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  • English Language Learners: MCAS Accommodations

    ELL students are permitted to use bilingual dictionaries and specialized glossaries during MCAS testing.

    The authorized list of bilingual dictionaries for use on MCAS tests by students with Limited English Proficiency can be found at: www.doe.mass.edu/mcas.

    Glossaries can be found at https://steinhardt.nyu.edu/metrocenter/language-rbern/education/glossaries-ells-mlls-accommodations. The glossaries are also useful for instruction purposes and aid students in accessing content areas more quickly. A clean copy must be provided for the MCAS test.

    Please contact the ELL teacher at your school if you require assistance obtaining dictionaries
    and/or glossaries.

    Principals may assign testing groups and spaces for ELL students other than regular classrooms,
    as long as other conditions and staffing requirements are met.

    If an ELL student does not seem to be responding to any test questions, the test administrator
    may ask the student if he/she is finished. If the student is finished, the administrator should collect
    the test materials and ask the student to sit quietly or read a book.

    Melissa J. Fay

    Director of Student Services



    Who We Are

    Wareham Public Schools (WPS) has made high quality instruction for English Learners (ELs) a top priority and provides various instructional programs and services to help students learn academic English as they learn content in all subject areas. 

    What We Do

    Our goal is that all WarehamPublic School's ELs will graduate as lifelong learners with 21st century skills in order to succeed in college and careers. This is evidenced by the Massachusetts Office of Language Aquisition's (OLA) vision statement: 

    "English learners in Massachusetts attend schools in which all educators share responsibility for their success, engage effectively with their families, and value and nurture their linguistic and cultural assets. English learners are taught by effective, well-prepared, and culturally responsive educators who hold them to high standards and have the materials and professional learning they need to advance students’ academic and linguistic development simultaneously. English learners have equitable access to meaningful and rigorous learning opportunities that build on their cultural and linguistic assets and the academic, linguistic, social, and emotional supports they need to excel. English learners thrive in high school and graduate with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to be successful in college and/or a career of their choice, and to contribute to civic life in a global community."

    EL students will be afforded the full range of general curricular and any occupational/vocational opportunities available to them.  

    EL students will be taught to the same academic standards as all students, and provided equal opportunities to master such standards as other students, including access to academically advanced classes and programs to the full range available to all students throughout the district.

    Staff will ensure that effective communication with EL students and their families in their native language is always available to facilitate their equitable access to all programs and services.

    Staff will ensure that equal access is granted to EL students for guidance counseling and counseling in a language that the student understands.


    Wareham Public Schools has a diverse student population and currently services students from a variety of countries.

    On November 5, 2002, the voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts approved Question 2, also known as the Unz Referendum or English for the Children, that changed some programmatic and instructional practices for the teaching of English Language Learners (ELLs). Massachusetts general laws Chapter 71A outlines these new requirements.

    In Wareham, ELLs at the kindergarten through fourth grade level receive sheltered instruction in Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) at the John W. Decas Elementary School (grade level K-2) and Minot Forest Elementary School (grade level 3-4). ELL students in grades 5-8 receive SEI in the Wareham Middle School. ELL students in grades 9-12 receive SEI at Wareham High School.

    Structured English immersion (SEI) is a program model whereby all curriculum materials and instruction are in English. Sheltered instruction is a methodology in which content concepts and skills are addressed while simultaneously attending to language development. The three basic principles of teaching English to ELLs are: to increase comprehensibility, to increase interaction, and to increase high order thinking skills. Another component of structured English immersion is English Language Development (ELD), whereby the four language domains – speaking, listening, reading, and writing – along with aspects of social and cultural language, are targeted by specific instruction and related to the state standards on English language development, and the World Class Instruction and Design (WIDA) Standards.

    Wareham Public Schools assesses all limited and non-English speaking students to determine their proper placement and classification in the ELE program. Students are assessed to determine proper grade placement and also to determine the need for additional and specific types of academic support.

    Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act does not permit time limitation of services for ELLs and requires that ELLs be provided language support services until they are proficient enough in English to participate meaningfully in the district’s education program.

    Staff uses a variety of formal and informal assessments, including the ACCESS test, to assess progress in ELD. New students will be classified in accordance with the entry classification process. Subsequent classifications of all students will be the responsibility of the Language Assessment Teams (LAT).

    More Information

    For more information about the ELE Program in Wareham, please contact the Office of Student Services at 508-291-3500 x 3512.