the Olympia School District logo, a line drawing of the capitol dome with the Letters O, S, and D at the base


School District

1113 Legion Way SE
Olympia, WA 98501
Office: (360) 596-6100

English Language Learners Program (ELL)

The Olympia School District's English Language Development (ELL) program provides support for those students whose first language is a language other than English and who qualify for supplemental services. Currently there are approximately 200 eligible English language learners (ELLs) in the district. Our ELL population is quite diverse with over 20 different languages and cultures represented. To help build a sense of community, students are served in their neighborhood schools.  Almost all the schools in the district have students in the ELD program and enjoy the benefits of the cultural and language diversity.

Sheltered Instruction, also known as content-based ESL, is the language instruction model used to accommodate the needs of our English language learners (ELLs) in the district. Classroom teachers differentiate or modify their lessons to make the content understandable for each of the students in their class. Since ELL students are expected to meet the same high academic standards as their native English speaking peers it is important that students be able to understand all subject matter taught throughout their school day. All academic areas such as math, science, and social studies are taught to ELL students using English to communicate instruction while utilizing Sheltered Instruction strategies. 

Though the majority of language instruction takes place in the general education classroom, each eligible ELL student is also assigned an endorsed ELL teacher who evaluates and monitors their English language proficiency and progress. The ELL teacher determines a service plan to best support each student’s individual language needs and collaborates with the classroom teacher(s) to meet the language accommodation requirements of their students. Some ELL students receive supplemental support from either their ELL teacher or a para-professional trained in ELD strategies. Support can be provided in a variety of ways depending on the language needs and stage of development of the student.  Students may require service in small groups, or individually, while some may be better served through extra help in the classroom. An English Language Development (ELD) class is available as an elective for all qualifying high school ELL students. For those students performing at grade level, the ELL teacher may monitor their progress as a form of service.

How does a student qualify for the District’s ELL program?

The ELD program’s qualifying process begins when the parent or guardian enrolls the student and completes the Home Language Survey.  All students in the district are given this survey during the enrollment process. If it is returned indicating that a language other than English was the first language learned by the student then their English language proficiency is tested using the state’s placement test called the Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment (WELPA). Students scoring at Beginning (Level 1), Intermediate (Level 2), or Advanced (Level 3) qualify for ELD program services. Students who score Transitional (Level 4) are not eligible for ELD supplemental services.

Each student’s English language proficiency skills must be reassessed each year using the state’s annual WELPA to determine continued eligibility. When a student reaches Transitional (Level 4), they no longer qualify for state and federally funded ELD support.

ELD Program Staff

Gayle Mar-Chun: ELL Program Director/Administrator
Carol Richardson: ELL Program Coordinator
Margaret Arnett: ELL Teacher
Ineke Berhitoe: ELL Teacher
Jill Johnson: ELL Teacher
Rebecca Hughes: ELL Teacher


For more information on program staff contact the Student Support Office located in Room 310 on the third floor of the Knox Administrative Center at:

1113 Legion Way SE.
Olympia, WA 98501
Phone 596-7532

State Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program

The State Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program (STBIP) is the branch of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) that provides funding through grants that help support the district’s ELD program.

STBIP with the involvement of parents, educators, and community, is committed to addressing the unique needs of students from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds and to help them achieve the high content and performance standards expected of all students in Washington State. The program helps English Language Learners (ELLs) to become proficient in English and to meet state learning standards.

Learn more about The State Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program (state) and Title III (federal)

Link to the Bilingual Education Program brochure for parent’s translated into 16 languages:

Immigrant Students' Rights to Attend Public Schools

Know Your Rights: A Guide for Public School Students in Washington

English | Spanish

Help Ensure that Immigrant Students Have Access to Educational Opportunities
(English-Spanish handout)

Parents' Guide to School Board Advocacy in Washington

Spanish                     English

Office for Civil Rights

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces a variety of federal statutes prohibiting discrimination by recipients of federal education funds. The OCR focuses on encouraging voluntary compliance with civil rights laws by providing policy guidance, staff training, and technical assistance.

STBIP Bilingual Education Program brochure for parent’s link:

Multilingual Resources for Parents

Your Child's Progress: Learning Goals for the School Year
A short handout that broadly covers learning expectations and basic information on state testing in grades K-10. Available for grades K–10 in the following languages:

Cambodian | Chinese | Korean | Punjabi | Russian | Somali | Spanish | Tagalog | Vietnamese

Help Ensure that Immigrant Students Have Access to Educational Opportunities
(English-Spanish handout)

Parents' Guide to School Board Advocacy in Washington

Spanish | English

Resources for Classroom Teachers

Washington State Language Proficiency (ELP)