English Language Learners (ELL)

Thatcher School District provides English language development services to students identified as English language learners. Supplemental services are designed to help increase students’ ability to speak, write, and understand English. The overall goal of the program is to help students:

1. Make progress in learning English,
2. Attain English proficiency by the end of the school year, and
3. Make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) on required state assessments.

Families of ELL students are encouraged to become involved as partners with their child’s school in providing a successful educational experience! 


Student Screening

All new students whose parent or guardian indicate on their registration forms that there is a home language other than English will be tested with a state approved Language assessment test called the AZELLA. The AZELLA tests a students' abilities in listening, reading, writing, and speaking English. Students who do not score proficient on this test are considered to be English language learners.

This screening process provides the student's teachers and parents with valuable information, but is not the only information we use. Classroom participation and performance, and information from previous school districts also helps us create the most supportive educational program we can for each child. Parents are an important part of this process and are encouraged to bring any information to the review meeting once all data is collected!

How is English taught to my child?

All teachers at Thatcher Schools have completed training specifically to assist Engligh language learners. This training, called the "Stuctured English Immersion" endorsement, provides them with strategies and tools to use in a regular classroom setting to help students gain English skills. 

Teachers with ELL students in their classrooms provide a language-rich, caring environment where students are positively supported. With audio recordings, high-interest texts, small group instruction, and computerized tutorials, a variety of learning methods are provided in the classroom and libraries.


What is the criteria for exiting an ELL program?

Exit criteria as determined by the Arizona Department of Education:
• A score of "Proficient" on the standardized ELL AZELLA assessment 
• Final grades of C or better in core subject areas (Math, English, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies).

Once a student exits the ELL program, his/her progress will be continually monitored for two years after this reclassification to ensure their continued success in the classroom.


Who is enrolled in the ELL program?

Last year, the ELL program served about 8 students during the school year. The first languages spoken by students in the ELL program at Thatcher included: Japanese, Tagalog (Philippines), German, Spanish, Guyarti (India), and Spanish. We are excited to have these students in our district and welcome the opportunity to learn from them about their culture! Students typically receive ELL services from one to three years, as needed.