English Learner Education

English Learners with Disabilities

Data shows that many English Learners are inappropriately identified as students with disabilities, while other ELs' disabilities are overlooked, leading to a lack of necessary services. Through the resources provided on this page, DESE seeks to support educators' understanding of the complexities of identifying and supporting ELs with disabilities. It is essential that as Massachusetts educators, we pay close attention to the specific needs of our students.

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Guidance for Supporting ELs with Disabilities

Evaluating ELs for Special Education and Related Services

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Ensure Equitable Access to Education: Focus on Assessment/Evaluation for Special Education & Related Services
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IEP Process Guide
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Identifying ELs with Specific Learning Disabilities (WIDA)

Using MTSS

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Ensure Equitable Access to Education through a Tiered System of Support
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The Massachusetts Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)
The MTSS Blueprint is one example framework districts can use to implement school-wide initiatives that assist all students.
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The Massachusetts Blueprint for English Learner Success
The Blueprint for English Learner Success deconstructs the Vision for English Learner Education into four distinct pillars and then goes deeper to identify specific building blocks at the classroom, school, district and state levels of the education system to reinforce each pillar.

Culturally responsive practices

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Promote Inclusive Practice Accessible to All Students: A Focus on Culturally & Linguistically Responsive Practices
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Massachusetts Educator Effectiveness Guidebook for Inclusive Practice
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Cultural Proficiency: A Strategy to Address Equity Gaps in Students' Achievement and Learning Experiences
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Diversity and Disproportionality (RTI Action Network)
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Cultural Diversity and Secondary Transition Annotated Bibliography

Collaboration

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Family Engagement (WIDA)
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Family and Community Engagement (U.S. Department of Education)
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A Parent's Guide to Special Education
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A Parent's Guide to Special Education in Massachusetts
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STRENGTHENING PARTNERSHIPS: A Framework for Prenatal through Young Adulthood Family Engagement in Massachusetts
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MA DESE Family Portal
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Promoting Inclusive Practice Accessible to All Students: A Focus on Collaborating for Student Success

Appropriate Accommodations

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Ensure Equitable Access to Education: Language Professionals & the IEP Process
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Focus on ELs with Disabilities: Providing Access to Complex Language (WIDA)

Additional Resources

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Supporting ELs & Students With Disabilities: Strategies From Turnaround Schools in Massachusetts
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Dear Colleague Letter — ELs & Limited English Proficient Parents (U.S. Department of Justice & U.S. Department of Education)

Last Updated: December 9, 2020

 
Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370

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