South Pasadena Unified School District

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English Learner Services

The objective for our English Learner (EL) students is that they will develop proficiency in English as rapidly and effectively as possible and they will keep up academically with their English Only peers.  We provide English Language Development (Language Acquisition) instruction and access to the District's challenging core curriculum to all English Language Learners

SPUSD has a dual obligation to our EL students.  First, to provide meaningful access to grade-level academic content via appropriate instruction and second, to develop academic English language proficiency.

How are students identified as English Learners? 

California requires all parents to complete a Home Language Survey when registering children for school. The survey asks:

  1. What language did this student learn when first beginning to talk?
  2. What language do you use most frequently to speak to this student?
  3. What language does this student most frequently use at home?
  4. What language do adults speak at home most often?

If the answer to the first three questions on the survey is a language other than English, the child must take the Initial English Language Proficiency Assessment for California (ELPAC).  The results of the ELPAC are used to determine English language proficiency. By law, a parent cannot opt their child out of this testing. 

What is the ELPAC?

The ELPAC is the assessment that is used to measure how well students in kindergarten (K) through grade twelve understand English when it is not their primary language. Information from the ELPAC helps your child’s teacher provide support in listening, speaking, reading, and writing.


INITIAL ELPAC: The Initial ELPAC is used to identify students as being either an English learner (EL) or initial fluent English proficient (IFEP). The Initial Assessment is administered only once during a student’s time in the California public school system, based on the results of the home language survey. The Initial ELPAC must be administered within 30-days of a new student entering a California school. Student Score Reports are mailed home to parents and are available in Aeries.

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT: The ELPAC Summative Assessment is given only to students who have previously been identified as an EL based on the Initial Assessment results, in order to measure how well they are progressing with English development in each of the four domains (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). The results are used as one of four criteria to determine if the student is ready to be reclassified as fluent English proficient, to help inform proper educational placement, and to report progress.

How Can I Help My Child Get Ready for the ELPAC?

You are an important part of your child’s education. Some things you can do to help your child are:

  • Read to your child, or have your child read to you, on a regular basis.
  • Use pictures and ask your child to tell you what they see in the picture or what is happening in the picture.
  • Provide your child with opportunities to use language outside of school.
  • Talk with your child’s teacher about your child’s listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills to help support your child’s progress.
  • Take a Practice Test to become familiar with the student testing interface.
  • Review the ELPAC Parent Guide.

What services are available to help students learn English as a Second language?

English Language Development (ELD) is a specific method of teaching English to build vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency in the English language. Classroom teachers work with groups of students who have limited English language proficiency as appropriate to each child’s level of proficiency. 

All classroom teachers in SPUSD are required to have special training to meet the needs of English learners in their regular education classes. This training includes research-based information about the needs of their students learning English as a second language, as well as strategies to assist students in understanding the content they are learning in academic coursework.