Sunday, August 16, 2009

Home Language Survey...

I just finished filling out my 4th set of school registration paperwork in the last month or so, and each time I've come to the "home language survey" I've sat on it just a minute before proceeding...

At home we do both English and ASL, so when it says "Is a language other than English spoken in the home?" I put YES. Then I put English and ASL. I did this for all 3 little ones, but for K- since he doesn't require any ASL at school, I didn't put ASL. I think that if I'm requesting that the teachers/aides do ASL with the kids, I should write it on the home language survey as well.

And for the question "Was the child's first language one other than English?" Again, I put YES for Micah and Emma... and I put Russian. No, they didn't speak it, because they didn't speak. But they had to acquire the English language later in life, and I think that's important to note.

I do wonder what they even use that for??

Do YOU put ASL if you sign in the home? Hmm...


  1. Meredith, a dear friend of mine checked yes to the second language question while filling out her high school admittance paperwork. Her home is bilingual. Well, she was moritfied when she was required to take an English competency test before being allowed to enroll! This is a child who graduated 8th grade with straight A's from a very good local Catholic school. She was so embarrassed that they forced her to prove herself before they would let her enroll! She went on to graduate CBHS in the IB program at the top of her class. She showed them! She is currently at U of F, again, straight A's.
    Anyway, that should answer your question about what they do with that info.

  2. To be honest, I never thought of it. I probably would have put no, even if I did think of it, lol. That's because I would have thought they were asking me if something else was our primary language, like Spanish. Does that make sense. Of course, they may not be meaning that at all...hmmm...wish they'd let us in on WHY they ask it, that can effect the way we answer.

  3. The form I filled out for the boys asked if english was their first language and I said no. I don't remember a question that asked if any other languages were spoken in the home. I don't think that was on there. We did, however, have to fill out a form thats underlying purpose was to identify families of migrant workers. BUT, it asked if you've moved to a different state in the past 5 years and if so, how many times and from that was interesting for the boys...LOL!

    I would guess that the questions you answered are to determine if the children need ESL classes.

  4. I am enrolling my twins in the first year of school and we had to fill out the questionnaire. My kids native language is English, though their best language is Hungarian, they are fluent in Hungarian Sign Language and yes, they have been educated in Hebrew for two years.

    Both teachers raised an eyebrow and then moved on. Both of them are olim, arrived in Israel as young teens, so they weren't that freaked out. They just signed my sons up in the native English speaker class. For an extra fee. :-)

  5. The HLS helps determine whether a child needs to be tested to determine LEP (Limited English Proficiency) status. I would say Micah and Emma's 1st language is English because they never spoke Russian or probably even remember it.
    If they were to be tested and found to be non English proficient, they may be placed in ESL classes. However, I think the ESL teacher would not consider them non-native English speakers at this point.

  6. We didn't have that exact question, but I did put down that we are using sign language with Emily on her preschool paperwork due to speech problems from her cleft palate. She's only 3 and she can communicate pretty well even without sign (at a 3-yo level) so I don't think it will be an issue. Her preschool teacher does know a little sign, however, and I went over a couple of the important ones with her at orientation ("bathroom"! LOL).

  7. It is required by OCR (Office of Civil Rights)as part of the local agency's obligation to identify and serve English Language Learners and arises from anti-discrimination legislation.

    School district's are required not to discriminate against students and families who do not speak English. That requirement has been interpreted to require services to the students and documentation in the parents' language, including if necessary a translator at meetings.

    The Home Language survey is the first step in this process, and many school district's require English competency testing before allowing student's to opt out of ELL programs. Some state Departments of Education have entered into consent decrees with OCR promising to use this process, so all districts in those states will require the surveys as part of the registration process.