English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program


    A high-performing school district where all English Learners love to learn, teachers inspire, limited English families engage, and the community values linguistic and cultural diversity.


    Through a caring culture of equity, trust, and collaboration, every APS English Learner will graduate ready for college, career, and life. 

    Program Goals

    The English to Speakers of Other Languages Program of Atlanta Public Schools provides English Learners with support and instruction in the English language, American culture, and academic and cognitive areas in order to ensure success in the classroom, school, and the community. The goals of the program are as follows:

    1. To develop competency in English in all four domains of language: listening, speaking, reading and writing;
    2. To integrate language, cognitive and academic instruction that enables students to develop English language proficiency and content area knowledge;
    3. To support the curriculum based on the Georgia Standards of Excellence while emphasizing social and academic language proficiency;
    4. To orient students and parents to the American culture and enable them to participate successfully in school and community life;
    5. To ensure grade-level appropriate content for all ELs regardless of English proficiency level;
    6. To ensure a focus on collaboration and shared accountability for the success of all English Learners.


    The English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) is a federally mandated instructional program for eligible English Learners (ELs) in grades K-12 (Georgia School Law Code 1981, § 20-2-156, enacted in 1985). The purpose of the ESOL instructional program is to provide English language development instruction and language support to eligible K-12 English Learners in Atlanta Public Schools for the purpose of increasing their English language proficiency and academic achievement.

    The APS ESOL program is a distinct program designed to provide ESOL language instruction to eligible students from certified ESOL teachers and outreach and engagement activities to all limited English proficient and immigrant families. The responsibility for educating the whole English Learner student is shared by the regular classroom teachers and the ESOL teachers. Classroom teachers, ESOL teachers, and other support staff collaborate to determine the necessary instructional scaffolds and language-focused activities to make language and content as comprehensible as possible for ELs throughout the school day. The WIDA Consortium English Language Development (ELD) standards, integrated with the Georgia Standards of Excellence, guide the work of teachers to ensure the diverse needs of students are met. All APS schools utilize the state-approved ESOL delivery models. ESOL class sizes are limited to the maximum size specified in State Board of Education Rule 160-5-1-.08 Class Size, and all designated ESOL teachers must hold the ESOL endorsement or certificate issued by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GAPSC).

    The APS Multlingual Services team provides ESOL parent and community engagement and outreach and language translation/interpretation services. Per federal law and affirmed in APS Board Policy LEBB, all school – home and district – home communication must be in a language that parents understand. The APS Multilingual Programs & Services team assists in bridging the cultural and linguistic divides that often exist between the school and home through language support services, workshops, classes, trainings, and events that meet the unique linguistic and cultural needs of immigrant and limited English proficient families and enhance their engagement with their child's school and the APS community.

    Title III, Part A – Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students

    Title III, Part A: Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as Amended under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) P.L> 115-141, enacted March 2018, is a distinct subgrant to eligible school districts. The Title III federal grant program is designed “to help ensure that English Learners (ELs), including immigrant children and youth, attain English proficiency and develop high levels of academic achievement in English.” [Sec. 3102 (1)]. Title III, Part A EL Language programs provide supplemental services and activities provided to EL students, their teachers, and their families above and beyond the schools’ legal obligations to English Learners and their limited English proficient parents. In Georgia, all federal programs services are provided within the System of Continuous Improvement Framework. (For more information, visit the Georgia Department of Education website.) In Atlanta Public Schools, Title III funds are used to provide evidence-based supplemental resources and programs to support identified ELs and immigrant students, develop staff, and engage EL and immigrant families. Title III, Part A is supplemental to the APS ESOL program, it is administered by the Multlingual Programs & Services department.

    Are you interested in becoming an APS ESOL Teacher?                                                                        

    APS is always looking for passionate, master educators who believe in the potential of our English Learner students and are committed to making a difference in their lives. Beginning in SY2024, APS ESOL teachers will earn a $3,000 stipend!

    APS ESOL Certification Requirements

    Elementary Level ESOL: Early Childhood and ESOL Endorsement/Certification

    Middle School Level ESOL: Middle Grades Core Content or 6 - 12 Core Content and ESOL Endorsement/Certification

    High School Languages: 6 - 12 Core Content and ESOL Endorsement/Certification

    The ESOL Endorsement Program is a three-course, 150 seat hour program approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission and offered under the supervision of MetroRESA. The APS ESOL Endorsement Program is a cohort model program for certified APS teachers and APS charter and partner school teachers who wish to add the endorsement to their existing Georgia teaching certificate. Announcements regarding endorsement opportunities are shared with all teachers each August. Interested teachers must attend one of the ESOL Endorsement Interest meetings and then submit a completed application to the Multilingual Programs + Services department with a completed principal recommendation form.

    If you are interested in finding out more about opportunities in APS ESOL or about the APS ESOL Endorsement program, contact Dr. Margaret McKenzie at mamckenzie@atlanta.k12.ga.us

    ESOL-focused Professional Learning                                                                                                           
    The Multilingual Programs + Services department provides numerous opportunities throughout the year for teachers, leaders, instructional support staff, and school support staff. Schools and departments may request PL sessions and workshops throughout the year. Please contact the respective ESOL Coordinator for more information. 

    ESOL Professional Learning Community

    All ESOL teachers will participate in quarterly PLC meetings. These sessions provide an opportunity to provide cohesive support and structure for the EOSL instructional program and to ensure the diverse needs of all ESOL and immigrant students are met. Registration for sessions is in KickUp.

    Professional Learning Workshops

    ESOL workshops are provided for ESOL and regular education teachers throughout the year. Information is posted in KickUp.  Schools may request PL sessions and workshops throughout the year. Please contact the respective ESOL Coordinator for more information.

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