Title III is a federal entitlement through ESSA that focuses on supplemental services for English Learners (EL) and recently arrived immigrants. The purpose of Title III funding is to provide student support for language acquisition and student achievement. Similar to other ESSA entitlement grants, the funding allocations are based on district student population. However, both grants have additional qualifying criteria or specific guidelines, such as a cap on administrative cost, threshold restrictions or distinct identification criteria.
English Learners account for almost ten percent of the Kindergarten through 12th-grade enrollment in Florida public schools, ranking third in the nation in EL student population. Although Spanish is the predominant language spoken by ELs (almost 75%), our English Learners speak more than 300 languages. Upon school enrollment, students complete a Home Language Survey (HLS) identifying if English is not their first language or if another language other than English is spoken in the home. Students are then assessed for proficiency in English listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. If assessment results determine linguistic support is needed to ensure academic success, students are placed in the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program and can be provided Title III services.
The primary focus of the ESOL and Title III programs is to ensure that our EL students are learning English while meeting rigorous state content area standards. Title III funding can assist the Local Educational Agency (LEA) by providing academic and linguistic support through additional bilingual staff, supplemental instructional materials, and language acquisition software. In accordance with ESSA guidelines, our ELs are assessed annually on English listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills through the ACCESS for ELL assessments developed through the WIDA consortium.
The WIDA Consortium is a member-based organization made up of U.S. states, territories, and federal agencies dedicated to the research, design, implementation, and assessment of a high-quality, standards-based system for K-12 English language learners.