Columbia Heights Public Schools provides high-quality English Learner (EL) instruction.  Our goal is to provide access to grade-level content while developing students’ English language proficiency.  Our teachers provide responsive instruction that meets the linguistic, cultural and academic needs of each student. 

We encourage the use and development of home language as an asset that students can use to build their academic vocabulary and content knowledge.  Our EL teachers use their expertise to scaffold core content and to meet the language needs of each student.  Additionally, EL teachers work closely with classroom teachers to provide resources on best practices for EL students.
Click here to view contact information for the EL teachers at each school.

Columbia Heights uses the WIDA ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT) for identification purposes. Students are tested for EL on the basis of the Home Language Questionnaire.  Our Placement Center staff also uses previous school records and family consultation for placement in EL services.

EL Service Model

  • Elementary
    • In elementary grades K-5, Columbia Heights Public Schools delivers high quality English language service through the collaborative co-teaching model. Students are clustered in  mainstream classrooms according to their academic language needs. With one EL teacher per grade level, the teacher teams are able to plan and deliver instruction together during literacy and math instruction. All students benefit from small guided groups and individualized instruction. Newcomer EL students benefit from additional pull-out groups during which the teacher pre-teaches concepts and vocabulary for upcoming  lessons, or reinforces current concepts and oral language.
  • Columbia Academy
    • Columbia Heights Public Schools delivers high quality English language service in the middle grades through the collaborative co-teaching model as well content area language development courses. All EL students are integrated in the school-wide community of learners including STAR advisory, the arts and SIOP. 
    • Newcomers in Level 1 and Level 2 receive sheltered EL instruction. The beginning EL courses focus on language development through all content areas.  Our school district uses the English Now! program to accelerate language acquisition and to expose beginning students to science and social studies content. WIDA English Language Development and state academic standards are embedded into the curriculum. Students work toward developing basic reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in English.
    • Intermediate and advanced ELL students work toward mastering reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in English. Based on individual language needs, some students build literacy skills through Scholastic Read 180 reading intervention. 
    • Our EL students benefit from the collaboration of EL and math teachers for their math instruction.
    • Heritage Spanish is available for Spanish-speaking students.  This class provides culturally-appropriate native language literacy instruction.  Research shows that higher levels of literacy in a student’s first language transfers to greater literacy skills in a learned language.
  • Columbia Heights High School
    • The EL instruction for high school includes both sheltered instruction with EL teachers to support the core curriculum and collaborative instructive teams for Math and Science. Our EL students are provided high levels of support for core classes at lower levels of language proficiency and receive sheltered instruction at higher levels.

Jane Riordan
EL/Family Engagement Coordinator
Phone: 763-528-4505
1440 49th Ave NE, Columbia Heights, MN, 55421