English Learners Newsletter

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

English Learners Update Masthead

09-02-2021 l September 2021 Edition

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


Survey Deadline Extended to September 20, 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 provide professional learning opportunities and options for supporting the needs of educators and districts.

Complete the survey here.


Deciding Which Screener to Use in the EL Identification Process

KW-APT Screener

  • Test Administration Time: 30 minutes total.
  • All Kindergarten W-APT materials must be accessed and downloaded from the user's My Account & Secure Portal at wida.wisc.edu.
  • Kindergarteners take only the Listening and Speaking components in the first semester. If a student’s raw score on the Listening and Speaking portion of the test is 29 or higher, the student is considered English proficient and is not reported to the WDE as an active EL.
  • A child entering in the second half of the Kindergarten year may take all four components - Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. A student is considered English proficient and is not reported to the WDE if ALL of the following is at or above the these raw scores:
    • The Listening and Speaking portion of the test is 29 or higher
    • The Reading raw score is 11 or higher.
    • The student’s raw Writing score is 12 or higher.
  • KW-APT test forms align with the 2007 WIDA Standards and the WIDA Consortium’s approach to instructing and assessing English language learners in all grade clusters. 

MODEL Screener

  • Test Administration Time: 45 minutes total. 
  • Kindergarten MODEL test kits contain all materials necessary to train test administrators and to deliver the assessment.
  • Administered to students in Kindergarten (often to those with no/limited school experience).
  • The MODEL screening assessment is similar in format to the WIDA ACCESS Kindergarten assessment.

The test assesses the four language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. Students who take the Kindergarten MODEL Screener and who score below a 5.0 composite (Speaking and Listening sections only) proficiency level, are qualified to be included in the count of active ELs and are eligible for EL services.


  • The New WIDA Screener for Kindergarten is currently being field tested to gather baseline data to establish proficiency level criteria.
  • After administering the KW-APT or the Kindergarten MODEL assessment for accountability, practitioners are asked to screen a minimum of 50% of these same students using the new WIDA Screener for Kindergarten, regardless of the proficiency results. This should be completed within 2-3 days of administering the KW-APT or MODEL, if possible. 
  • Districts will enter student results from the WIDA Screener for Kindergarten Score Sheets into the WDE Excel Spreadsheet upon completion of the test for each domain. Scores will then be entered on the score calculator to convert raw scores into Proficiency Level and Proficiency Level Composite Scores. This can befound using the link in line 3 of the spreadsheet. Scores will also need to be entered onto the WDE Excel Spreadsheet and filed into the district Google folder.
wida data


Next Update: September 23, 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 Thursday.

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


Learn What’s New for the 2021-22 School Year

Check out the What to know: WIDA assessments in 2021-22 school year article and summary below to learn about what’s new with WIDA Screener, ACCESS for ELLs, WIDA MODEL and more.

Accessibility and Accommodations updates

WIDA Screener for Kindergarten

Changes in the redesigned WIDA Secure Portal that goes live on September 1.

  • WIDA has reorganized the WIDA Screener training. 
  • Training materials for scoring the WIDA Screener Writing domain.
  • ACCESS Paper or WIDA Screener Paper Speaking domain.
  • Assessment training course certification quizzes will be embedded in the relevant training courses.


  • Test Administrator Interface Updates.
  • More Information on how to use the WIDA MODEL.


Collaboration is one of the four Big Ideas of the WIDA ELD Standards Framework. This two-page "comic" strip shows the story of how a science teacher and an ESL teacher work together on their multilingual learners' language development and meaningfully engagement with the content of a science unit. This step-by-step example can be used in tandem with Section 4 of the WIDA ELD Standards Framework, 2020 Edition, which has a more detailed look at collaborative planning.


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.


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

The WDE EL Quarterly Webinar provides 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.


“Considerations When Educating Bilingual Learners with Identified Learning Disabilities”

This blended format training creates 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.


Reminders and Tips for Meeting Students’ Needs 

  • Identify and understand a student's English Language Proficiency by reviewing student’s scores on the ACCESS English Language Proficiency Assessment.
  • All ELs must have an Individual English Learner Plan (IELP) or similar form to document specific information, support and/or accommodations based on students' English proficiency levels for effective instruction and assessment.
  • Maximize the use of the Home Language Survey (HLS) and the parent or legal guardian interview. Understand a student's background: prior academic experiences, cultural and religious traditions, interests, hobbies, personality, family circumstances, and student's home community or native country that can inform instructional decisions in the classroom.
  • Knowing your English Learners provides opportunities for creating a welcoming classroom environment, engaging the student and family, increasing the student's confidence, and creating opportunities for students to learn from each other.


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


  • September 7: EL District Survey Deadline.
  • September 13-December 24: Considerations when Educating Bilingual Learners with Identified Learning Disabilities (Self-Paced eWorkshop).
  • September 16: EL Quarterly Webinar.
  • 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.
  • May 4: ACCESS Reports and Data Files Available Online in WIDA AMS.
  • May 20-24: ACCESS Printed Reports Available in Districts.
  • June 17: ACCESS Updated Data Posted in WIDA AMS.