English Learners Newsletter

Update from the Wyoming Department of Education  |  view online |  website

English Learners Update Masthead

08-06-2021  |  August 2021 Edition

For more information, contact Antoinette Hallam, WDE EL & Assessment Consultant, at 307-777-5217 or antoinette.hallam@wyo.gov.


From Noon-1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The WIDA Secure Portal is getting a makeover. Tune in to the Webinar: Get Familiar with the Redesigned WIDA Secure Portal Q&A to learn about updates. Participants will get a sneak peek at the redesigned portal, so you know how to find the training, professional learning, and resources that are important and relevant to you. The redesigned portal will look and feel like the public WIDA website with relevant assessment training, professional learning, and resources that are easier to find.


Pertinent Information 

The Home Language Survey (HLS) is a tool used to identify potential English Learners.

  • A HLS must be administered effectively to ensure accurate results.
  • Information from the HLS informs placement into a language assistance program (e.g., a bilingual and/or English as a Second Language [ESL] program).
  • To obtain accurate information, schools should reassure parents that the HLS is used solely to offer appropriate educational services, not for determining legal status. 
  • ELs cannot be identified by the HLS alone, which is the first of a three-step process in determining EL status. 
  • Parents and guardians should be informed that, if their child is identified as an EL, they may decline the EL program or particular EL services within the program. 
  • The HLS must be easily accessible to the school staff and available for state audits.


Next Update Coming August 26, 2021

During the 2021-22 academic year, DRC will periodically conduct system maintenance that may result in downtime for WIDA AMS and/or the DRC INSIGHT Secure Application. DRC expects the following technology updates to result in WIDA AMS being unavailable for approximately 60-90 minutes during each update. Updates will take place every four weeks on Thursdays.

  • June through October, updates will begin at 4 p.m. MT.
  • November through May, updates will begin at 7 p.m. MT.

Available by Mid-August 2021

The WDE is working to update and finalize reports on the Assessment Confidential Page. All student-level accountability metrics based on state assessments are generally available and reported in early-to mid-August each year. 

EL District Coordinators can access the following information on the Assessment Confidential Portal:

  • EL Yearly Targets (current year and next year).
  • History of Students’ Entry and EL Annual Progress.
  • Projected End Year and Grade (year the student should exit active EL status).

Follow these steps to access the Assessment Confidential Report:

  1. Go to the WDE Data page.
  2. Under the Data Reports header, select District Data Reports.
  3. Sign In (you must have a WyED User account with the Assessment Confidential role).
  4. Click on ACCESS Student Level (first option on the top).



Update Scheduled for the Week of August 23, 2021

EL District Coordinators are able to search for a student in the EL Status Manager. The system serves two purposes: 1) provide EL historical information, and 2) begin an override application process for an Active English Learner. Additional information will be provided in the EL Quarterly Webinar in September. The updates will allow districts to:

  • Initiate an Active EL override exception. 
  • Upload required submission files and documents.
  • Know when all files are submitted.
  • Receive notification of Case Status.
  • Receive notification when a final WDE decision is made.



From 3:45-5 p.m. on September 16, 2021

The WDE EL Quarterly Webinar is designed to provide up-to-date clarifying information and details on revisions to EL and Title III programs, processes, and documents. Sessions offer guidance on a number of topics relevant to all districts serving ELs. Q&A session to follow.

Click here to join the webinar. 


wida elephant

Available Now 

If you missed the live WIDA Screener for Kindergarten Q&A Webinar, check out the news article featuring a compilation of the most frequently asked questions from WIDA and their accompanying answers from the webinar. Also, find the webinar recording in the WIDA Secure Portal (account required).


Complete Before August 31, 2021

Remember to do the following before the redesigned WIDA Secure Portal launches on September 1, 2021:

  • The WIDA Screener for Kindergarten training course must be completed before August 31 for your certification history to move to the redesigned portal.
  • You must pass both certification quizzes to complete the course.


From 3:30-5 p.m. on Thursday, August 19, 2021 

During this training, participants will work collaboratively to strengthen their understanding of the administration of WIDA Screener Online. This includes learning to administer the online assessment to students. Particular attention will be given to developing inter-rater reliability when scoring the speaking and writing domains. 

Participants will be able to: 

  • Explain the purpose and background of the WIDA Screener.
  • Identify the connection between the English Language Proficiency Levels and Screener scoring scales.
  • Use the scoring scales to score speaking and writing samples.
  • Examine the online administration procedures for the four domains.
  • Discover the available accommodations on Screener. 
  • Locate Screener-specific WIDA AMS functions and supports.
  • Explore the logistics for preparing to administer.

Click here to join the webinar.


Deadline for Submission: September 7, 2021 

The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) is requesting feedback from EL District Test Coordinators and Test Administrators. This survey will help the WDE gather information on district practices and educator preferences to better support districts with professional learning opportunities and options for supporting the needs of educators and districts.

Click here to complete the survey.


Must Be Completed by August 31, 2021

The opportunity to complete WIDA Self-Paced eWorkshops is coming to an end. Visit the WIDA Self-Paced eWorkshops webpage to view eWorkshop descriptions, estimated time to complete each course, and more. Topics available include:

  • WIDA Writing Rubric.
  • Doing and Talking STEM.
  • Classroom Educators: Engaging Multilingual Newcomers.
  • Leading for Equity: Classroom Walkthrough.
  • Social Studies: Engaging Multilingual Learners Through Inquiry.
  • Developing Language for Learning in Mathematics.
  • School Improvement Planning for Multilingual Learners.
  • The WIDA ELD Standards Framework: A Collaborative Approach.


wida conference

One-Day Virtual Event on Thursday, October 14, 2021

This event will include 20 live sessions with interactive breakout groups, presentation handouts and materials, a keynote speaker, and access to all recorded content through the end of 2021. eConference sessions will align with the conference theme “Reimagining Opportunity and Access for Multilingual Learners'' and will be designed for educators of K-12 multilingual learners. The keynote speaker is Pulitzer Prize winning author Dr. Viet Thanh Nguyen. 

View the agenda and register here.


Reminders and Tips for Comprehensive Services

  • Monitoring/Ongoing Monitoring.
    • LEAs should establish rigorous monitoring systems to take appropriate steps to support students who are not adequately progressing toward those goals and students who have exited English Learner (EL) Services.
    • Districts must be aware of the students who met the ELP exit criteria and are required to monitor the academic performance of former ELs after having exited EL services.
  • The end/beginning of the school year is an ideal time for leaders of EL programs to assess instructional goals with a focus on improving outcomes for ELs.
    • Revisit plans for the school year considering student needs, assessment and program data, teacher feedback, and planning professional development for the upcoming year.


Webinar 1: From 3:30-5 p.m. on September 23, 2021

Webinar 2: From 3:30-5 p.m. on September 30, 2021

This two-part eWorkshop is designed to support all K-12 educators who would like to explore the connection between the ACCESS Speaking Test and classroom practices that promote oral language development. In the webinars, participants will engage in meaning-making activities that provide ways to nurture students’ speaking growth. The eWorkshop is a self-paced module that allows for choice and control. Participants will be asked to speak and share ideas with colleagues within the virtual event. 

By engaging in the eWorkshop, participants will: 

  • Apply the underpinnings of the Speaking Assessment to classroom practice. 
  • Connect the Key Language Uses to instructional practices in speaking.
  • Explore the impact of holding the floor for extended classroom discourse.
  • Choose Teacher Moves to support student voice.
  • Develop an ear for language to support precision decisions.

Click here to register for the eWorkshop Opportunity.


The purpose of this blended format training is to create an online Professional Learning Community (PLC) that supports participants’ collaboration and fosters ownership of their learning.

  • Over the course of 15 weeks, participants engage in six modules that each consist of three sections: Explore, Make it Work, and Share.
  • Participants will select ideas to use in their classrooms and share their experiences with colleagues in online discussion boards and one online meeting. The essential question for this eWorkshop is: What do educators need to consider in order to effectively plan for the education of bilingual learners identified with learning disabilities?
  • The eWorkshop will take place from September 13 to December 24, 2021.
  • All participants will collaborate during a zoom webinar from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on November 15, 2021.
  • 1.5 PTSB credit will be given to participants who complete all the modules and attend the zoom meeting.

Click here to register for this new professional learning opportunity.


The links below include access to additional resources, guidance, and the opportunity to network within the EL community:


  • August 10: Get Familiar with the Redesigned WIDA Secure Portal Webinar.
  • August 13-December 24: Considerations When Educating Bilingual Learners with Identified Learning Disabilities Self-Paced eWorkshop. 
  • August 19: EL WIDA Screener Online Webinar.
  • August 31: Deadline to Complete WIDA’s Self-Paced eWorkshops.
  • September 23 & 30: Nurturing Speaking Growth Webinar Series.
  • October 13-November 22: ACCESS Test Materials Ordering via WIDA AMS.
  • October 14: 2021 WIDA eConference.
  • October 20 & 27: Planning with the WIDA ELD Standards Framework.
  • November 15: Follow-up Zoom meeting for Participants of Self-Paced eWorkshop: Considerations when Educating Bilingual Learners with Identified Learning Disabilities.
  • November 30: ACCESS for ELLs Overview Webinar.
  • December 1-February 25: WIDA AMS Test Setup Available.
  • January 4-6: ACCESS Test Materials Received in District.
  • January 5-February 18: ACCESS Additional Test Material Ordering Window in WIDA AMS.
  • January 18-February 25: ACCESS & ALT ACCESS Assessment Window.
  • March 1: ACCESS Deadline for Shipping Completed Test Materials to DRC.
  • March 18-31: ACCESS Pre-Reporting Data Validation for LEAs in WIDA AMS.