Multilingual Curriculum and Programs

The District provides multiple programs to more than 22,000 English Learners (ELs).

Multilingual Curriculum and Programs

The Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs (OMCP) works with over 22,000 English Learners who represent more than 130 countries and speak more than 100 home languages.

Families can utilize this website to learn more about the different programs and opportunities offered for multilingual students and families, and to get assistance with any District-related questions or processes.

English as a Second Language (ESL) Program

The ESL program helps English Learners (ELs) improve their proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing in English. The goal is to provide ELs with social and academic language skills as well as cultural aspects of English that are necessary for career and college readiness.

The District’s ESL programs are rigorous, student-centered, and research-based. This combination best promotes academic literacy. To effectively teach language through academic content, ESL teachers and classroom teachers work and plan together. The curriculum is aligned to the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s English Language Development (ELD) Standards and Common Core State Standards

Eligibility & Enrollment

  • When every new student enrolls with the School District, they must fill out the home language survey. The home language survey is used to assess whether or not the student may be eligible for ESL services.
    • If the home language survey indicates that a language other than English is spoken at home, schools will utilize the English Learner Identification Procedure to determine if a student should be identified as an English Learner and placed into ESL programming.
    • The English Learner Identification Procedure is a multi-faceted process that uses a number of steps to help assess a student’s English proficiency, including a parent interview, reviewing past academic records, and potentially, administering an English Language Screener.
    • If a student is determined to be an English Learner, a letter, called the English Learner Entry Letter, will be sent home to their family. While English Learner status is dependent upon the Identification Procedure, parents may choose to opt out of any or all ESL services.
  • Information about enrollment can be found HERE. If you need help with enrollment, please click on the MAC section below! Our team has dedicated resources to help you.

Dual Language (Bilingual) Programs

Dual Language programs provide literacy and content instruction through two languages. These programs promote bilingualism and biliteracy, grade level academic achievement, and multicultural competence for all students. Currently, our Dual Language programs provide Spanish/English bilingual education.

Goals: Students of the Dual Language program will…

  • Become bilingual and biliterate in English and Spanish (defined as demonstrating proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking in both languages).
  • Meet grade-level academic content standards and in all subject areas, as defined by the Common Core Standards.
  • Develop cross-cultural and cross-linguistic competence (making the culture of the classroom inclusive of all students and building on students’ cultural and linguistic resources).

How does it work?

Students are exposed to both languages in a logical way, according to the program model implemented in the school.


  • Students develop full oral, reading and writing fluency in two languages.
  • Students achieve at similar or higher levels academically than their peers who are studying only one language.
  • Students develop positive attitudes about languages and cultures as well as positive attitudes about themselves.

Schools that Offer Dual Language Programs

  • Alexander McClure Elementary School
  • Bayard Taylor Elementary School
  • Cayuga Elementary School
  • Gloria Casarez Elementary School (SY23-24)
  • Hon. Luis Munoz Marin Elementary School
  • Lewis Elkin Elementary School
  • Southwark Elementary School
  • William Cramp Elementary School

How Families Can Apply

  1.  Students enrolling from within catchment can enter the program in any of the offering schools in Kindergarten or 1st grade upon registration (Online Registration, or a Paper Application completed at the school connected to their home address). Students enrolling from outside of the catchment area can apply to the program at the Multilingual Assessment Center (MAC), but transportation may not be provided.
  2. If applying for the program in grades 2-8, students must take a diagnostic language test to ensure they meet the requirements for admission. This test is administered at the school by the Dual Language Point Person.
  3. Students and families must commit to the program for 6 years (Grades K -5)
  4. Students must maintain 90% attendance

Newcomer Learner Academy (NLA)

The Newcomer Learner Academy (NLA) provides an accelerated course of study that also acclimates students to a U.S. school and classrooms.

  • The NLA is for students ages 14 – 20 (in grades 9-12) who recently arrived to the United States and who demonstrate beginning levels of English language proficiency (i.e., 1.0-1.9).
  • Courses embed literacy and language learning with content instruction in English Language Arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
  • Students are supported so that they are able and expected to learn standards-based content and actively participate in their learning.
  • For students with interruptions or gaps in formal education, additional support is provided through specialized coursework in literacy


Your student’s English as a Second Language teacher and school point of contact (EL Point) will submit an application for your student if they believe that they will benefit from the Newcomer Learning Academy program.

Additionally, feel free to contact your school’s EL Point if you believe your student would benefit from the Newcomer Learning Academy program, or if you have any questions about the application process.

Newcomer Summer Program 

The Newcomer Summer Program is a summer program specifically designed for students who moved to the United States within the last year, and have limited English proficiency. Application information and specific program locations will be shared each Spring.

Seal of Biliteracy

  • What it is: The Seal of Biliteracy is an Award for 11th and 12th grade students who are proficient in two or more languages (one of the languages being English). The Seal of Biliteracy allows students to receive recognition for their language proficiency in both taught and untaught languages, i.e. home and community languages.
  • How does it work?: In order to receive the Seal of Biliteracy, students must submit the Student Application in the Fall. Each school’s Seal of Biliteracy lead will share application information with students. After submitting their application, students must work with their school’s Seal of Biliteracy Lead to register for the appropriate language tests. Students who demonstrate proficiency in both English (through prior or current year test scores) and additional language(s) will receive their Seal of Biliteracy Award(s) in the Spring or the following Fall.

Note: Students are not limited to earning the Seal of Biliteracy in only one additional language. We have had students earn multiple Seals to recognize their proficiency in three or more languages!

Multilingual Assessment Center (MAC)

The MAC is a family help center, dedicated to helping our multilingual students and families navigate the School District’s transcript, assessment, and credit processes.

What We Do

  • Update EL Status (Flagging) in the Student Management System
  • Support schools with transcript evaluation
  • Facilitate student placement for Newcomer Learning Academy
  • Process ESL non-program transfers

How to Contact the MAC

Phone: 215-400-4240 (Option 1)
Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm, Monday – Friday
440 N. Broad Street, 1st Floor, Portal C – Suite 1058

Translation and interpretation will be provided to all who need those services


Policy 138 guides the English Language Development and Bilingual Education programs in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP). SDP shall provide a culturally and linguistically appropriate planned instructional program for English Learners (ELs), which builds on students’ home language and culture. ELs shall be identified, assessed and provided an equal opportunity to participate in instructional programs with equal access to educational programs and extracurricular activities. Policy 138 contains the following components:

    • Identification, Placement, and Notification
    • Programming
    • Equitable Access
    • Evaluation and Accountability
    • Parent, Family, and Community Engagement

Community Meetings

The Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs hosts an annual community meeting to receive community feedback on and share key components of, Policy 138. This meeting is typically held each winter. RSVP information will be shared via email to Community Based Organizations, the FACE Family Newsletter, and on this site.

In response to the feedback we received during the Community Meeting, we create a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Document. The SY22-23 Policy 138 FAQ Document can be found here (translated).

For more information, please contact the Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs at

Have additional feedback? Fill out our anonymous form here.

How to reach us

To reach the contacts at various OMCP offices, click HERE, or submit your question using the options below.