Pennsylvania: ELL Resources

Map of Pennsylvania

As of the 2016-2017 school year, Pennsylvania’s schools were home to more than 56,000 English language learners. As of the 2014-2015 school year, the most common five languages spoken by ELLs in Pennsylvania were Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Nepali, and Vietnamese. (U.S. Dept. of Education, National Center for Education Statistics)

Pennsylvania is a member of WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment), joining in 2006. WIDA is a consortium of states dedicated to the design and implementation of high standards and equitable educational opportunities for English language learners which offers states programming for identifying and annually assessing the English language development of its English learners.


State ELL Resources

State Agency: Pennsylvania Department of Education

ELL Website: English as a Second Language

Professional Learning and Instruction: ESL Portal PA

ELP Standards & Assessment

ELP Standards: WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards

ELP Assessment: WIDA-ACCESS for ELLs

Statewide Standards-Based Assessment

Assessment: Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA)

Additional Information

NCELA: Title III Information

WIDA: Statewide Contact Information

Common Core State Standards: Yes

ESSA: Pennsylvania ESSA State Plan


Statewide Organizations

AFT Pennsylvania

AFT Pennsylvania, the statewide affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, represents more than 36,000 members in 93 local affiliates throughout the Commonwealth, including teachers and school-related personnel, health care professionals, higher education faculty members and state employees.

Pennsylvania State Education Association

Pennsylvania State Education Association is a National Education Association State Affiliate that regularly lobbies legislators for the resources schools need, campaigns for higher professional standards for the teaching profession, and files legal actions to protect academic freedom and the rights of school employees.

PEAL Center

PEAL works with families, youth and young adults with disabilities and special health care needs to help them understand their rights and advocate for themselves.

PennTESOL-East

PennTESOL-East is a professional, non-profit association in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware dedicated to the improvement and advancement of teaching English to speakers of other languages.

Three Rivers TESOL

Three Rivers Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages (Three Rivers TESOL) serves the Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia area and is an affiliate of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

 

Pennsylvania: Seal of Biliteracy

Pennsylvania is in the early stages of the Seal of Biliteracy with a pilot program underway at the local level in Philadelphia.  The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school, district, or state in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation.

Note: Regulations change with time. These guidelines were compiled in January of 2012 and updated in January 2020. If you see something that needs updating, please send an e-mail to Colorín Colorado. For more detailed information regarding ELL guidelines and policies at the state and federal levels, please see the following:

References

National Center for Education Statistics. (2018.) English language learner (ELL) students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, fall 2000 through fall 2016. 

U.S. Department of Education. Our Nation’s English Learners. Most Common Non-English Languages Spoken by English Learners.