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English Learners Program

English Learners are students who come from non-English speaking homes and who are learning English. There are about 70,400 students classified as English Learners (ELs) at CPS.

When your student is enrolled in a CPS school for the first time, you are given a Home Language Survey to complete. The Home Language Survey, or HLS, asks two questions:

  • Is a language other than English spoken in your home?
  • Does your student speak a language other than English?

The answers given on the HLS are used to decide whether or not the student is screened for admittance into a program for ELs. Students who must be screened are given a test of their English language proficiency level in some or all of the following categories: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The categories for which they are tested depend on the student’s age and grade level.

If, based on the test score, your student is considered an EL, your student will then be placed into a Transitional Bilingual Education Program or a Transitional Program of Instruction. Both ELs and native-English speaking students also have the option to enroll in a Dual Language Program if positions are available.

Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE)

Schools with 20 or more ELs who speak the same home language are required to provide a Transitional Bilingual Education Program. ELs in TBE Programs must receive instruction in all of the following areas:

  • Language Arts in the home language
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction to help develop students’ English language proficiency
  • Core subjects (math, science, social science) provided in both English and the native language
  • Instruction in U.S. history and culture
  • Instruction in the history and culture of the native land of the ELs (or of their parents)
  • All instruction provided in English must include supports and modifications that are appropriate for the EL’s level of English language proficiency

Transitional Program of Instruction (TPI)

Schools with 19 or fewer ELs who speak the same home language are required to provide a Transitional Program of Instruction. This includes schools in which there are more than 19 total ELs, but less than 19 who speak any one language. ELs in TPI Programs must receive instruction in all of the following areas:

  • English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction to help develop students’ English language proficiency
  • Core subjects (math, science, social science) provided in English
  • Instruction in U.S. history and culture
  • Instruction in the history and culture of the native land of the ELs (or of their parents)
  • All instruction provided in English must include supports and modifications that are appropriate for the EL’s level of English Language Proficiency
  • If a teacher, assistant, or tutor is available who speaks the EL’s home language, the school may provide support in the home language to the extent possible

Learn More

For more information about programs for English Learners and to participate in all programs, events, and activities within CPS, contact your local school.

Language and Cultural Education

773-553-1930

773-553-1931 (Fax)

OLCE@cps.edu

42 W. Madison St.
Chicago, IL 60602