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Language Instruction Educational Program Plan

Colorado districts, schools, and public charter schools must appropriately identify Multilingual Learners (MLs), analyze multilingual learner performance, and implement and evaluate evidence-based Language Instruction Educational Programs (LIEPs). Most districts, schools, and public charter schools use a combination of approaches, adapting their instructional model to the size and needs of their ML population. An effective LIEP plan needs to be comprehensive and to ensure its ongoing value, it needs to be viewed by district, school, and public charter school staff as containing useful information.

Key Points of Providing LIEPs from the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) and the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ):

  • ML instruction and programs must be educationally sound in theory and effective in practice (Castañeda standard)
  • ML programs must be designed to enable MLs to attain both English proficiency and parity of participation in the standard instructional program within a reasonable length of time
  • Districts must offer ML instruction and programs, until MLs are proficient in English and can participate meaningfully in educational programs without ML support
  • Additionally, districts must provide appropriate special education services to MLs with disabilities who are found to be eligible for special education and related services

Castañeda v. Pickard, include a three-pronged test: First, is the program based on an educational theory recognized as sound by some experts in the field or considered a legitimate experimental strategy. Second, are the programs and practices (including resources and personnel) reasonably calculated to implement this theory effectively. Third, does the program succeed in producing results indicating that students’ language barriers are being overcome within a reasonable period of time. More information about the Castañeda standard can be found in the 2015 Dear Colleague Letter or landmark court rulings regarding multilingual learners.

The LIEP plan should contain enough detail and specificity so that each staff person can understand how the plan is to be implemented and should contain the procedural guidance and forms they need to use to carry out their responsibilities under the plan.   The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) reports that LIEP Plans are most useful when they contain sufficient detail to fully inform staff of each action step in the plan. Many districts, schools, and public charter schools have found that it is useful, when developing or revising plans, to establish a committee or work group that includes administrators, teachers (both ML program teachers and regular classroom teachers), educational assistants, school counselors, and other staff who work with the district’s ML student population.

The district, school, and public charter school may also want to include parents, students, or community representatives who work with the same students in other settings. By working with a group that includes these stakeholders, the district, school, and public charter school can receive more comprehensive input from those whose support and efforts may be important to the success of ML programs. Inclusive approaches in program design and development tend to promote overall community awareness and support and can draw upon valuable resources during program evaluation and program improvement activities. To create an effective District LIEP Plan the following components should be considered:

  • ML student demographic information (include growth patterns and trends if possible)
  • Assessment matrix for MLs
  • Instructional program and educational approaches for MLs
  • Scheduling guide for service (service delivery plan)
  • Special populations: Migrant, Native American, Gifted Education, or Special Education
  • Research based instructional strategies/programs
  • Redesignation, monitoring and exiting criteria and procedures
  • Interventions
  • Professional development
  • Parent involvement
  • Language performance data and goals
  • Program evaluation