English as a New Language (ENL)

ENL Department

(518) 458-1440

ENL student wearing Chinese dragon maskThe South Colonie Central School District’s English as a New Language (ENL) program provides instructional support to English Language Learners (ELLs), or students whose primary language is not English, and who demonstrate eligibility for ENL services. The district’s five ENL instructors at the elementary, middle school and high school levels provide instructional support to about 135 students from 21 different countries. These students’ native languages include Amharic, Arabic, Albanian, Bosnian, Chinese, Dari, Farsi, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Nepali, Pashto, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Telugu, Ukranian, Urdu and Vietnamese. The goal of the ESL program is provide the necessary language and academic support to English Language Learners in order for them to meet the demands of the South Colonie curricula and the Common Core Learning Standards.

New York State ENL requirements

ENL regulations require school districts in New York to:

  • Use a four-step process to identify ELLs, which includes administering a home language questionnaire, interviewing the incoming student, administering the state’s identification test for ELLs and determining if the student has a disability that would affect the student’s ability to become proficient in English.
  • Use only “qualified personnel” to identify students as ELLs. In general, qualified personnel are defined as bilingual or English as a New Language (ENL) teachers or teachers trained in cultural competency, language development and the needs of ELLs.
  • Place students in appropriate programs within 10 days of initiating the ELL identification process.
  • Offer a bilingual education program if there are 20 or more ELLs district-wide in the same grade level who speak the same language.
  • Offer two different types of bilingual programs depending on the students’ English language proficiency. Guidance from the New York State Education Department (SED) specifies how many minutes of stand-alone English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction districts must provide on a weekly basis to ELLs versus the required time for integrating ESL instruction into regular English Language Arts, math, science or social studies classes.
  • Offer ELL programs that include students from no more than two contiguous grades.
  • Provide “program continuity,” meaning if at least 15 ELLs who speak the same language were enrolled in an ELL program the previous school year, that program must continue to be offered.
  • Track the progress of ELL students and provide additional supports to those who are not demonstrating adequate progress.
  • Provide three different ways for a student to exit out of an ELL program. 
  • Provide at least two years of designated academic support to students who exit out of the ELL status.
  • Meet with ELL parents/guardians at least once a year to discuss students’ academic progress, English language proficiency test results and language development needs. This meeting must be in addition to regular parental meetings (such as parent-teacher conferences).
  • Provide parent notifications and communications in the language best understood by the ELL parent or guardian.
  • Provide appropriate accommodations to students with disabilities if it’s determined that a disability affects a pupil’s ability to become proficient in English.
  • Focus professional development on the needs of ELLs. Specifically, 15 percent of all required professional development hours for teachers and administrators must be related to language acquisition, including a focus on best practices for co-teaching strategies and integrating language and core content instruction for ELLs. Waivers may be permitted for districts whose ELL populations are less than 5 percent of total enrollments.

ENL links and resources for ENL teachers, parents and students

  • BrainPOP – BrainPOP creates animated, curriculum-based content that engages students, supports educators, and bolsters achievement
  • There are hundreds of free ESOL training classes hosted in public schools, government buildings, and places of worship and at community centers throughout the State, including at ONA Opportunity Centers. Some are run by trained teachers, others with volunteer tutors. ENL class list

  • EverythingESL.net – A great website for ENL teachers featuring teaching tips, lesson plans, other resources.
  • Bilingual Glossaries – This website from the New York State Department of Education provides links to a variety of bilingual glossaries. These glossaries provide support to teachers and students within specific content areas.
  • New York State English as a Second Language Test (NYSESLAT) – This website provides an overview of the annual achievement test for our ENL students. There is parent information about the test printed in various languages: English, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish.
  • Forms for Free and Reduced Lunch – This site provides links to lunch forms in many, many languages. Please contact us if you need help with the forms. They can be returned to any teacher, who will forward them to the correct person.
  • Vocabulary Games – This web site has many different games that will help ENL students gain English vocabulary.
  • English Club – This site has A LOT of different areas to explore. The best area for students is the game area. Hangman, matching and crosswords are just some of the games that will help students practice English. As you’ll see, the entry page to these games is very busy, in the visual sense. Younger students might need some help getting started.
  • Starfall – Starfall is a free public service to motivate children to read with phonics. Its systematic phonics approach, in conjunction with phonemic awareness practice, is perfect for English language development (ELD, ELL, ENL).
  • Teach Children ESL – A website created by a small group of teachers who want to help improve the professionalism of those who teach ENL to children.
  • Boggles World ENL – A great resource website of ENL teachers with amazing links.
  • Reading A-Z – A reading resource center for meeting the reading needs of a diverse student population.