ELL Students

Here parents of English language learners will find tips and informative articles to help their children succeed in school.


11 Questions Parents of ELL Students Should Ask

Click “Expand” to find the 11 questions all parents of ELL students should ask your child’s teacher or school administrator to make sure you have everything to need to ensure your child is on the path to success.

  1. What kind of services and programs does the school have to help my child learn English and all the other subjects he is studying?
  2. How well is my child learning English and do you have an educational plan for him?
  3. What activities do you use in class to encourage him to practice his English with his peers?
  4. Will my child’s progress reports and other communication items be available in Spanish? Will we go over his academic as well as social development progress during our parent-teacher conferences?
  5. How can I request special accommodations, such as extended time during high-stakes assessments, for my ELL student?
  6. How long do you think it will take my child to transition to a mainstream classroom?
  7. Will my child be on track to graduate from high school and apply to college? If not, what else does he need to do to graduate?
  8. How are you helping my child prepare for courses that determine if he will earn a high school diploma?
  9. How many exams will my child take this year and what will they be used for? How do I request copies of my child’s exam results in Spanish?
  10. How can I support my child’s learning English at home?
  11. What flexible volunteer opportunities do you have for parents to get involved in this school?

10 Tips for Parents of ELL Students

As a parent of an ELL student, these tips will help you to better understand your rights and your options to make sure both you and your child receive available support. Just click “Expand” to get started.

  1. It is possible that the school will offer online courses to your child.  If they do, you should make the completion of these online courses a priority.  Because this will help them catch up or advance academically.
  2. If you do not speak English, you have the right to have a translator present during a parent-teacher conference. You can have a friend or neighbor present to translate during parent-teacher conferences.  You can also request that the school provide a translator.  It is best to have someone other than your child serve as the translator.  You also have the right to have translated materials sent home. 
  3. During conversations with teachers, you will learn about your child’s academic performance and behavior in class.  Your child’s teacher will share their expectations for your child.  Make sure that you ask how you can support their learning at home.  Also share your child’s family background and other information that will help the teacher know more about his strengths and challenges.
  4. When speaking with teachers, learn about resources that the school provides to overcome academic challenges. If your child is doing well, make sure that you ask about programs for students that excel. Help the teacher to know more about your child’s academic experiences in their native country. Use the Teacher Communicator tool to improve dialogue with your child’s teacher.
  5. You should learn how the United States school system works because it might be different than in your native country. Find out about workshops, parent meetings where you can learn more or visit our Parent Academy here.
  6. If possible, it is important to have a computer, a printer, and Internet access at home.  Investing in these tools will help your child to be successful in school.  But monitor your child while he is using them to ensure safe use of social media. Click here to find discounted options for internet and computers, and tips on how to make sure your family surfs the web responsibly.
  7. Schools are required to help children who don’t speak English to learn English in the same way they are required to teach the same curriculum as they teach to other students. 
  8. Students who are learning English might be able to take advanced courses in their native language.  Ask the school what might be available.
  9. If your school does not offer many services in Spanish, find out if the school district offers more.   Also ask if they have an English Language Learner or Bilingual Liaison available.
  10. If you are caring for a child that has not been in school regularly for some time, such as an unaccompanied minor or a foster child, ask their school for ways to help them beyond learning English.  They may need more than one year to catch up to the other students in their grade, as well as counseling and other supports.  Some younger students may benefit from repeating a grade to give them more time.

More Online Resources

Click “Expand” to find recommended websites that offer valuable information to help you and your ELL student.

  1. Ideas and materials to help English language learners successfully meet the Common Core Standards from Colorín Colorado.
  2. Helping English language learners with their struggles in school and other important information, provided here by GreatKids.
  3. Ensuring English learner students can participate meaningfully and equally in educational programs. Read more at U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.
  4. Learn effective ways to teach ELL students by visiting Reading Rockets.
  5. Six insights for parents and caregivers of English Language Learners. Read this research at Pearsoned.