• English Language Development (ELD)
    Parent Handbook
    Paxtang Elementary School

    Mr. Robert G. Stewart, Principal

    Mrs. Wynne, ESL Specialist
    3530 Rutherford Street
    Harrisburg PA, 17111
    Phone: 717-561-1781
    Fax: 717-561-4992


    2018 Edition














    Central Dauphin, a uniquely diverse school district, ensures all students a challenging and dynamic curriculum that prepares them to succeed in a changing, global society by inspiring lifelong learning in a caring, collaborative community.


    This is an acronym that is used primarily in educational settings and stands for English as a Second Language. It refers to teaching English to a person whose native or primary language is one other than English. Education laws in the United States require schools to provide ESL instruction in the classroom to any and all enrolled students whose primary language is not English.

    ESL Goals

    1. To facilitate English language acquisition through communication

        skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

    2. To help students learn to use English effectively to participate and

         succeed in social and educational environments.

    3. To provide educational experiences that will prepare students to

        complete high school and to enter institutions of higher education

        and/or the world of work.

    4. To orientate students and their families to the school and the


    5. To facilitate the acculturation process by exposing students to the

         customs, traditions, and behavioral expectations of their new


    6. To encourage students to continue to value and celebrate their

        cultural heritage, and maintain their native languages.


    Home Language Survey

    The Pennsylvania Department of Education has selected the Home Language Survey (HLS) as the tool to identify limited English proficient students. The purpose of this survey is to determine a primary or home language other than English (PHLOTE). Schools have a responsibility under federal law to serve students who are limited English proficient and need ESL or bilingual instruction in order to be successful in academic subjects. The HLS must be given to all students enrolled in the school district.


    Local Education Agencies (LEAs) must use the WIDA ACCESS PLACEMENT TEST (W- APT), which is aligned to the required annual State ELP assessment, ACCESS for ELLs, to assess students for placement in language instructional programs for ELLs.



    Level 1 Entering:    Pre-Production

    ·        minimal comprehension

    ·        no verbal production

    Level 2 Beginning:   Early Production

    ·        limited comprehension

    ·        one or two word responses

    Level 3 Developing: Speech Emergence

    ·        good communication

    ·        production of simple sentences with some errors

    ·        short phrases

    ·        dialogue

    Level 4 Expanding:   Intermediate

    ·        may have excellent comprehension

    ·        makes few grammatical errors

    Level 5 Bridging:     Advanced Fluency

    ·        may exhibit near-native speech in English



    ESL Program Models

    The ESL program uses the following recommended instructional models:


    ESL Pull-out

    ESL teachers meet with ELLs outside of their regular classrooms to spend part of the day receiving direct ESL instruction often focused on grammar, vocabulary, and communication skills. ELLs participate the rest of the day in the regular all-English academic mainstream.


    ESL Push-in

    ESL instruction for ELLs is provided in the context of their regular classroom by the qualified ESL teacher in collaboration with the content-area teacher.


    Silent Phase

    The first stage of language acquisition is the silent phase.  Students listen and begin processing information in English.  They often need to connect the lesson to their background of experience in their first language.  Silence does not always mean lack of understanding.  However, ESL students do not like to ask questions or tell the teacher they don’t understand while they are in the silent phase.


    Program Exiting Procedures

    The PA Department of Education has mandated statewide Exit Criterion for

    ELLs. Students cannot be exited from an ESL program until they have demonstrated proficiency in English by scoring a 5.0 or above on the Tier C WIDA ACCESS for ELLs annual assessment, scoring a Basic or above on the PSSA, and attaining a “C” or better in all of the other core subjects. For more in depth information on the exit criteria (including some flexibility with the guidelines), please visit PDE’s website at http://www.pde.state.pa.us/esl and select the link for resource documents.



    After exiting the ESL program, the student’s performance will be monitored for two years. At this time, support and/or accommodations should still be provided to the student as needed with classroom work, instruction, and/or assessment. A classroom monitoring form is to be completed by the classroom teacher(s) at least twice a year.



    ELLs must be graded using the same grading system as all other students. The classroom teacher and the ESL teacher will collaborate to reach a suitable grade in the elementary school. When planning appropriate assignments and assessments for ELLs, teachers will consider the PA English Language Proficiency Standards and the CAN DO Descriptors for the Levels of English Language Proficiency. Evaluating an ELL with the same test as a native English speaker is inappropriate. Curricular accommodations should be used. A list of accommodations will be given to all teachers. These accommodations will be used in all content areas and all accommodations used will be documented.



    Although English conversation skills may be acquired quite rapidly by ESL students, upward of five years may be required for ESL students to reach a level of academic proficiency in English comparable to their native-English speaking peers…” (Cummins)

    ·        Use preferential seating close to the front of the classroom

    ·        Use word banks and vocabulary with pictures

    ·        Use graphs, timelines, graphic organizers

    ·        Provide visual clues, such as facial expressions, gestures, pictures, cartoons, posters, charts, maps, manipulatives, and videos

    ·        Give clear, short oral directions accompanied by written directions

    ·        Check for understanding.  (Head nodding doesn’t count!)

    ·        Use a peer buddy system

    ·        Provide cooperative learning experiences

    ·        Find opportunities for one-on-one help

    ·        Alternative assessments

    ·        Use illustrated simplified texts and/or texts in students’ first language

    ·        Promote multicultural awareness in the classroom

    ·        Activate prior knowledge

    ·        Model and teach learning strategies

    ·        Emphasize comprehension over pronunciation


    Importance of Effort

    Students come to ESL with different educational backgrounds and experiences with English. Some individuals learn language easily and others take longer. Please emphasize to your child that it is important to demonstrate effort and perseverance in every class. The teachers know that your child is learning English and they are very patient with ESL students. However, ESL students must also demonstrate effort by asking for help and attempt completing homework at home, regardless if it is one question or twenty.


    Phone Number and Address

    In the US parents teach children their home phone number and address at a very early age. This is for a child's protection and to make sure that a child can be quickly assisted if he/she becomes ill at school. 




    The Board requires that school age students enrolled in district schools attend school regularly, in accordance with state laws. The educational program offered by the district is predicated upon the presence of the student and requires continuity of instruction and classroom participation in order for students to achieve academic standards and consistent educational progress. After each absence a student is given three (3) days to turn in a written excuse to the office upon their return. If note(s) are submitted after three days, the absence becomes unexcused or unlawful.


    Student Code of Conduct

     Provide students, school staff and parents with a guideline of rights, responsibilities and prohibited acts and activities deemed detrimental to maintaining a safe and orderly learning environment. The Student Code of Conduct will be supplied to every student at the beginning of each school year.



    Appearance and Dress

    1.       Standards for personal grooming and dress shall respect the following


    a.      Accessories or items of apparel which distract from the educational

         program shall not be worn.

    b.     Clothing and hair shall never be worn in a fashion that presents a hazard

         to the safety of any pupil or groups of pupils.

    2.     It shall be the responsibility of the building principal to exercise fair and

         consistent judgment in determining when violations of Item 1, (a) and (b)

         have occurred.

    3.  Wear clothing that is appropriate for the weather.


    Admission to the Elementary School Building

    Children are admitted to the school building fifteen (15) minutes prior to the beginning of classes. Parents are asked to cooperate in having their children arrive during this fifteen (15)-minute period. Pupils transported by school bus will be admitted to the building upon arrival. Kindergarten children who ride in private cars should be picked up promptly at dismissal time.


    Parent-Teacher Association/Organizations

    These are organizations composed of parents and teachers interested in promoting the welfare of the youth of this community. The bylaws of these associations list further objectives as raising the standards of home life, securing adequate laws for the care and protection of youth, bringing about closer relations of the home and school, and uniting the general public and educators to secure the highest advantages in physical, mental and spiritual education for every child. Contact ther school for more information.


    Building Visitation

    Upon entering the building, please stop in the office and secure a visitor's pass.


    Parent Visitation

    The administration and faculty of the Central Dauphin schools wish to support home/school cooperation. In order to make your visit to school more profitable to you and to us, and safe for all students, we ask:  Please schedule your visit in advance. A phone call to the principal's office will alert all staff of your presence.

    1.       Please schedule your visit in advance. A phone call to the principal's office will

          alert all staff of your presence.

    2.   Special education classroom visits are scheduled through the respective  

          special education supervisor.

    3.   If you desire a conference with a teacher, make an appointment through the

          office. Classes will not be interrupted for this purpose.

      4.   All visitors must register in the office and obtain a visitor's badge.


    Daily Time Schedule

    All elementary schools will begin at 9 a.m. and dismiss at 3:45 p.m. Morning kindergarten will begin at 9 a.m. and dismiss at 11:45 a.m. Afternoon kindergarten will begin at 1 p.m. and dismiss at 3:45 p.m. Elementary schools operate on a five-day cycle.


    Dress for Physical Education Classes

    Your child will be involved in a physical education program. Many activities are planned for his/her education and physical development. On the day your child is assigned a gym period, he/she will be required to have athletic shoes. Although these need not be new, we ask that they have adequate shoe laces and they be sturdy to avoid accidents.

    Lost and Found

    Any article that is found and judged to have value should be turned in to the office and an effort will be made to have lost and found items returned to the owner. The district is not responsible for items brought to school.


    Library Service

    Elementary libraries include both fiction and nonfic­tion books. Each class meets with one of the librarians for instruction in library activities and procedures. In addition, each class is given time each week for book selection.  Books are returned the following week.  


    Health Services

    Health services are provided by certified school nurses, health room aides, dentists and physicians. These services include:

    • Health education
    • Annual screenings
    • Health counseling
    • Referral service
    • Emergency care

    The school health program consists of certain required screenings such as vision, hearing, and growth measurements of all students. The nurse maintains the student's permanent health record, recording the results of all screening and medical information. Interpretation of the results is made to both parent and teacher, as necessary. Other services, including emergency care of student and medical guidance for students and parents, are available during school hours. Please note that if your child has a fever do not send him/her to school.

    https://www.cdschools.org/site/Default.aspx?PageID=1 (Parent Portal)


    School Messenger

    School Messenger is a comprehensive communication and notification system utilized by staff and administration in each building for attendance as well as special events. The system has the ability to deliver emergency calls, emails, and text messaging to parents within minutes. School Messenger greatly enhances the district’s ability to communicate effectively in an efficient and timely manner. To change any contact information, please contact the school.

    Inclement Weather

    Occasionally, there are winter days when the weather makes it impossible for children to travel to school safely. If there is too much snow or ice on the roads, school may be cancelled. If you awake and find that there is a lot of snow or ice outside, turn on your TV to the ABC 27 News Channel and listen for Central Dauphin School District school closing announcement.



    A school calendar is sent home at the beginning of the year.  Please check it often for 2 hour delays, holidays, school events, etc. Also on the school web page access your child’s teacher’s web page that will also contain valuable information.

    www.cdschools.org (school-Paxtang)


    Behavior in Class

    All students are expected to respect the teachers, administrators, and each other while attending class and school activities.  If a student's behavior in class hinders his/her ability to learn, the ability of any classmate to learn, or the ability of the teachers to effectively teach, the student will receive a Think Sheet to complete.  It will be sent home that night for the parent to sign.  If the disruptive behavior continues, the student’s parents will be contacted to determine how to solve the problem.



    Students are expected to show courtesy to the bus drivers and one another by remaining in their seats and talking quietly so as not to interfere with the safe operation of the bus.

    How to Better Help Your Child Succeed in School

    1. Ask to see your child's homework or completed assignments every day.
    2. Establish a regular, consistent time to do homework.
    3. Take your child to book stores that provide a wide assortment of     

        excellent books of varying levels and interests.
    4. Communicate concerns or questions to your child's teachers or the ESL teacher

        explain his/her classroom assignments to you.

    5.  Have a positive attitude about your child's new school.
    6.  Encourage your child to keep trying even when assignments are difficult.

         Reassure him/her that eventually school will not seem too difficult.
    7.  Encourage your child to view his/her time in the United States as an exciting

         opportunity to learn new things.
    8.  Encourage your child to read-both in English and in their home language.

    9. Attend Parent/Teacher conferences to see how your child is performing.


    Parent/Teacher Conferences

    Parent/teacher conferences give you the opportunity to speak with your child's teachers privately about his/her progress in school. Every parent is strongly encouraged to attend. If your English is limited, we will provide you with a translator.


    Helpful Websites

    Language Arts

    ·         Starfall- http://www.starfall.com/

    ·         Literacy Center-http://www.literacycenter.net/lessonview_en.php 

    ·         ESL Flashcards-http://www.eslflashcards.com/ 

    ·         Games to Print and Play-http://www.carlscorner.us.com/Games.htm 

    ·         Elementary Kids' Site-http://www.teachers.cr.k12.de.us/~galgano/elemkids.htm 

    ·         Literacy Games and Activities- http://www.pbs.org/parents/lions/site/map.html

    Reading Program Overview

    ·         Journeys –




    The GO Math! resource provided by the Central Dauphin School District includes a variety of online resources for teachers, students, and parents, including online access to the student workbooks, animated math videos, and virtual manipulatives.The resources below provide more information on ThinkCentral and GoMath!. Please do not hesitate to contact Rutherford Elementary for more information on this incredible resource.

     Parent Resources
    Accessing ThinkCentral and GO Math!:
    2. Select your state, district and school. To make it easier to log in later, check 'Remember my School' (optional)
    3. Enter your child's username and password (provided by teacher)
    4. Click 'Log In' 


    The Gift of Two Languages

    Knowing two languages is a gift you can give your child. Many children lose the ability to speak and read in their home language when growing up in the United States. With encouragement from you, though, your child can become fluent in not just one language, but two!

    (By: Colorín Colorado 2007)