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June 2020

Dear parents and guardians of English Language Learners (ELLs),

The New York State Department of Education and your child’s school have enacted significant policy changes over the past few months that will be in effect during COVID-19 school closures. Please know that these changes and any future adjustments are made with the interest of your ELL child in mind, and that ensuring safety and equity are key considerations when guiding educators to change your child’s learning plan. Remote learning (with technology and/or with other mailings and resources from your child’s teacher) would not be possible without your support. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for the rest of the school year, over the summer, and into the 2020-21 school year to support us through this transition.

Since you are partners in helping your child with school, we recognize your role is even more crucial during distance learning due to COVID-19 closures. Below are some of key changes that we would like you to know about:

  • It is important that you stay in touch with your child’s school, so you know the latest updates to your child’s education plan. Please continue to call, email, or communicate with online applications to ensure that your child continues to progress in academics and language.
  • If you need help with finding technology tools for accessing food bank resources, online learning, or any other support for your child or your family, please contact your school so they can connect you with these vital resources.
  • Schools will continue processes to register and identify the services your child needs. This may occur over video conference, phone calls, or email.
  • Please make sure the school has your updated contact information so that you receive important information quickly.
  • All teachers are responsible for providing the supports needed for success. Different educators may reach out to you with information on the needs of your child.
  • Summer school has been moved to online instruction, according to Governor Cuomo’s decision, to ensure that students are safe.
  • As of the current time, at the start of the 2020-21 school year, all ELLs will be placed at their current English proficiency level (Entering, Emerging, Transitioning, Expanding). This will ensure that ELLs will receive the appropriate support for their language needs to begin the 2020-21 school year.
  • Schools should be in communication with you to share any updates on how ELLs may demonstrate language progress for the 2020-21 school year. Upon registering your child, you provided information about the language in which you would prefer to receive this information. Schools should continue to utilize translation and interpretation resources to ensure that you receive the information.

For additional resources, please see your local community-based organizations listed by region here.

Also, the New York State ELL Parent Hotline is available to all parents. Staff and resources are available to support communication in ten languages. The Hotline provides parents, guardians, and caregivers of ELLs with information about their rights and services for their children under New York State Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154. For more information or if you have a specific inquiry regarding your rights or services for your child, please contact the Hotline via telephone at (800) 469-8224 or via email the Hotline.

Thank you again for all you do to support the success and growth of your child. Stay safe and well.

The New York State Regional Bilingual Education Resource Networks (RBERNs)

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