Skip to Content
April 15, 2024 Clouds | 64°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 2: Definitions

Section 2. Definitions

As used in this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

''Commissioner'', the commissioner of elementary and secondary education.

''Department'', the department of elementary and secondary education.

''District'', the school department of a city or town or regional school district, including charter schools.

''Dual language education'' or ''2–way immersion'', a program designed to promote bilingualism and biliteracy, cross-cultural competency and high levels of academic achievement for both native English speakers and English learners from a single language background; provided, however, that students shall develop and maintain their first language while adding a second language and shall receive the same core curriculum as all students in the state; provided further, that the instruction for such students shall be provided in 2 languages throughout the program; and provided further, that ''2–way immersion'' programs may begin in the early grades, including pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, and may continue through the secondary level.

''English as a second language'', instruction designed to help students become proficient in English and learn content simultaneously by providing systematic, explicit and sustained language instruction to develop the high level of English language proficiency needed for academic achievement; provided, that ''English as a second language'' instruction may focus on academic language and developing the ability of a student to listen, speak, read and write in English across a variety of social and academic contexts, to promote language development and support content area learning of the English learner in grade-level academic classrooms.

''English language classroom'' means a classroom in which the language of instruction used by the teaching personnel is overwhelmingly the English language, and in which such teaching personnel are fluent and literate in English. English language classrooms encompass both English language mainstream classrooms and sheltered English immersion classrooms.

''English language mainstream classroom'' means a standard classroom, one in which the students either are native English language speakers or already have acquired reasonable fluency in English.

''English learner'', a student who does not speak English or whose native language is not English, and who is not currently able to perform ordinary classroom work in English.

''Foreign language'', a language other than English.

''Language acquisition program'', an instructional program for English learners that includes English language instruction as a component to achieve fluency.

''Sheltered English immersion'' means an English language acquisition process for young children in which nearly all classroom instruction is in English but with the curriculum and presentation designed for children who are learning the language. Books and instruction materials are in English and all reading, writing, and subject matter are taught in English. Although teachers may use a minimal amount of the child's native language when necessary, no subject matter shall be taught in any language other than English, and children in this program learn to read and write solely in English. This educational methodology represents the standard definition of ''sheltered English'' or ''structured English'' found in educational literature.

''Transitional bilingual education'', a program designed to allow English learners to achieve long-term academic success through English-medium instruction in general education classrooms; provided, however, that the native language of the English learner is used to support the student's development of English and content learning and is then gradually phased out of instruction as a student's English proficiency increases; and provided further, that ''transitional bilingual education'' may be initiated at any level, including middle and high school, but shall not be intended as a method of instruction for a student's entire academic career.