Multilingual Learner (ML) Program

  • Decrease Text Size
  • Increase Text Size

The Olympia School District Multilingual Learner Program

The Olympia School District values multilingualism and views the cultural and linguistic diversity of our students as an asset that makes each classroom, school, and the whole district stronger, more innovative and better prepared for a global society. Our staff is committed to providing high quality education programs designed to ensure students from all backgrounds are served in an equitable and inclusive environment. Classroom teachers provide students with meaningful access to grade level curricula throughout the school day as students acquire the English language skills needed to achieve their full academic potential. Multilingual Learner (ML) program staff serve each eligible student by providing individualized language support designed to ensure ML students acquire full English proficiency as quickly and effectively as possible. 

ML Program Facts


  • About 2.5% of the total student population (approximately 250-275 students) qualify for ML program services.

  • ML students are enrolled in 17 of the district’s K-12 schools.

  • Our students come from various cultures and speak over 25 different languages including Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese, which are the most prevalent.

  • Over 79% of our ML students showed progress toward or reached English language proficiency in 2022. (ESSA Accountability Data Report 4/2022)

  • Our district has one of the highest transition rates in the state. In 2022, 28.6% of our ML students achieved English language proficiency. (2022 OSPI Data Report for Title III/TBIP)

  • The number of eligible ML students in the district has increased by 37% since 2008. (OSPI Report Card)


How does a student qualify for the District's ML program?

In Washington state, the qualification process for the ML program begins when a parent or guardian enrolls their child and completes a Home Language Survey. If the returned survey indicates that a language other than English was the first language learned or is currently used by the student, then his/her English language proficiency must be assessed. The WIDA (World Class Instructional Design and Assessment) is the language proficiency test used in Washington schools. This assessment measures a student’s English language knowledge and skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The WIDA language screener is used to determine initial eligibility for the ML program. Continued eligibility is based on the annual WIDA ACCESS summative assessment. For additional information regarding the WIDA ACCESS please visit the website at


Family Guide to the WIDA ACCESS: What is the WIDA ACCESS?


  • The WIDA ACCESS assessment system measures a student’s proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, listening to, and understanding English.  

  • At the end of each school year, all designated MLs are required to take the WIDA ACCESS summative assessment. Results  from that assessment are used to determine whether a student still qualifies as a Multilingual learner or  whether a student has achieved a sufficient level of proficiency in English so that he or she no longer needs support  and can exit the school’s ML program.

  • Students that are virtual learning this year are required to take the WIDA ACCESS summative assessment.

  • This year, it will be administered Monday, January 30 to March 24, 2024.

  • Assessment results and continuing eligibility notifications will be released late Spring 2024.

  • Questions? Email Heather Randolph at [email protected] or contact your child’s ML Specialist.


ML Program Services

Supportive Mainstream is the language instruction model used in the Olympia School District. Under this model, classes are taught in English by content teachers that differentiate or modify lessons making them comprehensible for all students. Since ML students are expected to meet the same high academic standards as their native English speaking peers, it is important that they have access to all subject matter covered in their classrooms throughout the school day.

Each eligible ML student is assigned to a teacher endorsed in English as a Second Language. ML teachers are responsible for designing an individual language learning plan as well as evaluating and monitoring the language proficiency and academic progress of each of their ML students throughout the year. The ML teachers collaborate regularly with classroom teachers to ensure the language accommodation requirements of ML students are met. Varying levels of support are provided depending on the individual student needs, grade level, and stage of language development or English language proficiency. Some examples of language support include:


  • Push-in support: ML para-professionals provide supplemental language support to help students understand classroom routines, expectations, and core content. (Newcomers)

  • Team teaching/Co-teaching: the classroom teacher and the ML teacher work together to provide language support and core content simultaneously.

  • Professional Development for teachers of ML students to use language scaffolds in general education classrooms

  • Sheltered English classes: Capital High School, Olympia High School, Washington Middle School, and Thurgood Marshall Middle School offer an English Language Development (ELD) elective class taught by ML teachers to all qualifying ML students. OHS and CHS both offer credit bearing sheltered English ELA classes.

  • Extended Day programs: ML staff offer additional opportunities for language and/or literacy support before school or after school in a “homework club” type of environment at many schools.

  • Extended year services: ML program provides supplemental support and tuition for students enrolled in the district’s high school summer school program.


ML Program Staff

Heather Randolph: Director of Multilingual Services and Categorical Programs

[email protected]

Margaret Arnett: ML Specialist/Teacher 

Ben Leierer: ML Specialist/Teacher at CHS

Christine Kaufman: ML Specialist/Teacher at RES, BHES, and MES
Chelsea Peterson: ML Specialist/Teacher at OHS

Alison Eastlake: ML Specialist at RMS and WMS
Megan Rodriguez: ML Specialist/Teacher at JMS and TMMS

Marie Rubin: ML Specialist/Teacher at OHS

Tiffahni Ellison: ML Specialist/Teacher at LPBrown, CES, McLES, and PES


Alexandra Moffatt: ML Para-educator

Gustavo Portaro Moran: ML Para-educator

Jill Cross: ML Para-educator
Jue Lu: ML Para-educator
Karen Cleveland: ML Para-educator

Lamia Murphy: ML Para-educator 

Xiaona Quinn: ML Para-educator

Jose Arguelles: ML Para-educator

Santiago Armenta Rangel: ML Para-educator

For more information on the ML program and staff, contact the Teaching and Learning Department located in the Knox Administrative Center at:

111 Bethel Street NE.

Olympia, WA 98506

Phone 596-7540


Additional Information and Resources


Parent Involvement


Parents can support their child’s education in a number of ways:


  • Help your child maintain their native language by continuing to speak and read stories with your children in your language. Knowing more than one language is a skill to be valued and encouraged.

  • Encourage your child to pursue biliteracy by learning to read and write proficiently in your language.

  • Studies have shown that when children continue to learn their native language, it makes the process of learning English easier.

Interpretation/Translation Services

Under state and federal law, all parents have the right to information about their child’s education in a language they can understand.
Title IV Regulations | Chapter 28A.642 RCW | Chapter 392-190 WAC


For requests to speak with a school staff member, please complete the form below in your language and give it to the school's front office staff. If a language you need is unavailable, please contact Heather Randolph at [email protected].


To learn about the district interpretation and translation support please visit our
Language Access page.

Transitional Bilingual Instructional and Title III Programs

The State Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program (TBIP) is part of the Washington’s Basic Education Act-Chapter 28A.180 RCW. The federal Title III program supports supplemental instruction and services for language acquisition. Both programs provide funds to districts throughout the state to ensure equal educational opportunities for students from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds. The goal of these programs is to develop language proficiency that enables meaningful access to grade level curricula and instruction. For more information visit: State Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program.

Washington State Seal of Biliteracy

The Seal of Biliteracy was created to recognize the importance of learning a second language for all students whether English is their first language or not. Students who speak, read and write a language other than English can earn world language credits in high school by demonstrating proficiency on nationally recognized assessments. When a student is awarded the Seal of Biliteracy, it is noted on the student’s diploma and high school transcript. For more information on the Seal of Biliteracy visit: Washington State Seal of Biliteracy. Tests for STAMP are offered twice a year (Fall and Spring) at both CHS and OHS. Contact your school counselor or Heather Randolph at [email protected] for more information.