Contact Us

Jaimie Cogua

Coordinator of EL, Dual Language, Migrant and Refugee Education

(531) 299-9405


English Learners Information


The mission of the Omaha Public Schools is to prepare 

ALL students for success in college, career and life.

EL Core Beliefs

  • We believe teachers must provide explicit language instruction that is comprehensible, unlocks how language works, and gives students opportunities to practice and produce academic language.
  • We believe, when provided appropriate scaffolding, ELs can participate fully in rigorous lessons and achieve high academic standards.
  • We believe that culturally responsive teaching creates an optimal environment where students feel socially connected and intellectually safe, therefore able to take risks.

OPS English Learner Demographics

Omaha Public Schools serves approximately 9,500 students in our K-12 English Learner program (NDE, 2018-2019 Data)
English Learner services have been provided to over 15, 000 of the K-12 student population.

Over 20,000 students in OPS who speak more than 120 different languages other than English in the home, regardless of EL status.

There are over 2,400 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.

EL Services Eligibility

Omaha Public Schools uses the NDE's guidelines for identifying English Language learners for participation in the English Learner 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 a Language Assessment Screener 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 through a parent notification letter.  The English Learner specialist at the student's school will determine the appropriate EL service model based on their needs.  

English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards

The Omaha Public Schools has adopted the Nebraska Department of Education English language Proficiency Standards.  

These 10 ELP Standards are designed for collaborative use by English Learner teachers and content area teachers in both English language development and content-area instruction. Explicit recognition that language acquisition takes place across the content areas fosters collaboration among educators and benefits ELLs’ learning experiences (NDE, ELP Standard Document, p. 5).

Below is a link to the complete list of ELP Standards and grade-level indicators.

NDE English Language Proficiency Standards

 English Learner Program Review: Written Report  


March 26, 2019  






Submitted by: Jaimie Cogua, Coordinator EL, Dual Language, Migrant and Refugee Education



Program Goals 

The OPS EL Program focuses on teaching academic English language proficiency through a guaranteed and viable curriculum aligned to the ELP standards.  We believe that all students need opportunities to experience authentic literacy to build academic language that will prepare them for college, career and life.



Our program focus includes:

What We Teach

    • Academic English Language Proficiency through Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum: ELP standards highlight and amplify critical language of grade-appropriate standards

How We Teach

    • Content and Language Learning Goals (Objectives)
    • Gradual Release of Instruction with Checks for Understanding

Authentic Literacy

    • Building Academic Language through Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening



Summary of Review Process


The Omaha Public Schools review process involves ongoing review and attention to compliance with Rule 15.  The EL Leadership team includes: EL Teacher Leaders/Teacher Trainer, Refugee Specialist, Dual Language Supervisor, and EL Supervisor/TLC Administrator.


The EL Leadership team meets on a monthly basis to review Rule 15 compliance, current EL data provided by and in collaboration with the OPS Research office, and to discuss upcoming professional development sessions.  In addition, the EL Leadership team participates in two annual strategic planning day sessions, during which the team reviews all relevant data to create a strategic plan for the current and upcoming school year.  This plan is then revised throughout the year as needed to address professional development needs.  In addition to the EL Leadership team meetings, the following OPS staff also collaborate to provide input for strategic planning related to EL achievement.

    • OPS District Leadership Team
    • OPS Research



Data Analysis


The OPS review process includes analysis of K-12 student program data for both current and former ELs including:

  • English Learner population trends
  • Attendance rate and chronic absenteeism rate
  • MAP Growth test results for Math, Reading and Science
  • ELPA21 levels by domain and school level
  • NSCAS performance for Math, Reading and Science
  • Graduation and dropout rate
  • ACT performance



In addition, the committee regularly reviews the following district processes:

  • Identification of ELs
  • Assessment procedures, including accommodations for ELs on district and state assessments
  • Program exit requirements
  • Program staffing
  • Implementation of the EL program, including EL guaranteed/viable curriculum, instructional approaches and professional development needs





Summary of Review Findings


OPS ensures that all students are correctly identified during the enrollment process by administering a Home Language Survey (HLS) to all students entering the district.  This information is recorded in Infinite Campus.  If a language other than English is reported on the HLS, the EL teacher or bilingual liaison administers an English language proficiency screener.  If the results indicate the student is an English Learner, parents/guardians are notified by the EL teacher or bilingual liaison and are provided notification letter.  Each year after initial placement, students in the OPS EL Program are notified of about their child’s English language proficiency (ELPA21 Summative results) and provided a letter of continuation of services.


Parents can request an interpreter to help complete forms and communicate transportation needs during the enrollment process.  Students whose background suggests limited or interrupted formal education (SLIFE) are given an additional screener to see if they might be a candidate for Advantage Placement (K-8) or the High School Teen Literacy Center (ages 14-21).


The Language Instruction Educational Program (LIEP) at Omaha Public Schools is designed to help students reach proficiency in English and support their academic development.  Our program offers a continuum of services including: Dual Language K-12, Sheltered English Instruction or Specially designed academic instruction delivered in English, Pull-out English Learner Instruction, and Structured English Immersion.   Additional English Learner services are provided including: Saturday School, Spring Break School, July summer programming, strategic tutoring, college preparation and student leadership clubs.


In 2017-18, the district worked to provide professional development to all district leaders and teachers related to Academic Conversations.  This work has continued into 2018-19.  EL Teacher Leaders collaborate with Curriculum Supervisors to ensure EL teaching strategies are represented in content-specific professional development presentations.  The district has also invested heavily in professional development by offering an optional K-12 ESL Endorsement as well as an annual ESL Fall Conference open to all OPS teachers and staff.


All students as assessed on the ELPA21 and NSCAS content assessments.  Parents/guardians are notified annually of these results.  Per Rule 15, students exit English Learner Services when they demonstrate proficiency on the ELPA21 Summative (Level 3/Proficient).



Program Strengths


The OPS English Learners population has continued to increase over the past five years.  The number of ELs increases at the high school level and the number of refugee students has remained fairly consistent.  Just fewer than 80% of all English Learners have been in the district for four years or less.  Even so, the percentage of students meeting and exceeding growth goals are relatively steady among all EL statuses in all subjects and current ELs are less likely to show negative growth, while exited ELs are similar to the non-EL population.   The high school graduation rate for students currently receiving English Learner Services is 57.7%, and graduation rate for English Learners who have exited the EL program is 90.4%.  Current ELs graduation rate increases for the five (5) and six (6) year cohorts.


Consistent professional development provided by the EL Teacher Leaders in collaboration with Curriculum Supervisors and building leadership has been central to the success of the OPS English Learner program.  OPS also boasts a strong K-12 Dual Language program, and students in Dual Language do as well as or better than their peers.  OPS also provides strong newcomer programming reflected in 1) classroom/course sheltered instruction, 2) Yates Educational Community Partnership Parental Involvement Program that supports learners ages 0-adult with specific supports for refugee and migrant families and 3) the Teen Literacy Center specific newcomer supports for secondary SLIFE.




Program Recommendations/Modifications


Continue systematic EL curriculum development in alignment with NE ELP standards

  • Continue professional development for EL and general education teachers and paraprofessionals, including dual language
  • Continue collaboration with content area supervisors to ensure integration of best instructional practices for ELs in all content area curriculum development
  • Provide additional consistency in recording enrollment data in Infinite campus, including HLS
  • Additional rigorous benchmarks within each grade level to demonstrate growth, in addition to ELPA21 Summative



Identification of Goals for Improving Student Learning


As a result of the program review, the following goals were recommended for next year’s programming:

  • Develop an understanding of ELPA21 Summative data by learning how to access and interpret the data
  • Gain an understanding of ELPA21 Achievement Level Descriptors and how they can be utilized to guide instruction
  • Field test a new high school level course designed to boost students’ academic language development, with a focus on comprehension, academic vocabulary development, and advanced grammatical structures needed to comprehend and produce academic language
  • Implement professional development on lesson planning with a focus on language goals that support the (content) learning goals
  • Continue building academic language through Academic Conversations across all content areas