English as Second Language (ESL)

Providing World Class Instruction for our Multilingual Learners

Cleveland City Schools takes pride in the diversity of our students and families. We have over 30 ESL-certified teachers who support our English Learners with the social, emotional, cultural, and academic skills needed to excel in higher education, work, and life. We strive to bridge linguistic and academic gaps for our students and ensure that all English Learners have access to high-quality Tier 1 and ESL instruction. TN State Board of Education Rule (Chapter 0520-01-19) establishes minimum compliance requirements for LEAs serving students who are identified as English Learners (ELs).

Our Services:

  • Annual English Language assessment

  • Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) personalized to the language needs of each student

  • Small group instruction in reading, writing, listening, and speaking

  • Supplemental language and literacy software materials

  • Extended learning opportunities after-school and during the summer

  • Family Literacy and Engagement activities

Entrance and Exit Criteria
Students that indicate a language other than English or in addition to English on their Home Language Survey will be assessed for English proficiency.  Students who are not proficient in English are classified as English Learners and qualify for ESL services.  

Students classified as English Learners are assessed annually using WIDA ACCESS 2.0.  Students must meet state requirements to be considered proficient and exit direct services.  Further information is located in the Rules of the State Board of Education Chapter 0520-01-19 English as a Second Language Programs.  

English Language Development Standards

The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) uses the WIDA English Language Development standards.  They focus on social and academic language that takes place in classrooms and beyond. View the WIDA ELD Standards Framework.   

The ESL programs use assessments focused on language proficiency. Some of the standardized assessments for entrance, exit, and program accountability are listed here. View the WIDA ACCESS 2.0 assessment. View the WIDA screener assessment. View the WIDA Alternate ACCESS Assessment. 

English Proficiency Levels 
We describe EL levels on a continuum from 1 (Entering) to 6 (Reaching). EL and other linguistically and culturally diverse learners bring a unique set of assets that often enrich the experiences of all. Our approach is positive and focuses on what EL students can do with language as they are developing their skills. View WIDA's Can Do Descriptors. View WIDA's Performance Definitions.

Parent Notification
Parents are notified of student entrance to the ESL program. They are also notified annually for continuation of services or program exit. 

Translation and Interpretation
Families that need assistance in languages other than English can find more information on the District Translation and Interpretation page.

ESL Teachers