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DEPARTMENTS   »   Curriculum and Instruction Support   »   ESL

ESL Information

Mission and Philosophy

The English as a Second Language program responds to the needs of English language learners in an effort to provide optimal educational opportunities for them. The program provides the following:

· Specialized instruction that develops the students’ abilities to read, write, speak and understand English.

· Preparation for students to participate fully in the curriculum of the school.

· Support for the maintenance of the students’ first language and pride in the cultural heritage of each student.

District English Language Learner/Refugee Report 2015-16 present to BOE-       highlight and click for pdf file

7,000 English Language Learners (14.4% of our total OPS population) currently participate in the ESL program in grades K-12.

ESL services have been provided to 15, 739 (32.4%) of the K-12 student population.

The ESL program in OPS has grown more than 380% over the last 18 years. There was an 11.3% increase in students served from 2012-13 to 2013-14. This increase is due to the implementation of NDE's Rule 15, an influx of refugee students, and growth of the incoming kindergarten class.

There are 15, 799 students in the district who speak more than 109 different languages other than English in the home.

There are 1, 824 refugee students in OPS coming from 12 different countries. The number of refugees is up 84% over the last five years with the largest growth coming from Southeast Asian countries.

Omaha Public Schools uses the NDE's guidelines for identifying English Language learners for participation in the ESL program. All new K-12 families enrolling in an OPS school will complete a Home Language Survey to identify students who speak another language other than English. Students who have been identified with another language will be given the Pre-Language Assessment Scales (Kindergartners and first semester 1st graders) or the Language Assessment Scales (students in grades 1-12) to evaluate their knowledge of the English language. Students qualify based on their demonstrated language proficiency on the assessment. After testing is completed the parent or guardian is notified of the results and a parent consent form is provided. After consent to participate in the ESL program has been given the assigned ESL staff member(s) will create a support plan based on the students' needs.