English Learners (Els) are one of the fastest growing groups of students in Massachusetts' schools and among the most diverse racially, socio- economically, culturally, and linguistically. ELs represent over 10% of the student population in Massachusetts public schools and speak over 150 different languages at home. The prior schooling and literacy learning experiences of many ELs and their families are quite distinct from that of their native English-speaking peers. ELs and their families bring a depth of personal, social, cultural resources, as well as their academic, workplace, and world experiences to our communities.
Families and their communities foster a child's academic and social and emotional development and growth. As such, collaborative partnerships among schools, families, and community organizations are crucial to student engagement and success. One way for schools to form partnerships with parents and guardians of English Learners (ELs) is to establish English Learner Parent Advisory Councils (ELPACs) to promote and support the success of ELs.
Refugee and Immigrant Families
Massachusetts Attorney General's Advisory Regarding Equal Access to Public Education for All Students Irrespective of Immigration Status
Massachusetts Attorney General's Press Release Regarding Equal Access to Education Regardless of Immigration Status
MORI (Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants)
Educational Services for Immigrant Children and Those Recently Arrived to the United States
Educational Resources for Immigrants, Refugees, Asylees and other New Americans
Resource Guide: Supporting Undocumented Youth
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is committed to helping individuals and school districts resolve problems promptly. Laws exist to protect the rights of all students in the Commonwealth, and to ensure that all students receive equal educational opportunities.
DESE encourages schools and districts to take quick action to respond to questions and concerns about students' educational programs. Therefore, individuals with such concerns are encouraged to contact school district personnel (for example, the principal, superintendent of schools, or the administrator of special education) first to resolve the problem. However, individuals may ask DESE for assistance without speaking first with someone in the school or district.
Through its Problem Resolution System (PRS), DESE handles complaints that allege a public school or district is not meeting legal requirements for education. Anyone, including parents, students, educators, community members, and agency representatives, can contact PRS for assistance.
Contact Problem Resolution System at:
Problem Resolution System Office
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
TTY: N.E.T. Relay: 1-800-439-2370
For people who do not write or speak English, or are not comfortable communicating in English, DESE will make appropriate arrangements.
Last Updated: September 23, 2020