English Learners (ELs)

A variety of resources are available to support schools and teachers in serving their English learners (ELs) and to improve student learning using research-based practices. English Learners are among the fastest-growing populations in our schools. They comprise about 10 percent of the student population across the nation and about six percent of the student population in Iowa. At Northwest AEA, we serve around 5,200 ELs within our public and nonpublic schools who speak more than 55 languages.  

According to Iowa Code section 280.4, “Limited English proficiency” means a student’s language background is in a language other than English, and the student’s proficiency in English is such that the probability of the student’s academic success in an English-only classroom is below that of an academically successful peer with an English language background.” The term English Learner will replace the term Limited English Proficient.

Areas of Support

Northwest AEA EL Consultants assist and support schools in improving the English language acquisition of their ELs through the district's Language Instruction Educational Programs (LIEPs).  Consultants:

  • Help districts meet state and federal guidelines
  • Provide consultation for educators and administrators of ELs
  • Provide professional development focusing on the learning needs of ELs
  • Host monthly EL networking zoom meetings

Office of Civil Rights

Lau (EL) Plan Guidance

Department of Education Links to English Learner Information

TransAct Parent Notification Documents

  • Transact – This website is where documents that communicate to parents about EL programming and assessment in their native language are located. 
  • English Learner Identification and Forms – You will find all the documents required by the state of Iowa as well as an additional optional document.  The context in which to use each document is listed in the table provided. (Provided by Hearthland AEA) 

Assessment of English Learners

ELPA21 Information:

ELPA21 Links

ELPA21 Required Assessments

ELPA21 Standards Training (6 Modules)

National Conferences



  • Colorin colorado - is the premier national website serving educators and families of English language learners (ELLs) in Grades PreK-12. Colorín Colorado has been providing free research-based information, activities, and advice to parents, schools, and communities around the country for more than a decade.
  • Go-To-Strategies - Scaffolding options for teachers of English Langauge Learners, K-12
  • United for Life for Literacy - We picture a world where all families have access to an abundance of  books that celebrate their languages and cultures and cultivate a  lifelong love of reading.
  • Bilingual Glossaries and Cognates - These glossaries are to provide permitted testing accommodations of ELL/MLL students. They should also be used for instruction during the school year. These glossaries may be downloaded, printed and disseminated to educators, parents and ELLs/MLLs.
  • News In Levels - World news for students learning English.  News is written in three different levels of English.  Students can enjoy reading and listening to the news. 
  • Iowa Core EL Resources - We are excited to let you know that EL Resources related to Standards, Assessment, and Professional Learning have been added to the Iowa Core webpage.  Please check it out and share with your colleagues.  The resources are intended for EL teachers and content teachers who teach English learners. 
  • Culture Grams - Find reliable cultural information on the countries of the world.
  • Gale - Gale eResources offers screened and reliable content from magazines, newspapers, and reference materials. This resource is part of AEA Digital Resources, a virtual library that provides no-cost access to 12 high-quality, web-based resources for accredited public and non-public PreK-12 schools. AEA Digital Resources is funded and supported by Iowa's Area Education Agencies.  Gale has Google translation. Some of the translated languages have text-to-speech, such as Spanish.

Title III Funding

Please contact Sherri Anderson or call 712-222-6264 to learn more about Northwest AEA’s Title III Reimbursement Process.

Northwest AEA EL Lending Library

Northwest AEA’s EL Lending Library has a variety of EL materials and teacher resources for educators.  Please contact Carla Roghair or call 712-222-6135 for more information.

Important contacts

Staff Directory
Image thumbnail for Sherri Anderson

Sherri Anderson

Educational Consultant

712-222-6264 Email Sherri Anderson