English Learners

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) works to ensure that students learning English, called English Learners (EL), have equal rights and access to a high-quality education.  MDE supports school districts and charter schools to offer research-based programs to help English Learners become proficient in English and to meet Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies learning standards. 

We offer professional development and support opportunities for educators to learn about teaching students who are English Learners. We also ensure that districts and charter schools receive and use money from the state and federal government along with district funds to support programs and services for English Learners, and help schools assess English Learners to measure progress.

Eligibility for English Learner Services

Students are eligible for English Learner programs and services if:

  1. Parent(s) complete the student’s Home Language Questionnaire (HLQ) listing a language other than English; and,
  2. Based on language tests, teacher recommendations and parent input about language skills, the student shows a need for English Learner services and instruction to gain skills in listening, speaking, reading, or writing academic English, the language needed for success in school.

Home Language Questionnaire (HLQ)
A home language questionnaire (HLQ ) is completed for all students who enroll in a district.  The HLQ is the first step in determining whether a student is eligible for English Learner programs and services.  How the student looks or sounds in English should not determine whether or not an HLQ is completed.  Districts and charter schools must determine the primary home language of ALL students.

Parent Notification of English Learner Services
When a student is first identified as an English Learner, the state requires that parents are notified of English Learner services available to the student.  Districts and charter schools that receive Title III funding from the federal government are required to notify parents every year that their child receives English Learner services.  All parents have the option of declining English Learner services.