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English Learners

Students who have a home language other than English (or in addition to English) and test limited English proficient in any language domain, speaking, listening comprehension, reading, writing or overall composite score, may be eligible for English Learner Services.

The English Language Learner Program in Northfield Public Schools supports the district vision of preparing every student for lifelong success within a world-class learning environment with a commitment to community partnerships and sustainability. The goal of the EL program is to teach students social and academic English so that they are able to fully participate in all classes and subjects taught in school.


As part of the enrollment process, all families must complete the Minnesota Language Survey:

English | Spanish | Somali | Vietnamese

When a parent/guardian indicates a language other than English on any question on the Minnesota Language Survey, an EL instructor will assess the student for eligibility for EL Services when they first enroll in the district.

The EL teacher will determine EL service eligibility based on:

  • WIDA screener indicates eligible English language proficiency level
  • Prior records that indicate student was in EL service in a previous district

Students who have qualified for EL services continue to be eligible, until they reach a level of English proficiency that allows them to independently access and succeed in the curriculum, as demonstrated by meeting the MN Department of Education exit criteria.

For more information on EL programming entrance criteria, please see the Minnesota Standardized English Learner Procedures Identification document published by the MN Department of Education (Last updated in 9/1/21).

Parent Notification

Parents will be notified within ten days of a student beginning EL Services each school year. The notification will include the criteria used to determine eligibility for EL Services, the child’s level of English proficiency and general information about EL Services. Parents of English learners will be invited to meet with their child’s EL instructor during fall Parent-Teacher Conferences to learn more about EL Services and how they can work cooperatively with the school to advance their child’s English language skills.

Refusal of EL Services

Parents/guardians who do not wish their child to receive EL Services may refuse services by completing the Request to Withdraw: English Learner Services form. The request must be completed each year the parents wish to refuse EL Services.

SLIFE Identification

English learners with limited or interrupted formal education will be identified based on the following criteria:

  • Come from a home where the language usually spoken is other than English, or usually speaks a language other than English;
  • Enter school in the United States after grade 6;
  • Have at least two years less schooling than the English learner’s peers;
  • Function at least two years below expected grade level in reading and mathematics; and
  • May be preliterate in the English learner’s native language

EL Program Service Levels

The amount of EL Services a student receives is determined by the student’s overall composite score on a WIDA test of English proficiency and their grade in school.

Service Models

Northfield Public Schools offers Language Instruction Educational Programs (LIEPS) that focus on developing students’ literacy solely in English.

Students may receive language instruction in one of the following models, depending on individual student need and language proficiency level.

  • Sheltered English Instruction / Content-based English as a Second Language (ESL) Program
    • The goal is proficiency in English while learning content in an all-English setting.
    • Students from various linguistic and cultural backgrounds can be in the same class.
    • Instruction is adapted to students’ proficiency in English, and is supported by visual aids and L1 support, as available and content is aligned to MN state standards.
  • Pull-out English as a Second Language (ESL) or English Language Development (ELD)

    This program is intended for elementary new-to-country English learners and English learners with an overall composite proficiency level of 1 or 2.

    • EL students receive small group instruction for English Language Development (ELD) in listening, speaking, reading, writing.  Instruction is aligned with grade level content standards and WIDA ELD Standards.


  • Push-in ESL Program

    Push In Services: 

    • Students are served in their grade level classroom, receiving instructional support for English Language Development (ELD) in listening, speaking, reading, writing.  Instruction is aligned with grade level content standards and WIDA ELD Standards.

Exit Criteria

English Learners who reach a level of English proficiency that allows them to independently access and succeed in the curriculum will be exited from English Learner Services. Students exit EL Services and are reclassified non-EL based on the MN Department of Education exit criteria.


Former EL students’ academic progress will be monitored for two years to ensure that students have not been prematurely exited, and they are meaningfully participating in the district’s educational programs comparable to their peers who were never EL students.

More Information

To view the full Northfield LIEP Plan, click here.

To inquire about EL services for your child, contact your child’s building principal. For general information about EL Services, contact the Director of Instructional Services at 507.645.3436.