New York State Education Department releases Blueprint for ELLs

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New York State released a comprehensive plan to prepare for success of its 214,000 ELL students in the era of the Common Core.  The plan addresses the needs of students from pre-school to high school graduation, and highlights many of the principles found in Understanding Language materials:  All teachers are teachers of ELLs; ELL student needs must be addressed comprehensively, rather than focusing just on language; ELLs need full access to the academic rigor brought about by the new standards; systems must recognize the values of bilingualism and bi-literacy for all students; parents and families are critical partners in student success; professional learning of all teachers must be supported in a collaborative manner that fully engages ESL and bilingual teachers; linguistic and cultural assets of ELL students must be leveraged; and appropriate range of diagnostic and assessment practices must accompany the summative state assessments.  The plan contains a variety of implementation steps following on these principles.  Please see an announcement from Associate Commissioner Angelica Infante below:

Dear Colleague,

I am excited to share with you the Blueprint for ELL Success! Please see Press Release below.   The principles in the Blueprint were carefully developed as a statewide framework aimed to clarify expectations for administrators, policymakers, and practitioners to prepare ELLs for success, beginning in Prekindergarten in order to lay the foundation for college and career readiness.
Please disseminate and use it as a resource to guide your efforts around English Language Learners.  The Blueprint is intended to be a living document that will have aligned resources to support your work
Thank you for your commitment to English Language Learners and I look forward to our continued collaboration.
Angelica Infante
Associate Commissioner


For More Information Contact:
Tom Dunn, Jonathan Burman, or Antonia Valentine
(518) 474-1201


Blueprint Lays Foundation to Prepare ELLs for Success in P-12

and College and Career Readiness

The New York State Education Department (SED) today announced the release of “The Blueprint for English Language Learners (ELLs) Success,” a statewide framework of eight guiding principles for administrators, policy makers, and practitioners to prepare ELLs for success beginning in prekindergarten to lay the foundation for college and career readiness. Over the last decade, there has been an increase in the number of ELLs enrolled in public schools in New York State. Today there are more than 214,000 ELL students in the state who speak more than 160 languages. The principles in “The Blueprint for English Language Learner Success” provide guidance, resources, and supports to districts, schools, and teachers to promote an understanding and appreciation of Bilingual Education, English as a Second Language, and Foreign Language Studies.

“The State is taking a proactive stance to set high expectations for districts and schools working with English Language Learners,” Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said. “For too long our system has not been meeting the needs of ELLs. As the State transitions to the Common Core it is even more critical that we lay a strong foundation for these students. This blueprint is a great step forward. The State is providing guidance and taking a strong position on the systems and supports that need to be in place for ELLs.”

“Our goal is to make sure all students, including English Language Learners, gain the skills they need for college and career readiness,” said State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. “It’s imperative that ELLs get the support they need to succeed academically. That's why we've developed “The Blueprint for ELL Success" -- to provide guidance to districts and educators on how to prepare ELLs for success from an early age and how to promote better understanding of bilingual education.”

The “Blueprint for English Language Learners Success” includes guidance on ensuring the academic and social needs of ELLs are addressed by educators and school leaders; engaging ELLs in Common Core instruction; involving parents and families of ELLs in the education of their children; supporting bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers; leveraging ELLs' home languages and cultural assets; and monitoring ELLs' content knowledge and new and home language development to inform instruction.

“It is critical that our students have real opportunities for success in our public schools. For years research has shown that early childhood and bilingual education programs must be provided in order to create a strong foundation for our students and enable them to become biliterate and culturally competent adults,” said Luis Reyes, researcher at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies. “The Blueprint creates a clear expectation to maintain and open more of these programs throughout the state.”

“Our district is in the process of evaluating our programs for English Language Learners,” said Mayra Todd, Director of ELL, Bilingual, and Foreign Language Education in Syracuse. “The Blueprint provides concrete guidance for us and a means to evaluate what we are doing against the State’s vision for success.”

The blueprint was developed by SED in collaboration with NYSTESOL, NYSABE, NYSUT and key stakeholders and advocates throughout the State.

The “Blueprint for English Language Learners Success” is available here: