ESOL/Bilingual Programs → About ESOL/Bilingual Programs

About ESOL/Bilingual Programs

In MCPS, we are proud of our diverse, multilingual, multicultural population. Every student and every family is important and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with everyone else. We work hard to ensure that every student succeeds and that every parent is a partner in educating all of our children.

Read about our philosophy

Services for English Language Learners and their Families

Will my child attend specific classes to learn English?

Students begin the enrollment process in the local schools if they were born in the United States and have not attended schools in another country during the past two years (see Enrollment Note, below). All other students begin the enrollment process in the International Admissions and Enrollment Office (IAE) at Rocking Horse Road Center. Based on information parents provide about a student’s home language, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) may be required by law to administer the state-mandated English language proficiency assessment. For students who begin their enrollment in IAE, this test is administered in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Testing and Accountability Center. All other students are tested in their new school. The results of the assessment determine eligibility and influence placement in an English language development program. These programs are designed to support English language learners as they acquire academic Standard American English and progress in mastering the MCPS curriculum in all other subject areas.

For more information on registration

Enrollment Note: High school students who are new to the Northeast Consortia Choice and Application Program Services or the Downcounty Consortium begin their enrollment process by calling the Division of Consortium, Choice, and Application Program Services (DCCAPS) at 240-740-2540.


How will my child learn English and continue progressing in other subject areas?

The Division of English for Speakers of Other Languages/Bilingual Programs (ESOL) has developed rigorous curricula to help elementary, middle, and high school English language learners acquire the academic English that is critical to their success in school. All ESOL curriculum resources are organized around the academic language needed for success in reading/language arts, social studies, and science. ESOL instruction occurs for a portion of the instructional day and is in addition to the student’s regular instructional program.

The ESOL curriculum also is based on research that supports learning language through academic content. The curriculum places great emphasis on developing language in the four skill areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking, using methods specifically designed for culturally and linguistically diverse students. Students are given opportunities to practice and apply academic language through interaction with adults and peers, hands-on learning experiences, and activities that promote critical-thinking.


What help will my child receive to cope with changes in language of instruction, school culture, and the stresses of living in a new country?

The ESOL Counseling Team provides multilingual counseling services to ESOL students in their schools. If you have concerns about your child’s adjustment to MCPS or to the United States, contact the staff in your child’s school. The school staff will obtain an ESOL counselor to work with your child and your child’s teachers. ESOL counselors can address concerns in any of the following areas:

  • Cultural, social and emotional adjustment of ESOL students in MCPS
  • Coping skills
  • Crisis resolution
  • Conflict resolution related to cross-cultural misunderstandings
  • Decision-making skills
  • Academic, social, and career alternatives in MCPS and beyond
  • Career and vocational counseling


What help is available to parents to cope with the changes in language of instruction, school culture, and the stresses of living in a new country?

The ESOL Parent Outreach Team provides multilingual outreach services in the community to parents of ESOL students to enable them to engage fully in the MCPS instructional program. The team provides regular services for groups of parents, but they also can help you personally and individually. If you have questions about your child’s program or what you can do to support your child’s learning at home, contact the staff in your child’s school. The school staff will obtain an ESOL Parent Outreach Team member to answer your questions and work with you to resolve your concerns. Members of the ESOL Parent Outreach Team can address concerns in the following areas:

  • Communicate between schools and international parents.
  • Support parents in Educational Management Team (Educational Management Team), Individualized Education Program (Individualized Education Program), and English Language Learner (English Language Learner) team meetings to help parents understand and navigate the processes in these meetings.
  • Assist international parents in the areas of students’ and parents’ rights and responsibilities, special education services, parent conferences, parental involvement, and information and referrals to services and resources within MCPS and the community.


What help is available if I do not speak English well?

You should NEVER hesitate to call or visit your child’s school or any MCPS office. If there is no one on staff who speaks your language, the only English you need to learn is enough to identify your language by saying: “I speak Spanish,” “I speak Amharic,” “I speak Cantonese,” “I speak Kono,” “I speak…”. Every MCPS school and office has access to a telephone interpretation service. While you wait, they can obtain an interpreter to help you. The schools also can obtain translations of important documents and interpreters for meetings through the MCPS Language Assistance Services Unit to help you participate fully in your children’s education.