English Learners Newsletter

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

English Learners Update Masthead

March 1, 2023


  • WIDA AMS Upgrade at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 9, 2023.
  • WIDA AMS Security Patch from 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, 2023 to 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 5, 2023.
  • Updated Supported System Requirements for ACCESS for ELLs Online and WIDA Screener Online have been posted to WIDA AMS. These system requirements are valid through Thursday, June 29, 2023.
  • WIDA AMS Test Setup Available for test sessions through the window dates listed below. To participate in WIDA Screener Online, students must be added to WIDA AMS and placed into test sessions. Add students and create test sessions independently, or add students to an existing test session.
    • Screener Test Setup: Thursday, June 30, 2022 to Thursday, June 29, 2023.
  • Contact DRC Customer Service with questions about testing material, Central Office Services (COS), and paper test material processing.
  • Contact the WIDA Client Services Center with questions about WIDA Secure Portal user accounts; ACCESS for ELLs; WIDA Screener; MODEL; score reports; TA procedures, training, and certification; Standards and Can Do Descriptors; and WIDA Early Years.
    • WIDA is available from 6 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 6 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday at help@wida.us or 866-276-7735.
  • Submit updated EL Coordinator contact information to the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) here.


  1. WIDA PRIME is now available. PRIME is a tool for aligning K-12 instructional materials with the WIDA ELD Standards Framework, 2020 Edition. 
  2. Honor a Wyoming Educator for supporting English Learners by submitting a nomination form. If your nominee is selected, a WIDA staff member will reach out to the educator directly.
  3. Call for WIDA Fellows Nominations. WIDA is seeking nominations of exemplary teachers of bilingual and multilingual learners for the next class of WIDA Fellows. Nominations are due by March 31, 2023. Self-nominations will not be accepted.


Photo of Dr. Elizabeth Price

Dr. Elizabeth Price

Elizabeth Price, Ph.D is an Assessment Consultant in the Standards and Assessment Division. Previous to working with the WDE, she ran a small business teaching leaders collaborative communication strategies. She began her career in education while studying and teaching thinking skills and dynamic assessment in Israel. Elizabeth then worked as a Special Education teacher in California and Tennessee, as a Special Education Assistant Director in Washington, and as a teacher-of-teachers all over the USA. Her doctorate is in Educational Psychology and Research from The University of Tennessee, and her master’s degree is in Special Education from California Polytechnic University. Elizabeth is interested in helping administrators and educators efficiently use ACCESS for ELLs and WY-ALT in a dynamic and relevant way to enhance student experiences.

Dr. Elizabeth Price, WDE Assessment Consultant, can be contacted at 307-777-5296 or elizabeth.price@wyo.gov.


EL Reporting Windows for March and May/June

  • The WDE684 Guidebook has detailed instructions for submitting EL student information.
  • The Forms Inventory can be accessed through the WDE website.
  • Upcoming Collection Times:
    • March 684 Collection:
      • Open for district reporting from March 1-15, 2023. 
      • EL errors reports will run starting on March 16, 2023. The final opportunity to fix errors will be March 30, 2023. 
      • No changes to the WDE684 demographic data will be made after March 30, 2023.
    • May/June 684 Collection: 
      • Open for district reporting from May 19-June 28, 2023.
  • Districts can receive WDE684 EL errors via the following two methods:
    • Districts will receive an email containing an Excel spreadsheet explicitly explaining errors.
    • Districts may go to the WDE website and download a report containing the errors.


Student Not Tested Form (SNTF)

  • It is the responsibility of the District Test Coordinator (DTC) to ensure all students complete ACCESS for ELLs or Alternate ACCESS for ELLs testing.
  • In the event a student does not complete all, or any domain of the ACCESS or Alternate ACCESS domain tests, the DTC must complete and submit a SNTF to the WDE as soon as possible.

Post Testing Training Available

  • Post Testing: Data Validation
    • This webinar provides information about validating and correcting student data. Join here at noon on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.
  • Post Testing: Interpreting Score Reports
    • This webinar covers how to interpret score report data and review general data corrections, as well as how to the scoring appeals process. Join here at noon on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

The Alternate ACCESS Field Test

  • All sites should have already received field test materials. 
  • The field test window is Tuesday, February 14-Monday, April 17, 2023.
  • For more information, visit the Alternate ACCESS Field Test web page.
  • Contact WIDA Client Services Center (CSC) at 1-866-276-7735 or DRC Customer Support at 1-855-787-9615 (TTY: 763-268-2889) for any questions regarding the Alternate ACCESS Field Test.

Transcription Guidance for the ALT-ACCESS Field Test

  • The Alternate ACCESS Field Test Test Administrator Manual has been updated to provide clarity around transcription guidance for the Speaking and Writing domains and the number of required test administrators.
  • During the Alternate ACCESS field test, WIDA will be gathering written transcriptions of student responses for the Speaking and Writing domains.These transcriptions will be used by WIDA to make improvements to scoring processes and procedures.
  • Since the Alternate ACCESS is already scored locally by the test administrator and not by DRC, two individuals do not need to be present for the transcription process.

ACCESS Pre-Reporting Data Validation Window

  • Review student information ahead of the March 18-31, 2023 reporting window.
  • Data validation is completed by the District Test Coordinator (DTC), but permissions may be given to Building Coordinators and/or Test Administrators.
  • Use WIDA AMS for data validation.
  • Pre-reporting data validation occurs before initial reporting and impacts reports (both printed and posted in WIDA AMS) and data files. 
  • Reports are generated following the close of data validation. 
  • WIDA AMS will be closed for editing when the data validation window closes while reports are being printed/posted to AMS.
  • Refer to User Guide Supplement: Data Validation for more information on how to complete data validation.
  • If a district or a school label was adhered to a booklet, but demographic information was not bubbled (or bubbled incorrectly), this information may be added or edited during Data Validation:
    • Demographic information.
    • Grades.
    • WISER ID#.
    • Middle names (initials).
    • Accommodations.
    • Student duplicate records.
  • If you have questions or need assistance with the Data Validation process, call 855-787-9615 or email WIDA@datarecognitioncorp.com.

For more information about EL assessments, contact Dr. Elizabeth Price, WDE Assessment Consultant, at 307-777-5296 or elizabeth.price@wyo.gov.


EL and Title III Funding Updates

  • The WDE EL Webinar will be held from 10-11:15 a.m. on Thursday, March 16, 2023.
  • The webinar offers guidance about topics specific to districts serving ELs, benefiting even those districts that do not currently serve EL students. The webinar will provide up-to-date, clarifying information on revisions to EL and Title III programs, processes, and documents. 
  • A Q&A session will follow.
  • Join the webinar via the Zoom online platform or dial 346-248-7799 and use Meeting ID: 985 0660 6068 and Passcode: 722244. 

For more information, contact Antoinette Hallam, EL Consultant, at 307-777-5214 or antoinette.hallam@wyo.gov.


Districts Must Submit Information by April 28, 2023

Once students have taken the required biliteracy tests and their scores show proficiency, the district can report the student information and test proficiency to the WDE through the WDE505 data collection. Refer to the Wyoming State Seal of Biliteracy Guidance for the assessment criteria to be met, as outlined on pages 5-6.

  • Districts may begin uploading student information during the WDE505 Collection Window, which is from April 10-28, 2023 for Spring 2023 Graduates.
  • To upload student information, a person must have a WyEd user account and password, along with the WDE505 credentials.
  • The WDE505 Guidebook includes all the steps to ensure that the required data has been submitted and that the reporting process is complete.
  • The WDE will contact districts when the SoBL cords and foil stickers are available.

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


Save the Date: May 5-6, 2023

  • The University of Wyoming, in partnership with Natrona County School District #1, will host the 2023 Wyoming ESL and DLI Conference.
  • The conference will be held at the Pathways Innovation Center in Casper, Wyoming. 
  • More information on registration for sessions will be available on the Wyoming ESL Conference website.
  • Subscribe to the email interest list to stay up-to-date on plans for the 2023 conference.

For more information, contact Dr. Jenna Shim, Professor and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, College of Education, University of Wyoming, at 307-766-3145 or jshim@uwyo.edu.


Teacher Leaders: Planning with the WIDA ELD Standards Framework eWorkshop

This eWorkshop consists of two training sessions (one webinar and one in-person training) occurring on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 and on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 (more details below). 

  • Educators and leaders will be able to integrate content and language learning by: 
    • Researching the architecture of a content unit. 
    • Setting unit language goals through unit and text analysis.
    • Identifying how language functions and features, thereby helping students convey meaning more effectively in content learning.
  • Trainings for this will include:
    • Webinar: 3:30-5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
    • In-person Workshop: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 in the Teton County School District #1 Boardroom, located at 1235 Gregory Lane, Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
  • PTSB .5 credit offered.
  • Register here for the training.

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


Supporting English Learners in the Mainstream Classroom

  • Nonlinguistic representation improves overall comprehension both for EL students and non-EL students.
    • Instructions, even basic directions for classroom procedures, should be written on the board whenever possible.
    • Challenging concepts should be diagrammed or supported with pictures.
    • Modeling the steps of a process or showing students what a finished product should look like can help students’ understanding.
  • Include more group work to keep students engaged.
    • That means including less teacher-led, whole-class instruction and encouraging more small group work, where students can practice language with their peers in a more personal, lower-risk setting.
  • Classroom and EL Teachers should collaborate with each other and share what students are learning.
  • Honor the “Silent Period” which is a normal stage in second language acquisition.
  • It is important to teach certain vocabulary words. 
    • Consider the whole list of terms you’re going to teach for a unit and omit those that are not essential to understanding the larger topic at hand.
  • Use sentence frames to give students practice with academic language.
  • Pre-teach and give students a chance to preview material before you present it.
  • Learn about the cultural background of your students.
  • For additional tips and advice on supporting ELs in the mainstream classroom, listen to this Podcast.


  • March 1-15: WDE684 March Collection Reporting Window.
  • March 7: ACCESS/ALT-ACCESS - Post Testing Data Validation Webinar.
  • March 14: ACCESS/ALT-ACCESS - Interpreting Score Reports Webinar.
  • March 15: Teacher Leaders - Planning with the WIDA ELD Standards Framework Webinar.
  • March 16: Spring Quarterly EL and Title III Webinar.
  • March 22: Teacher Leaders - Planning with the WIDA ELD Standards Framework In-Person Workshop (Jackson Hole, Wyoming).
  • April 10-28: WDE505 Collection Window for the Seal of Biliteracy.
  • April 25-26: WIDA Kindergarten ACCESS Bias, Sensitivity and Content Review Committee in Washington, D.C.
  • May 5-6: 5th Annual Wyoming ESL & DLI Conference (Casper, Wyoming).
  • May 9: Interpreting ACCESS for ELLs Score Reports Webinar.
  • May 11: WIDA Screener for Kindergarten Webinar.
  • May 18: Summer Quarterly EL and Title III Webinar.
  • May 19-June 28: WDE684 May/June Collection Reporting Window.
  • August 15: WIDA Screener for Kindergarten Webinar.
  • August 17: WIDA Screener Online Webinar.
  • August 31: Deadline to Complete WIDA Self-Paced eWorkshops.