Welcome to ESL Portal PA!

The ESL Portal PA is an online resource of professional learning opportunities and instructional materials that supports Pennsylvania educators and community organizations as they strive to provide equitable, high quality educational programs for English learners and their families. The portal also links to updated federal and state guidance, current educational research, instructional practice and more.

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What’s New

SAVE THE DATE: 2020 Migrant Education Program and English Language Development Conference

March 3-5, 2020 | Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel, Harrisburg. PA

The Center for Schools and Communities, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), will host the 8th Annual MEP and ELD Conference March 3-5 in Harrisburg, PA. There is no cost to attend. This year’s conference will include innovative and research-based workshops within the follow 7 themes:

  • Educational Data Collection, Analysis and Use
  • Educational Policy and Leadership
  • Family Engagement and Community Partnerships
  • Identification of Students and Families Eligible for MEP and/or ELD Programs
  • Instructional Practices for Promoting Student Achievement in Kindergarten through Graduation
  • Promising Practices in Early Childhood Education (birth to age 5)
  • Strategies that Foster Social Emotional Learning and Student Resiliency

The conference is designed to provide a space for parents, teachers, administrators, scholars, and PDE staff to engage in professional practices of knowledge sharing, discussion, critical analysis, and re-visioning of educational policies and practices for the purpose of advancing the quality of educational experiences for migrant education and English learner students and families.

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2019-2020 WIDA ACCESS Testing Dates

Test Materials Ordering Available in AMS (LEAs)          10/30/19 – 11/26/19
WIDA AMS Test Setup Available for Test Sessions        12/20/19 – 03/06/20
Districts Receive Test Materials (On)                              01/06/20 – 01/07/20
Test Window                                                                  01/06/20 – 02/21/20
Additional Test Material Ordering in AMS                        01/07/20 – 02/14/20
Deadline for Shipping Completed Materials to DRC       03/06/20 – 03/06/20
Pre-Reporting Data Validation – LEAs in AMS                04/09/20 – 04/16/20
Reports and Data Files Available – Online (On)              05/27/20 – 05/27/20
Reports Available in Districts – Printed (On)                    06/04/20 – 06/04/20

ELD Resource Guide for School Administrators

The Pennsylvania Department of Education, in partnership with the Center for Schools and Communities, is excited to announce the publication of a new ELD resource guide for school administrators. Supporting English Learners’ Success: A Practical Guide for Administrators is an easy-to-read practical guidebook that contains helpful information to assist administrators in implementing successful Language Instruction Educational Programs (LIEPs) in their buildings. The Guide contains detailed information on four broad components of any effective LIEP: Complying with State Regulations, Recruiting and Training Qualified Faculty and Staff, Facilitating Collaboration, and Engaging Families and Communities. Each section contains an overview of applicable policy and research followed by suggested strategies and best practices for implementation. The Guide concludes with a series of checklists that principals, in conjunction with the EL instructional team, can use to conduct self-assessments and gather data that can inform the development of action plans to improve or strengthen their school’s LIEP program implementation.

Federal Resources


Research Brief: Building Support for English Language Learners: Strategies for Creating a School Culture of Academic Success

This research brief released by Center for Schools and Communities with funding provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, identifies key strategies that principals and other educational leaders can use to foster collaboration among ESL specialists and content/classroom teachers that support the academic achievement of English learners. Co-authors, Karin Sprow Forté, D.Ed., and Denise G. Meister, Ph.D highlight school based strategies which include: providing dedicated time for collaboration, creating a culture and context for collaboration, and using professional learning to foster collaboration. Also recommendations that build positive school culture and environment, along with common pitfalls and limitations are detailed.


Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Mission for the Education of English Language Learners

Provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of education which includes the provision of quality, culturally-responsive and equitable educational programs for English learners and assurance of their appropriate participation in all aspects of the educational system. The Department ensures that its programs address the needs and rights of English learners in all its initiatives throughout the entire process of planning and implementation.


Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Vision for the Education of English Language Learners

The Department promotes the recognition of these students and their parents as cultural and linguistic assets to the Commonwealth’s global initiatives. The Department is committed to using its Standards Aligned System (SAS) to ensure that English learners receive core curriculum instruction and achieve high levels of academic success.