The Multilingual Learner Education Department oversees all aspects of Multilingual Learner (Formerly known as English Learner, or EL) students as well as the dual-language program and world language instruction across the district.

The Multilingual Learner Education Department oversees all aspects of Multilingual Learner (Formerly known as English Learner, or EL) students as well as the dual-language program and world language instruction across the district.


In the Salem Public Schools, every multilingual learner will have access to a rigorous and equitable curriculum and instruction that is asset-based, language-driven, and accessible for students at all levels. Our educators are committed to helping our students become independent learners whose backgrounds are valued and who lead the instruction happening in their classrooms through authentic, student-centered learning experiences.

What is Multilingual Learner Instruction

In the Salem Public Schools, we receive students who speak a variety of different languages and represent a plethora of different cultures and backgrounds. These students are an asset to our classrooms, schools, and community, and we value them highly. Students who are learning English as an additional language receive “English Language Development” classes and they also learn English through sheltered instruction in every single classroom they have with their teachers in literacy, math, science, social studies, and elective classes.

We proudly support students who are learning English as a new language. Our students represent 30 countries and speak 26 different languages!

We serve and support Multilingual Learner’s language development in many ways:

Most classrooms are Sheltered English Immersion (SEI). This means that Multilingual Learners participate in classes with all peers, whether they are Multilingual Learners or native English speakers. In these classes, the student’s teachers are experts on making the learning accessible and rigorous for all students.

Most Multilingual Learners take an English Language Development (ELD) class where they focus on growing their English skills. During this time, they are with a Multilingual Learner Teacher and other Multilingual learners.

In some schools, Multilingual Learners receive Co-Taught Instruction. This means that they have a content teacher and a Multilingual Learner Teacher in the classroom. This allows them to receive language and content instruction at the same time.

Dual Language Program

The Spanish-English Dual Language Program at Bentley Academy Innovation School is an exciting opportunity for Salem students to grow to master two languages, beginning in kindergarten!

A Message From Multilingual Learner Education Director, André Fonseca:


Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to be a Multilingual Learner?

Multilingual Learners (Formerly known as English Learners or ELs) are students who speak a language other than English and who require academic support to develop their English language skills socially and/or academically. MLs are among the most diverse student groups in Massachusetts!

How will I know if my child is a Multilingual Learner?

Multilingual Learners are identified through a language screening test. Parents/guardians fill out the Home Language Survey in the kindergarten registration packet and are then contacted by a bilingual language evaluator for an interview and to determine if testing, which consists of short listening and speaking activities, is necessary. 

My child speaks a language other than English at home. How will they be taught in kindergarten?

There are two options! At every school in Salem, there is General Education Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) and at the Bentley Academy, there is a two-way dual language (DL) Spanish-English program.

How will my child learn English in the General Education SEI program?

MLs in kindergarten in General Education SEI spend their day learning with a kindergarten teacher alongside bilingual and native English speaking peers.  An ML teacher who specializes in language development will teach your child for a block of time daily, between 45-90 minutes, to support his/her oral language and reading.

How will my child learn English in the Dual Language (DL) Program?

MLs in the dual language program at Bentley become bilingual and biliterate in both English and Spanish!  Students in the DL Program in kindergarten spend the majority of their day learning to speak, read, write, and understand Spanish with peers who are native English speakers, native Spanish speakers, or who speak a third language.  Students learn to read and write in Spanish first, and then add on English literacy over their elementary years leaving elementary school being fully bilingual and biliterate in both Spanish and English.  Learning to read in Spanish first provides an important base of literacy to learn English.

How can I support my child at home learning English?

Keep speaking and reading to your child in your home language!  Bilingual brains use both languages to help make meaning–it isn’t confusing; it helps your child build on his/her skills.

English Learners Parent Advisory Council

Who are we?

We are ELPAC!
We are parents or guardians of children who are learning English (ESL), or learning two languages (Dual Language)
We also advise the school district and the School Committee about issues related to children who are learning English.

All families of English Learners are welcome! We meet 5 times a year. If you are interested in joining us, we would love to have you!

Our meeting schedule for the 2021-2022 school year (all meetings are on Thursday evenings):

  • January 13, 2022, 6:00 – 7:30 PM
  • March 17, 2022, 6:00 – 7:30 PM
  • May 19, 2022, 6:00 – 7:30 PM

For more information or information about how to join our meetings, please contact:

Nancy Meacham or Daylin Muñoz
Telephone: 978-740-1161