose primary language is English.  In addition, teachers in English as a second language 
or bilingual classes must be adequately trained in the appropriate field.  

D.  School systems which provide English language development programs to limited English 
proficient (LEP) students should reclassify students from limited English proficient (LEP) to fluent 
English proficient (FEP) by specific reclassification procedures resulting from state-approved 

E.  Consistent with Maine statute and No Child Left Behind Act, LEP students are held to the 
same accountability requirements for achievement of Maine Learning Results and of 
participating in state mandated assessments.  Accommodations or alternate assessments may 
be required for some LEP students. 

II. Philosophical Foundation

Even if state and federal legislation did not require special consideration of the needs of the 
limited English proficient (LEP) students, it is consistent with the goals of Falmouth to 
personalize each child’s education so that educational efforts can be successful and responsive 
to the child’s needs, abilities, and interests.  This school district evaluates needs and provides 
educational opportunities, which enables all students to become lifelong learners.  This plan 
applies to regularly enrolled students in Falmouth Public Schools; it is not intended for all 
students who have come as guests to the district for a short-term social/cultural experience 
(e.g. exchange students) though this plan does not require exclusion of appropriate and 
reasonable assistance for those students. 

III. Terms

A. EL, ELL, ESL, LEP: English Learner, English language learner, English as a second language or 
limited English proficient are four terms that are used interchangeably at the national and state 
levels to describe the use of special curriculum and services to help students who come from a 
non-English language background learn English.

B. FEP: Fluent (Fully) English proficient students are capable of functioning in an English-only 
educational environment in the areas of comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

C. LAC: The language assessment committee with responsibilities, which include identifying and 
generally meeting the needs of non-English proficient (NEP) and limited English proficiency 
(LEP) students.

D.  Lau: Informal reference to Civil Rights Act which required school districts to provide special 
assistance to English language learners who were unable to benefit from an education 
conducted primarily in English. 

E. ACCESS for ELLs: ACCESS for ELLs is a test anchored in the World-Class Design and 
Assessment (WIDA) English Language Proficiency Standards for ELLs in Kindergarten through 
Grades 12 and annually assesses students’ English language proficiency in the four domains of 
listening, speaking, reading, and writing. 

F.  W-APT: This stands for the WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test.  This assessment tool, known as 
the “screener”, is used to measure the English language proficiency of students who have 
recently arrived in our school district.  It can help to determine whether or not a child is in need 
of English language instructional services, and if so, at what level.

G. WIDA MODEL (Measure of Developing English Language) is a series of English language 
proficiency assessments for Kindergarten through Grade 12. MODEL can be used by educators 
as an identification/placement assessment for newly enrolled ELLs or as an interim progress 
monitoring assessment.  

IV. Screening

All newly enrolled students (including transfers) will be screened for subsequent assessment 
through the Home Language Survey during the enrollment period.

If a student has been previously identified as ELL, screening is not required, although English 
proficiency assessment is required annually in all communicative skills domains using the 
ACCESS tool.  

Other students brought to the attention of ELL staff will also be administered appropriate 

V. Language Assessment Committee (LAC) The building level language assessment committee 
will coordinate and oversee the educational program of ELL students.  The LAC will be 
composed of the building administrator or designee, classroom teacher(s), guidance counselor, 
parents/ guardians when appropriate, ELL teacher and other ELL consultants, who may be 
involved with the committee on an as needed basis. The LAC meetings will be scheduled and 
conducted by the ELL teacher.

The LAC responsibilities will include the following:

A.  Annually monitor progress of all ELL students using WIDA standards to measure growth in 
English language proficiency.   The ACCESS tool is what is used for this purpose.  Parent reports 
will be generated and distributed annually.  

B.  Develop an appropriate and effective language support program that assures ELL students 
will achieve learning results and grade level expectations.

C. Monitor and communicate student’s progress on an on-going basis.

D.  Notify the parent or guardian in writing or, if necessary, in person of all recommendations 
(in a language they comprehend) and invite the parents of newly identified ELL students to an 
initial placement meeting.  

E.  Parents may initiate an LAC meeting.

F.  Determine when ELL students require changes in programs and communicate this clearly 
with parents. 

G. Continue annual monitoring for two years after student’s reclassification to full English 
proficiency based on the ACCESS assessments. 

H. Make recommendations for placement and program type for the next school year.

VI. English Language Learner Program

Each student will be enrolled in a mainstream program to the extent possible and integrated 
into regular activities.  The regular classroom teacher will share the responsibility of 
programming with qualified ELL staff members.  Modifications to the regular curriculum will be 
supported by appropriate instructional materials.  An ELL program will be provided at each 
school at each level in order to maximize, a range of language support services to support 
access to the Maine Learning Results.

The following guidelines will be considered in the development of a student’s program:

A.  Instruction will be provided during regular school hours. 

B.  Student’s grade placement will be age appropriate within a grade level that is not more than 
one year below his/her chronological age. 

C.  To the extent possible and desirable the ELL culture will be shared with classmates.

D.  Instructional space for ELL will be provided on site. 

E.  Amount of ELL support /time with the ELL staff will be determined by the LAC committee 
based on age, needs of student and multi-criteria evaluations such as ACCESS.

F.   Adaptive instructional materials will be provided as appropriate to ELLs.   

VII.  ELL Staff Requirements and Responsibilities

A.   ELL teacher will hold State of Maine certification with ESL endorsement. 

B.   Administer multi-criteria evaluations used to determine eligibility.

C.   Communicate student progress with parents during parent teacher conferences, arrange for 
translator, if needed.

D.   Revisions to the Lau plan must be submitted to the superintendent for approval.

E.    Recommend reclassification or exiting of students based on the WIDA assessment or other 
multi-criteria evaluations.

F.    Support the sharing of an ELL student’s cultural and language information with classmates.

G.     Insure with their guidance counselors that high school students receive appropriate career 
and/or educational information and that all postgraduate opportunities are available to them.

H.    Monitor ELL students who have exited the program for a period of two years.

I.     Annually monitor students screened, but not considered eligible, for ELL services for a 
period of five years.

VIII.  Identification of English Language Learner Students

The process for identifying ELL students should be completed within thirty days following the 
opening of school or registration of a new student. Input from sources listed below will be 
utilized in this process:

A.   Home Language Survey forms are given to all incoming students.

B.   Informal observation/interview will occur as part of the regular registration process.

C.   ELL staff will be notified of possible new ELL students by guidance or main office staff based 
on Home Language Surveys.

D.   ELL staff will meet informally with parents.

E.   ELL staff will review previous school records (cumulative folder), if possible.

F.   The ACCESS, W-APT or WIDA Model  language proficiency assessment will be used to 
determine placement in the ELL program.  The test must be administered to all students whose 
Home Language Survey indicates a primary language other than English.

IX. Assessment of English Language Proficiency and Academic Skills
Following receipt of a Home Language Survey, ELL students will be assessed for their level of 
English language proficiency in terms of the five WIDA language proficiency levels [Entering, 
Emerging, Developing, Expanding, or Bridging] using the following sources of information as 

A.   Consultation with classroom teacher(s) and parents

B.   Anecdotal information from student and family/guardian as stipulated in NCLB (No Child 
Left Behind) and  MLR (Maine Learning Results). 

C.   WIDA assessments administered annually as stipulated 

D.   Testing in content areas when comprehensible

E.   Oral and written assessment of English.      
           One or more of the following tests:             
            a. ACCESS for ELLs             
            b. W-APT  
c. WIDA Model

X.  Record-Keeping for Identified ESL Student

ELL staff will maintain ELL student files.  The responsibility for updating the files (student 
language assessment, reviews, and reclassification information) will be assigned to the ELL staff.

XI.  Reclassification, Transfer, and Exit Criteria

A multi-criteria assessment will be made when determining if an LEP student will be exited 
from the program. This will consist of the following:

Teacher evaluation of general language proficiency by observing the student’s oral performance 
in both formal and informal settings.
The ELL Teacher will evaluate the progress of the student in reference to language and content 
objectives at least annually.
An objective evaluation will be made as to how the student is functioning in the four skill areas 
of listening, speaking, reading, and writing compared to their English speaking classmates.  
This evaluation will be made based on the annual WIDA ACCESS testing.  Exit from ELL 
programming will occur when the student is able to competently perform in a regular 
(mainstream) setting and measures proficiency at a level of 6.0 on the ACCESS test. 

XII.  Parent Notification and Option to Withdraw Approval 

The language assessment committee (LAC) will meet with the parents or guardians to discuss 
any changes in classification and of their right to challenge the reclassification. This information 
will be given in a language that the parents or guardians can understand. Students who have 
been identified beyond Level VI of English language proficiency will be monitored by the ELL 
teacher for a two year period after reclassification to fluent English proficient (FEP).  The ELL 
teacher will review progress of ELL student’s grades once per semester for a period of two years.

 Revised (Pending School Board Approval) November 10, 2015 

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