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Mars Area School District

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English as a Second Language (ESL)

English as a Second Language

When registering children in Mars Area School District, all parents/guardians are required to complete a Home Language Questionnaire.

If a parent/guardian indicates on the Home Language Questionnaire that another language is spoken in the home, then an English language provider will conduct a full interview with the parent/guardian. Based upon the questionnaire and interview responses, those children, who qualify, will be referred for an “English Language Learner Assessment.” The results of this assessment will determine if a student requires English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction.

Parents/guardians may not opt their children out of a English Language Learner Assessment or ESL instruction, if found to be eligible. If you believe your child may qualify for these services, please contact the principal of your child’s school building. 

What is ESL?


Mars Area School District’s K-12 English as a Second Language (ESL) Program provides English Learners daily instruction in the areas of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing in English by certified ESL teachers.

Generally, this instruction is delivered to students by way of small groups, pull-out instruction. Students are grouped with students of similar age, grade, and language proficiency level. They are provided with daily instruction in alignment with recommended hours from the Pennsylvania Basic Education Circular for Educating English Learners. The instruction is also aligned to PA Core Standards, PA English Language Development (ELD) Standards, and supported by a high quality, research-based language acquisition curriculum.

Students are assessed annually with the WIDA ACCESS 2.0 for ELLs test to monitor growth in language proficiency and to determine the continued need for support with English language development. The amount and duration of ESL pull-out instruction may decrease as the student’s language proficiency increases. Students have the opportunity to exit the ESL program annually and the Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements for exit are followed.

Each child’s ESL teacher collaborates with his/her classroom and content area teachers to monitor progress in the general curriculum. Information, strategies, and resources are regularly shared to assure that they child’s language needs are met.

Parents are informed of the child’s progress in English language development through both grades on the school district report card, as well as the ESL supplemental report card that reports the student’s progress in the four domains of language.

Once a child is no longer in need of daily support with language development and they exit the ESL program, their progress is monitored for a period of 4 years. 


Specific questions may be directed to Dr. Elizabeth McMahon, Assistant Superintendent, at (724) 625-1518 or [email protected].

District ESL Coordinators

Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
, Assistant Superintendent
Ph: (724)-625-1518, ext. 1503
E-mail: [email protected] 

Ms. Debbie Brandstetter
, Business Manager (PIMS - PA Information Management System)
Ph(724) 625-1518, ext. 1509
E-mail[email protected]