Office of English Learners in Schools

English Learners in APS

APS English learners come from diverse linguistic, educational, and cultural backgrounds.

APS Population: 20% of APS students are ELs and receive English Learner services (2022-23 data).

Country of Origin: APS students come from 149 countries, from every continent except Antarctica.

  • 65% of ELs are born in the US
  • The largest percentage of ELs come from El Salvador (6%), Guatemala (4%), Ethiopia (3%), Mongolia (2%), and Bolivia (2%) (2017-18 data).

First Languages: 88 different home languages are represented by current ELs.

  • 58% speak Spanish, 5% Amharic, 5% Arabic, 5% Mongolian, 2% Bengali

Identification of Students as English Learners

New students who meet the following criteria are assessed at the Welcome Center (formerly the Language Services and Registration Center):

  • the family and child actually live in Arlington County
  • the child speaks a language other than English
  • at home the family speaks a language other than English
  • the child attended an ESL/bilingual program
  • the child attended school outside the U.S.

Bilingual Assistants interview entering students and their parents or legal guardians to obtain educational and socio-cultural information. Each new student has an educational assessment to determine his/her level of English proficiency. The results of all assessments are reviewed and compared to grade level program criteria to determine the student’s EL program and grade placement. Tests and test results are sent to the student’s school. According to federal law, the parent or guardian has the right to opt-out of English Learner services.