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Corpus Christi Independent School District


Chapter 2
Bilingual/ESL Programs

Bilingual /English as a Second Language (ESL) programs are mandated by federal and state laws. Bilingual/ESL programs are established to provide educational access to students whose first language is not English. Specifically, these programs are designed to assist limited English proficient (LEP) students in learning English. Exhibit 2-31 lists the basic components of the Texas Education Code related to Bilingual Education/ESL programs in the areas of required programming; curriculum; and student identification, assessment and classification.

Exhibit 2-31
The Texas Education Code and the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) as it
Relates to Bilingual Education and English as a Second Language Programs

Component Law Contents
Required Program Texas Education Code 29.053 Each district with an enrollment of 20 or more students of limited English proficiency in any language classification in the same grade level shall offer a bilingual or special language program. Bilingual education must be offered to students in kindergarten through the elementary grades; bilingual education, instruction in English as a second language, or other transitional language instruction must be offered to students in post-elementary through grade 8; and instruction in English as a second language must be offered to students in grades 9 through 12.
Curriculum Texas Education Code, 29.055 Bilingual education programs are full-time programs offering dual-language instruction, providing for both mastery of English language skills and basic skills in the native language of the students enrolled in the program. English as a second language programs are programs of intensive instruction in English offered by teachers trained in recognizing and dealing with language differences
Identification, Assessment, and Classification Texas Education Code, 29.056 Criteria for identification, assessment, and classification of LEP may include:

(1) Results from a home language survey (available in both English and the home language) designed to determine the language normally used in the home and the language normally used by students. (2) Results of a TEA-approved English language proficiency test administered to all students identified through the home survey as speaking another language other than English. Students in kindergarten and grade 1 are administered an oral language proficiency test and students in grades 2 through 12 are administered an oral and written language proficiency test. (3) Results of a TEA approved proficiency test in the primary language of the students identified by the English language proficiency test as LEP. This test's purpose is to determine the level of primary language proficiency.

Source: Texas School Law Bulletin

CURRENT SITUATION

CCISD serves its LEP students through two programs, Bilingual Education and English as a Second Language. Bilingual Education is offered to LEP students speaking Spanish as their primary language in grades K-5, while ESL is offered to LEP students in grades 6-12; LEP students in grades K-5 whose parents refuse Bilingual Education services; and to LEP students in grades K-5 who speak a language other than Spanish.

In 1996-97, a home language survey was administered to students new to CCISD or previously enrolled but not surveyed. The survey in both English and Spanish, consisted of two questions: (1) What language is spoken in your home most of the time? (2) What language does your child speak most of the time? If parents responded with an answer of "English" to both these questions, no additional identification procedures took place.

Students in prekindergarten whose parents responded to either survey question with a language other than English were given the English Pre-Idea Proficiency Test (Pre-IPT). The score on the Pre-IPT determines both the classification of a student as LEP/non-LEP and the student's proficiency level in English.

Students in kindergarten and grade 1 who required additional assessment were given the English Idea Test (IPT-1). As in the case with the Pre-IPT, the score in the IPT-1 determined both the student's classification and proficiency level in English.

Students in grades 2 through 5 requiring additional assessment also were given the IPT-1. IPT-1 scores were used in conjunction with the Iowa Test of Basic Skills or the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) to determine student's status as LEP. Students who scored below the 40th percentile rank on either the reading or language arts subtests of the ITBS or the CTBS were classified as LEP.

FINDING

The U.S. Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Language Affairs (OBEMLA) administers programs authorized by Title VII of the Bilingual Education Act. OBEMLA funds several types of discretionary grants, some for direct instructional services by local school districts. In 1994-95, CCISD applied for and obtained a Title VII grant for $160,000. This grant funded the Newcomers Center housed at Martin Middle School, a program for monolingual middle school students who speak a language other than English. For 1997-98 the district wrote a Title VII continuation grant in the category Program Enhancement Project Grants to continue funding the Newcomers Center. If awarded, this grant would be funded for two years.

The success rate of students in the Newcomer Center is high. During 1996-97 school year, 63 students were enrolled in the Newcomer Center program. Of these, 37 progressed to an intermediate level of English language proficiency and 18 of the remaining 26 made moderate gains. In addition, the principal at Martin Middle School, which houses the center, schedules Newcomer Center students to attend mathematics class with a teacher in the regular education program. Therefore, Newcomer Center students are exposed to other students and Martin Middle School assists in financing the center.

COMMENDATION

CCISD's Newcomer Center at Martin Middle School is successfully helping bilingual and ESL students become proficient in English.

FINDING

In 1997, the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) conducted a routine review of CCISD's Bilingual Education /ESL program. OCR identified a number of deficiencies in the program that could rise to the level of discrimination against LEP students if not remedied promptly and appropriately. Exhibit 2-32 lists OCR's findings, the district's action plan in response to the finding, and the due date of the district response.

Exhibit 2-32
OCR Finding, CCISD Response and Initial Deadline for Completion

OCR FINDING CCISD Response Deadline
Identification    
Home Language Survey questions are not sufficiently broad for adequate identification. Home Language Survey will be revised to include more questions. June 30, 1997
Assessment    
Failure to assess the area of writing may not ensure that all Limited English Proficient students are identified in grades 2-5. A writing assessment will be included in the initial assessment for Limited English Proficient students. June 30, 1997
No districtwide, uniform supervised training on the administration of language proficiency tests. Districtwide training will be conducted for campus personnel in the administration of assessment instruments. Oct. 30, 1997
Placement    
No alternative language services for Limited English Proficient students whose parents deny services. Campuses will develop Individual Language Development Plans for denied students. Jan. 30, 1998
Limited English Proficient students placed in the Student Learning and Guidance Center or Teenage Mothers School not provided with an alternative language program (ALP). Documentation will be gathered showing type of services and the number of qualified teachers delivering these services. Oct. 30, 1997
Program Design and Delivery    
Limited English Proficient students often not receiving language assistance in core academic areas. Remediation of academic deficiencies incurred by exited Limited English Proficient students. Jan. 30, 1998
No English as a Second Language curriculum for elementary grades. Bilingual Education/English as a Second Language curriculum will be developed and modified for grades 1 through 12. June 30, 1997
Exiting Limited English Proficient Students and Monitoring    
Exiting procedures do not objectively address four language modalities (speaking, understanding, reading, and writing). Use of language proficiency tests to ensure that students exiting the program can read, write, speak, and comprehend English. Jan. 30, 1998
Many Limited English Proficient students are exited and reentered in CCISD's ALP program several times during their school career. Close monitoring of exited Limited English Proficient students to determine if remediation of core subject deficiencies is needed. Jan. 30, 1998
Limited English Proficient Students with Disabilities    
Assessment of language proficiency for students whose home language is other than English prior to assessment for special education does not include the four language modalities. A current objective assessment of proficiency in English and in the primary home language of all students whose home language is other than English prior to or upon referral for special education. Oct. 30, 1997
Limited English Proficient Students and Special Programs    
Notification of gifted/talented (G/T) program to parents provided only in English. Provide information to Limited English Proficient parents about G/T program in language they understand. Oct. 30, 1997
Assessment instruments for G/T program administered only in English. Select assessment instruments for G/T that do not discriminate against Limited English Proficient students. Oct. 30, 1997
Staffing and Staff Development    
Lack of qualified staff assigned to Bilingual Education and English as a Second Language programs (particularly at the secondary level). Current teachers fully endorsed by 1999-2000. New teachers trained and endorsed within four year period. Oct. 30, 1997
Training for Bilingual Education /English as a Second Language teachers not consistent nor adequately tracked. Annual training will be conducted for all bilingual/ESL, core subject area special education teachers and all administrators. Appropriate documentation will be kept. June 30, 1998
Teacher aides not screened to ensure they can read, write, and speak both languages of instruction. Assess teacher aides to determine if they have appropriate skills in speaking, reading, and writing both languages of instruction. June 30, 1998
Lack of special education teachers who are bilingual. An annual training program will be conducted for special education teachers on English as a Second Language methodologies. June 30, 1998
Program Evaluation    
Lack of longitudinal evaluation regarding Limited English Proficient students progress or lack of progress. Longitudinal program evaluation designed Oct. 30 1997

Source: OCR letter to superintendent (06965008); CCISD's response to OCR (April 14, 1997); CCISD Action Plan of the Services Delivery Program for Language Minority Children (March 24, 1997)

The Bilingual Education/ESL program's action plan describes methods used to evaluate the Bilingual Education/ESL program. These include longitudinal studies and a review of curriculum, services delivery, materials and resources, staffing, training of teachers, and student progress.

Exhibits 2-33 and 2-34 show the percentage of Hispanic students, LEP students, and Bilingual Education/ESL students for CCISD, the state, the peer districts, and the nine largest urban districts in Texas. CCISD ranks fifth in the percent of Hispanic students enrolled compared to peer districts and fourth in among to urban districts.

Exhibit 2-33
CCISD, Texas, and Peer Districts Percent Of Hispanic Students,
Percent Of LEP Students, and Bilingual Education/ESL Students
1995-96

DISTRICT % HISPANIC %LEP %BE/ESL
Laredo 98.1 55.6 51.4
Brownsville 96.7 47.1 39.5
McAllen 86.7 34.9 30.8
Ysleta 84.6 22.9 21.4
Pasadena 51.3 19.9 18.4
Aldine 40.4 18.7 16.8
Fort Worth 36.4 18.3 14.9
Ector County 48.8 15.5 12.5
Texas 36.7 12.8 11.3
Corpus Christi 67.7 5.6 5.0
Northside 50.0 4.7 3.7

Source: AEIS

Exhibit 2-34
Percent Bilingual (BE)/English as a Second Language (ESL) Students in
CCISD, Texas and Nine Urban School Districts

District % HISPANIC %LEP % BE/ESL
McAllen 86.7 34.9 30.8
El Paso 75.6 30.5 24.3
Dallas 43.4 27.5 26.2
Houston 50.8 27.2 23.3
Fort Worth 36.4 18.3 18.4
San Antonio 83.1 16.3 13.6
Austin 40.3 13.8 11.8
Texas 36.7 12.8 11.3
Corpus Christi 67.7 5.6 5.0
Northside 50.0 4.7 3.7
Lubbock 39.1 4.0 2.7

Source: AEIS

CCISD has a relatively low percentage of students identified as limited English proficient (LEP) and those enrolled in Bilingual Education/ESL programs compared to peers and urban districts. Yet a review of the 1990 Census information indicates that about half of the Corpus Christi population speak a language other than English at home.

Identification of LEP students begins with screening all students to identify those who come from a language background other than English. This is a critical step since children not identified receive no additional assessment. As already noted, CCISD's Home Language Survey is limited to two questions, one asking the language spoken in the home most of the time and the other asking the language spoken by the child most of the time. These two questions are not sufficient to screen LEP students since the presence of only one person in the home speaking a language other than English can influence a child's language-use patterns.

CCISD's response to the OCR monitoring visit includes four items that will be included on their revised Home Language Survey. These four items pertain to whether a student: "1) first learned a language other than English, 2) can speak or understand a language other than English (unless learned in the academic setting), 3) lives with someone who speaks a language other than English, and 4) has a parent or guardian who requests or requires to communicate with the District in a language other than English (CCISD response to the OCR, April 14, 1997)." While these additional items are excellent, there are still no procedures in place for obtaining information from parents who may be nonliterate or speak a language other than English or Spanish.

Recommendation 16:

Develop a detailed long-range strategic plan to modify the identification, assessment, and classification of all LEP students.

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE

1. The coordinator of bilingual ESL reviews and evaluates the current action plan to meet the requirements of the OCR recommendations.
October 1997-December 1997
2. The coordinator of bilingual education/ESL and the director of Management Information and Operations presents suggested modifications to the executive director of Instruction and Special Programs.
October 1997-December 1997
3. The Division of Instruction and Operations along with experts in bilingual/ESL develop a long-range strategic plan to improve the bilingual education/ESL program.
October 1997-December 1997
4. The coordinator of Bilingual/ESL reviews other home surveys and best practices in bilingual education.
October 1997-December 1997
5. The coordinator of Bilingual/ESL redesigns the Home Survey. January 1998-April 1998

FISCAL IMPACT

This recommendation can be accomplished with existing resources.

FINDING

An additional OCR finding indicated that many of CCISD's special education teachers who serve LEP students with disabilities only speak English. CCISD pledged that by June 30, 1998, special education teachers will be trained in classroom techniques and methodologies for second language learners. While this response addresses one facet of the problem, it does not take into consideration the high incidence of monolingual English speaking special education teachers.

CCISD has 418 special education students who are also LEP (18.6 percent of all LEP students). Three hundred forty or 93 percent of these students are being served in alternative language programs. CCISD has 48 monolingual English-speaking special education teachers who provide services to LEP students with disabilities; 29 of these teachers have paraprofessionals assigned to them, but only 15 paraprofessionals speak Spanish.

Recommendation 17:

Recruit additional special education-certified bilingual teachers to fill existing positions.

To attract teachers to this program, teachers who have special education certification and are bilingual and who serve LEP students with disabilities should be paid an annual stipend of $500. CCISD should enter into a collaborative relationship with local universities (such as Corpus Christi University and Kingsville A&M University) to recruit these individuals or retrain existing teachers.

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE

1. The coordinator of BE/ESL and the director of special education determines the number of additional bilingual certified special education teachers needed.
October 1997-December 1997
2. The coordinator of BE/ESL and the director of special education contact local universities and develop collaborative relationships with them. Stipends are offered to special education teachers meeting the criteria. January 1998-April 1998

FISCAL IMPACT

The estimate is based on a stipend of $500 per year for 80 teachers in the first two years of implementation beginning in 1998-99; 90 teachers in the third year; and 100 teachers in the fourth year.

Recommendation 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02
Increase the number of special education-certified/bilingual education teachers. $0 ($40,000) ($40,000) ($45,000) ($50,000)

FINDING

CCISD offers a program for students who are identified as gifted and talented. The Gifted and Talented (G/T) program consists of three levels: the NOVA program for students in Kindergarten, the Athena program for students in grades 1 through 8, and the Laureate program for students in grades 9 through 12. According to the OCR report, in 1996-97, CCISD's G/T program had only six students who are also classified as LEP; none of these were in the Athena program, which is a self-contained program offered on a separate campus.

CCISD's G/T program uses three standardized measures, and teacher and parental nominations, to identify students as gifted. The three standardized measures are the reading and math percentile rank on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test. While no definite number was available, district officials said they have tests in Spanish and administer them upon request.

Scores on these measures are compared to a cut-off score. For non-minority students, the cut-off is a 94th percentile rank; for minority students the cut-off is an 86th percentile rank. This procedure was developed as a result of the court decision in the desegregation suit. While the differential in cut-off scores has assisted the district in establishing a more equitable program in terms of majority/minority enrollment, it has not benefited LEP students since all measures are typically administered in English.

Recommendation 18:

Redesign identification procedures used for the gifted and talented program.

New procedures should include: training for all regular education teachers on the characteristics of gifted LEP students and redesigning the teacher nomination form to allow for these characteristic, and including a nonverbal assessment instrument in the identification of G/T students.

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE

1. The coordinator of bilingual education/ESL, the director of Academics, and the coordinator of Staff Development develop a short training video for regular education teachers on characteristics of gifted LEP students.
October 1997-December 1997
2. The director of management information and operations, the director of Academics, the principal of Windsor Park, and selected teachers and central administrators develop a new G/T identification plan that includes a nonverbal measure.
October 1997-February 1998
3. The Office of Management Information and Operations develops an evaluation plan for the new identification process. July 1998-three years

FISCAL IMPACT

This recommendation could be accomplished with existing resources.

FINDING

One of OCR's major findings concerned the training of Bilingual Education /ESL program staff. Specifically, OCR stated that "The majority of the available training is optional and is not required for even the teachers participating in the alternative language program."

CCISD has not applied for or received a personnel training grant. There are some federal grants available that are designed specifically to increase the supply of teacher and educational personnel trained to serve LEP students.

Many of these grants are for districtwide programs offered through Region Education Service Centers. Often these grants can be used to pay for training of bilingual/ESL teachers, assessment personnel, and teacher assistants as well as core subject special education teachers, and administrators.

Recommendation 19:

CCISD should seek out and apply for grants to assist in complying with OCR findings.

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE

1. The coordinator of bilingual education/ESL researches available grants and decides which grant to seek.
October 1997-December 1997
2. The coordinator of bilingual education/ESL, with the assistance of other personnel in the Office of Grants and Special Programs, writes the grants. January 1998-April 1998

FISCAL IMPACT

This recommendation could be accomplished with existing resources.

FINDING

One of OCR's recommendations concerns the training of Bilingual Education /ESL teachers. Over the last two years, the Office of Grants and Special Programs has offered training to the Bilingual Education teachers through a one-day Bilingual Education Conference. The second annual conference was held on November 23, 1996. The 1997 conference was aimed at elementary Bilingual Education/ESL teachers (Pre-K through grade 5) and the focus was on curriculum as it relates to the district's academic standards and classroom supplementary resource materials and activities.

CCISD's Office of Grants and Special Programs funds the conference. Most of the budget pays for teachers' stipends, however, a significant amount of time and energy is expended developing and planning the conference. With 17 school districts in and around CCISD, many of which are too small to develop programs of their own, there is an opportunity here for CCISD to share their knowledge with these districts and offset some of the expenses involved in the conference.

Recommendation 20:

Invite teachers from other districts to participate in CCISD's Bilingual Education conference.

Teachers from other districts should be charged for attending the conference. CCISD Bilingual Education /ESL teachers should be required to attend the conference.

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE

1. The coordinator of bilingual education/ESL and the assistant superintendent of Business and Administration develops a method to charge teachers from other districts to attend the conference.
October 1997-December 1997
2. The Coordinator of Bilingual Education/ESL advertises the conference to attract other attendees. March 1998-September 1998

FISCAL IMPACT

Based on an estimated fee of $100 per teacher over and above the cost of materials provided, from other districts to attend the conference and an assumed 75 teachers attending, the district would net $7,500 to offset the cost of planning and developing the conference.

Recommendation 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02
Invite teachers from other districts to CCISD's Bilingual Education conference. $0 $7,500 $7,500 $7,500 $7,500


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