ACCESS for English Learners (ELs) is a federally mandated test for English Learners. 

The assessment schedule for 2017-18 SY is available here. PowerPoint from ACCESS 2.0 Online Coordinator Training is available here.

For all required actions related to ACCESS Testing, please download the 11/27/17 memo here.

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On this page you will find federal, state and local policies relevant to English Learners.

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I. Federal Policies

1. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VI, 42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq. was enacted as part of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin by recipients of federal financial assistance. The Title VI regulatory requirements have been interpreted to prohibit denial of equal access to education because of a language minority student’s limited proficiency in English.

2. Lau v. Nichols (1974)

The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the need for school districts to take steps to help limited-English proficient (LEP) students overcome language barriers and to ensure that they can participate meaningfully in the district’s educational programs.

The Court ruled that school districts must provide special services to English Language Learners (ELLs) so that they have equal educational opportunities. ELLs need language programs that allow them to progress academically while they acquire English language skills. There are several different program models; however, all include both academic content and English language development.

3. Castaneda v. Pickard (1981)

Castaneda requires programs that educate children with limited English proficiency to be i. Based on Sound educational theory; ii. Adequately supported, with adequate and effective staff and resources, so that the program has a realistic chance of success; and iii. Periodically evaluated and, if necessary revisited.

4. Plyler v. Doe (1982)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits states from denying a free public education to undocumented immigrant children. Public schools and school personnel are prohibited from adopting policies of taking actions that would deny students access to education based on their immigration status.

For the LeGare Advocacy Process, ELs Rostering Guidelines and more procedures:


II. State Policies

1. Basic Education Circular 22 Pa. Code §4.26 – Educating English Learners (ELs)

The purpose of this circular is to provide local education agencies (LEAs), such as The School District of Philadelphia, with requirements and interpretations of the legal mandates governing the education of students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP), also known as English Learners (ELs).

2. Basic Education Circular 24 P.S. §13-1301 – §13-1306 – Enrollment of Students

Refer to this circular to learn more about the enrollment process. On page 3, you can find the items which may not be requested (as a social security number, a child’s or parent’s visa, or agency records). A child’s right to be admitted to school may not be conditioned on the child’s immigration status. A school may not inquire regarding the immigration status of a student as part of the admissions process.

3. Basic Education Circular 42 U.S.C. §11431 – Education for Homeless Youth

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III. Local Policies

1. The School District of Philadelphia’s Language Policy

The School District of Philadelphia is committed to providing a quality and equitable educational program for all students. The School District of Philadelphia works to implement an appropriate and planned instructional program for identified students whose dominant language is not English.

2. Y.S. Stipulation (1985)

The Y.S. Stipulation required appropriate and adequate instruction and support services to ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students with the purpose of ensuring equitable access to educational opportunities for English Language Learners (ELLs).

3. Policy 102

It is a policy of the School District of Philadelphia to foster knowledge of, and to respect, those of all races, ethnic groups, social classes, genders, religions, disabilities, sexual orientations (perceived or known) and gender identities (perceived or known).

4. Policy 138 – Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students

The Board of Education recognized the growing number of immigrant/refugee students and reaffirmed its commitment to provide equal educational opportunities to Limited English Proficient (LEP) students. (Adopted, December 17, 1990)

Last modified: September 15, 2017