The ELL Program was established to provide support services to students affected under the language provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Civil Rights Act bans discrimination in employment, in education, in public places, and in voting. In the 1974 Lau versus Nichols case, the Supreme Court ruled that public schools have an obligation to provide specialized instruction to students whose limited English proficiency prevents them from full participation in the classroom. The Equal Opportunities Act of 1974 (Sections 1702 and 1703-f) ensures that, “No state shall deny equal educational opportunity to an individual on account of his or her race, color, sex or national origin. By failure of an educational agency to take appropriate action to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation by its students in its instructional program, it is, in fact, denying equal opportunity. The failure by an educational agency to take appropriate action to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation by its students in its instructional programs is denying equal opportunity.” This legislation requires “appropriate actions” to help limited-English proficient students. No intent to discriminate need be found to enforce the parameters of this Act nor does it matter whether or not the school district receives federal funds.
The FNSBSD English Language Learner Program supports schools in delivering equal educational opportunities for students who speak a language or languages other than English, who speak another language in addition to English, or who have a language other than English spoken in their home and are academically achieving below grade level. The program focuses on helping students gain social communication skills and academic language proficiency in English, while developing multi-cultural awareness.
The FNSBSD English Language Learner (ELL) Program is funded through the school district’s regular budget and additional grants from the state and federal governments. The program staff includes ELL Specialists, ELL Tutor/Instructors, Language Interpreters, the Director of ELL Program, and the ELL Program Secretary.
The FNSBSD ELL Program serves students from over 40 language backgrounds. Without appropriate support, an ELL student is unlikely to achieve competency in academic English.