English as a Second Language (ESL)

English as a Second Language (ESL)

North Hills contracts with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit for our English as a Second Language (ESL) Program. Staff members are available in both the secondary and elementary schools. Our elementary students who qualify as needing this service are transported to McIntyre Elementary School.

Our goal is to continue to provide language acquisition instruction in a nurturing and productive environment so as to provide the ESL student with ongoing success in the classroom as well as within the community.

Placement and Testing

The W-APT Placement Test is used as an evaluation tool for placement of English Language Learning students. The evaluation is given after enrollment is completed within the district and if the home language survey indicates any of the following:

  • A student has a first home language other than English
  • A student was born outside of the United States
  • A student has a dominant first language other than English that may interfere with learning the academic curriculum

To determine maintaining placement in the program and English proficiency, the WIDA ACCESS state tests are administered to all students actively participating in the ESL program. These tests are administered annually from the end of January until the first week in March.

Exiting Procedures

Several components of criteria need to be met for any student exiting the ESL program as follows:

  • Scoring proficient in all areas of listening, reading, speaking and writing on the WIDA ACCESS tests on a Tier Level C test
  • Maintaining adequate grades in both the ESL and mainstreamed classroom in core content areas
  • Obtaining a basic or above score on PSSA evaluations, if in a grade-level taking PSSA exams
  • ESL teacher and regular classroom teacher observations and portfolios


Throughout any educational career, the laws, regulations and standards must be followed. We have envisioned and created the ESL program based on the state guidelines and regulations, as well as introduced new innovations to enhance the learning needs of the students and ensure success in the classroom.

View text-based website