English Learners Studies Program

The English learners studies program serves more than 22,000 international students who speak 162 languages and originate from 156 countries. The program offers English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) classes for over 12,000 EL students who are instructed by over 250 ESOL teachers in the local schools.

Georgia Refugee Community


  • Provide each learner with the academic and social skills necessary to insure productive life-long learning through a student-centered and differentiated instructional program and a supportive and highly qualified school staff.
  • Provide services to assist international parents and students with language barriers so that students become proficient in academic content and achieve high standards.
  • Promote parental and community participation in language acquisition activities.
  • Provide ongoing staff development for ESOL teachers, content area teachers and paraprofessionals.
Administrators, students, teachers and paraprofessionals are provided the following services to assist with English proficiency and the academic success of ELs:
  • Online and face-to-face ESOL endorsement courses for certified content area teachers via CaseNex and the professional learning department.
  • A summer academy for EL students at various summer school sites.
  • Professional development classes for administrators, content area and ESOL teachers and paraprofessionals.
  • Attendance at local, state and national conference for ESOL teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators.
  • Administration of the state-adopted annual EL assessment for all ELs.
  • Coordinate parent outreach, parent literacy programs, and afterschool tutorial classes for the local schools for international students and parents.
  • Language line, transact, and talk and listen systems for simultaneous interpretations.
  • Leadership and support for ESOL teachers in the local schools.
  • Presentations/professional development, by the ELL studies leadership team and ELL studies director, at local schools on EL studies program policies and procedures.
  • Dissemination of funds to local schools from the Title III budget and the Refugee Children’s Impact Grant.
  • Data collection and report generation for schools, county, and state.
Students are eligible for EL services if their first/primary language is a language other than English and, after being screened with the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium’s WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT), they score below a 5.0 composite proficiency level. Once screening is complete, instruction will involve one of five options:
  • Entry/Beginner Levels
    Intensive English instruction at the International Student Center. Students who begin their English instruction at the International Student Center have scored up to 1.9 on the W-APT. These students receive instruction at the International Student Center up to six months or one semester. When exiting the International Student Center, they are eligible for option two, with one exception: students in grades K–2 are placed directly into option two regardless of test scores.
  • Developing/Expanding/Bridging Levels—an ESOL Class
    Students scoring between 2.0 and 4.9 on the W-APT receive English instruction combined with a schedule of regular classes at their neighborhood schools.
  • Good English
    A regular English class combined with a schedule of regular classes for students who score above a 5.0 on the W-APT.
  • Lab Program
    Non- or limited-English students who are over thirteen years of age with less than seven years of schooling may receive language services through the lab program. Students may remain in this program or progress to regular high school classes. The International Student Center houses the lab program. This is a non-credit program.
  • Special Services
    Students who require special services may receive a referral to the appropriate department. A waiting period may be necessary