English Learners Newsletter

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

English Learners Update Masthead

10-06-2021  |  October 2021 Edition

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


Online Checklist Updated

The updated 2021-22 Wyoming ACCESS for ELLs Checklist is an essential guide that highlights the tasks to be completed before, during, and after testing in a school or district. Use this checklist as you prepare for and administer the test, and to track completed tasks. It is recommended that EL educators check events off throughout the testing cycle.

Testing Dates Updated and Posted

ACCESS for ELLs is given to all ELs during the annual testing window, from mid-January through late February. The ACCESS testing dates have been updated on the WIDA Wyoming State Page and can be found on the WDE Assessment Calendar.


  • Returning EL District Test Coordinators (DTCs) and Test Administrators (TAs) will have the same privileges as last year when their WIDA and DRC accounts rolled over in October. Access the DRC Portal and ensure your account privileges are correct for this school year.
  • New EL DTCs need to request WIDA and DRC accounts through Antoinette Hallam, WDE EL Consultant, via email. DTCs set up accounts for Test Administrators.
  • Detailed information to configure, install, manage, and troubleshoot the Central Office Services (COS) Service Device can be found in the Technology User Guide located in WIDA AMS under My Applications > General Information > Documents. A new COS Online Help is available containing several topics describing how to use COS.


Prepare for the Upcoming Test Administration with the Following ACCESS for ELLs Topics

Pre-Testing: Technology Installations

  • This webinar provides information on installs of the COS INSIGHT and DTK on varying testing devices, and information on updated system requirements.
  • From Noon-1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. The recording is in the WIDA Secure Portal under webinars.

Ordering Materials in WIDA AMS

  • This webinar provides information on how to order test materials for ACCESS, monitor order status, confirm shipping address, communicate ordering expectations; grades 1-5 ordering considerations.
  • From Noon-1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.

Test Scheduling

  • This webinar provides information on how to: schedule testing, group students, time the tests, schedule practice tests, schedule a room.
  • From Noon-1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

More information and login details can be found in the WIDA Secure Portal on the Webinars page. WIDA Q&A Webinars are recorded and posted to the Webinars page in the WIDA Secure Portal within a week of the presentation.


Reporting Deadline on October 15, 2021

Error Corrections Deadline on October 28, 2021

  • The WDE684 window for initial submission by Districts is open October 1-15, 2021. 
  • The WDE684 will remain open and available for corrections October 16-28, 2021. The WDE requires that all EL errors be completed by the deadline to ensure English Learners are correctly identified and reported.


Due by Wednesday, October 20, 2021 

Fill out the questions on this survey regarding your preference on attending the quarterly EL/Title III webinar. The WDE wants to ensure that we are accommodating as many schedules as possible and appreciate your feedback.


Two-day workshops are being offered for educators responsible for language development within content learning and implementation of the WIDA ELD Standards.

Participants will gain the following:

  • Learn how components of the 2020 WIDA ELD Standards support equitable access to high-quality learning opportunities for multilingual learners. 
  • Explore how the Standards Framework supports instructional planning and collaboration. 
  • Receive information about additional and optional learning activities prior to the workshop.
  • Access online resources to support implementation, following the eWorkshop.
    • Day 1: From 3:30-5 p.m. on October 20, 2021.
    • Day 2: From 3:30-5 p.m. on October 27, 2021.

Register here.


Next WIDA AMS Update: October 21, 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. MST.
  • November through May, updates will begin at 7 p.m MST.

Security Patching – Servers, Databases, and Network Upgrade

During this upgrade, the Screener Scoring will be impacted. Services will be unavailable from Saturday at 10 p.m. MST to Sunday at 10 a.m. MST on November 6-7, 2021.


Help WIDA Review and Refresh Assessment Tools

Every year, the ACCESS for ELLs assessments are taken by a diverse population of students speaking many languages: students in big cities and in rural areas, new to the United States, and those born here. WIDA and its test development partners work hard to create an assessment that:

  • Reflects the diversity of multilingual learners.
  • Positively portrays students with a range of backgrounds.
  • Carefully avoids topics or situations that may evoke a negative reaction.

WIDA will work to accomplish this throughout test development via events such as bias, sensitivity and content reviews, classroom observations, surveys, expert panels, and field WIDA Wednesday Communications for SEAs – September 2021 testing. However, they understand their perspective is by nature incomplete. Therefore, educators are invited to participate in a review of test content in development. Educators bring fresh eyes, unique perspectives, and a range of experiences to items, and WIDA will use this feedback from the field to revise test items.

If you would like to contribute to the test development work, visit the Building a WIDA Assessment webpage to learn more and apply.


Orders for ACCESS and ALT ACCESS for ELLs

October 13-November 22, 2021

A material order must be placed for ACCESS for ELLs or ALT ACCESS for both testing modes, online or paper, through DRC using WIDA AMS. Building Test Coordinators/District Test Coordinators will follow the test materials ordering procedures outlined in the WIDA Assessment Management System (WIDA AMS) User Guide. All orders must be placed between October 13-November 22 for schools or districts to receive materials during the shipment window. Pre-ID labels will be included in the initial materials shipment regardless of materials ordered.


  1. Log in to WIDA AMS.
  2. Choose Materials>Materials Ordering.
  3. Choose the administration WY ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 2021-22.
  4. Choose Show Materials.

View the Ordering Materials tutorial in the WIDA ACCESS for ELLs training course. You can access the training course on the WIDA Secure Portal by logging in at the top right corner of the homepage. Once logged in, you will select the appropriate training course.

wida ams


  • A Test Administrator must be a certified teacher and have completed the certification requirements for the assessments being given. District Test Coordinators and Test Administrators must know whose responsibility it is to administer assessments and the training requirements  (based on the test that you are administering). Inappropriate test administration may result in incomplete or the delay of accurate scores, and possibly the resetting student’s annual EL targets.
  • Wyoming requires annual certification to administer an English Language Proficiency Screener. Certification includes completion of training courses and appropriate quizzes. After completing the necessary training modules and quizzes, Test Administrators (TA’s) are prepared to administer an approved Screener.
  • Wyoming requires biennial certification for TA’s to administer the ACCESS for ELLs or ALT ACCESS for ELLs English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA). Although ACCESS Training is not a yearly requirement, annual completion is recommended. If  ACCESS for ELLs training is not completed annually, Refresher Training is recommended.
  • EL District Test Coordinators should keep a file with a current list of TAs and verification of annual and biannual certification dates. This must be easily accessible during monitoring visits with WDE staff. View and print training certificates on the My Account and Secure Portal page by clicking on "My Training Certificate."


The WIDA MODEL Online 2020 Field Test Technical Report describes the recent WIDA MODEL Online content refresh and field test. If you participated in the content refresh or field test, read the report to learn more about WIDA MODEL Online. Find the report in the Resource Library on the WIDA website, filter by topic selecting WIDA MODEL.


New On-Demand Lineup Available Now

Educators can participate in the following seven on-demand eWorkshops which are available through August 2022.

  • Classroom Teachers: Engaging Multilingual Newcomers.
  • Developing Language for Learning in Mathematics.
  • Home Languages in the Classroom.
  • Leading for Equity: Classroom Walkthrough.
  • School Improvement Planning for Multilingual Learners.
  • Social Studies: Engaging Multilingual Learners through Inquiry.
  • The WIDA ELD Standards Framework: A Collaborative Approach.

Visit the eLearning webpage for course descriptions, a promotional flyer, a PowerPoint and more. Self-Paced eWorkshops can be found in the redesigned WIDA Secure Portal. From the homepage, select Professional Learning and browse a list of available courses.


wida 2021 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.

The 2021 WIDA eConference has reached capacity and registration is now closed. Individuals interested in attending may join the waitlist and will be contacted if space becomes available. The waitlist and additional conference information are available on the 2021 eConference website.

View the agenda and register here.


The Data Collection Spreadsheet Has Been Revised

The New WIDA Screener for Kindergarten is being field tested to gather baseline data, establishing proficiency level criteria.

  • The Excel spreadsheet has been updated to also collect scores from the accountability screener used in your district, KW-APT or MODEL.
  • The deadline for the field study has been extended. All data must be submitted by November 12, 2021.
  • Regardless of proficiency results, a minimum of 50% of the same students screened for accountability should also be screened using the new WIDA Screener for Kindergarten within 2-3 days of administering the KW-APT or MODEL.
  • When administering the New WIDA Screener for Kindergarten, students should be screened using only the Listening and Speaking domains in the first semester and using all four domains for students entering in the second semester. Students in first grade, first semester may also be assessed with this screener using all four domains.


Active English Learner Identification Process

The identification of a student as an active English Learner in Wyoming is a three-step process:

  1. Identifying a student as a “potential EL” through the Home Language Survey (HLS), a questionnaire used to determine if the student might be in need of EL services. When a student enrolls in a Wyoming school district for the first time, parents are required to complete a Home Language Survey (HLS), which is created by districts with state guidance. To meet compliance, the HLS must include the following three questions:
    1. What language did your child learn when he/she first began communicating?
    2. What language does your child most frequently use at home?
    3. What language is used by you and your family most frequently at home?
  2. To ensure the HLS is accurately identifying English Learners in need of language-support services, districts must conduct a Follow-up Family Interview with the person who completed the HLS, for any student identified as a “potential EL.” The family interview can be informal or formal depending on the situation, but must be documented and attached to the HLS. This step will help the district better understand a student’s background and the extent to which it may inform instructional decisions in the classroom.
  3. An English Language Proficiency (ELP) Screening Assessment is the third step and provides a score which indicates a student’s level of English proficiency. The three (3) ELP screeners currently approved for use in Wyoming are the KW-APT, the Kindergarten MODEL and the WIDA Screener. For grades 1-12, districts are required to use the WIDA Screener, which is a flexible, on-demand assessment that can be administered at any time during the school year and is available in two formats: online and paper. Certification and knowledge of the appropriate screener for students is required for all EL Test Administrators.


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


  • September 13-December 24: Considerations when Educating Bilingual Learners with Identified Learning Disabilities (Self-Paced eWorkshop).
  • October 5: Technology Installations Webinar.
  • October 12: Ordering Materials in WIDA AMS Webinar.
  • October 13-November 22: ACCESS Test Materials Ordering via WIDA AMS.
  • October 14: 2021 WIDA eConference.
  • October 19: ACCESS Test Scheduling Q&A Webinar.
  • October 20 & 27: Planning with the WIDA ELD Standards Framework.
  • November 9: Technology Coordinator Support for Test Administrators Webinar.
  • November 15: Follow-up Zoom meeting for Participants of Self-Paced eWorkshop: Considerations when Educating Bilingual Learners with Identified Learning Disabilities.
  • November 16: Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs for New Test Administrators Webinar.
  • November 18: Managing Students in WIDA AMS Webinar.
  • November 23: Alternate ACCESS for ELLs for New Test Administrators.
  • November 30: ACCESS for ELLs Overview Webinar.
  • December 1-February 25: WIDA AMS Test Setup Available.
  • December 7: ACCESS Managing Online Test Sessions Webinar.
  • January 4-6: ACCESS Test Materials Received in District.
  • January 4: ACCESS Managing Online Test Sessions Webinar.
  • January 5-February 18: ACCESS Additional Test Material Ordering Window in WIDA AMS.
  • January 6: ACCESS Technology Troubleshooting Webinar.
  • January 18-February 25: ACCESS & ALT ACCESS Assessment Window.
  • January 27: ACCESS Paper - Returning Materials Webinar.
  • February 1: ACCESS Online - Monitoring Completion for Test Coordinators Webinar.
  • March 1: ACCESS Deadline for Shipping Completed Test Materials to DRC.
  • March 8: ACCESS Post-Testing: Data Validation.
  • March 15: Interpreting Score Reports Webinar.
  • 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.