English Learners Program

English Language Education for Students with Limited English Proficiency

Westfield Public Schools strive to provide a successful English Learner Education program that ensures ELs learn English, have access to rigorous academic content, and meet the same challenging expectations for college and career held for all Massachusetts students.  

The district administers several tests to screen, track, and evaluate ELs’ growth in both English proficiency and academic achievement.


ACCESS for ELLs is the annual state English language proficiency assessment administered to English Learners in grades K-12 to monitor students’ progress in acquiring academic English.  The test is typically administered on the computer in January/February. The scores produced by ACCESS will identify which proficiency level an EL has achieved at the time of the assessment.  A score report for parents is generated, translated, and sent home to parents. A student’s performance on the ACCESS test helps teachers determine which ESL class a student should take. When a student achieves an overall score at the level of 4.7, the ESL Department will determine whether the student is ready to be exited from the EL program.  

Proficiency Levels






Knows and uses minimal social language and minimal academic language with visual support.



Knows and uses some social English and general academic language with visual support.



Knows and uses social English with some specific academic language with visual support.



Knows and uses social English and some technical academic language.



Knows and uses social English and academic language working with modified grade level material.



Knows and uses social and academic language at the highest level measured by ACCESS test.

For further information about ACCESS testing, please visit http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/access/ .

Westfield Public Schools uses Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) program as the type of instruction provided for ELs.

“Sheltered English immersion'' is defined in G.L. c. 71A as “an English language acquisition process for young children in which nearly all classroom instruction is in English but with the curriculum and presentation designed for children who are learning the language. Books and instruction materials are in English and all reading, writing, and subject matter are taught in English. Although teachers may use a minimal amount of the child's native language when necessary, no subject matter shall be taught in any language other than English, and children in this program learn to read and write solely in English.”

Students identified as levels 1-2 receive two to three periods of ESL; students identified as levels 3-5 receive at least one period of ESL instruction. Level 6 students are monitored, which means there is a structured collaboration between the ESL teacher, mainstream teachers, administration, and families to ensure the EL’s success in all academic areas.