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Together we can

Helping students find their voices in a new language

For thousands of students in the School District of Lancaster, English is not their native language. Indeed, some 50 world languages are spoken by students in the district (38 by English Learners or ELs). Though many are now fluent, nearly one in five students is still learning to speak, read and write in English. Spanish is the most common language among these students, but almost 30 percent speak languages such as Nepali, Swahili, Arabic and Haitian Creole.


SDoL offers a robust English Language Development (ELD) program that includes dozens of specialized teachers and para-educators supporting students to improve their English language skills.

Determining if ELD services are right for your child

Students are assessed when they enroll in SDoL to determine how much they would benefit from ELD programs. Parents whose children are recommended for services are notified, in a language they understand, of assessment results including their English language proficiency level. Scores are reported as an ‘English Language Proficiency (ELP) Level’ between 1 - 6:

Level 1 – Entering

Knows and uses minimal social language and minimal academic language with visual and graphic support

Level 2 – Emerging

Knows and uses some social English and general academic language with visual and graphic support

Level 3 – Developing

Knows and uses social English and some specific academic language with visual and graphic support

Level 4 – Expanding

Knows and uses social English and some technical academic language

Level 5 – Bridging

Knows and uses social English and academic language working with grade level material

Level 6 – Reaching

Knows and uses social and academic language at the highest level measured by this test

Students are exited from ESL instruction when the student's academic records indicate that the student has met Pennsylvania's criteria for exiting the ESL program.

If you have concerns regarding your child’s ESL services, please contact your child’s school. If you have additional questions, please contact the district at 717-299-2700.