ESOL/ELL Program

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) and English Language Learners (ELL) program began in 1989, when a large number of students enrolled whose families were not native English users.  Early on, FSDB recognized the need to meet the unique language needs of these students and their families, and in response implemented the ESOL/ELL program.  One year later, the Florida Consent Decree was passed by the state legislature, and all districts were ordered to provide such services.  We are proud that FSDB was in the forefront of serving children with special language needs.

The goal of the ESOL/ELL program is to foster and support cross-cultural understanding while helping students who are deaf/hard of hearing learn English and American Sign Language (ASL), and students who are blind/visually impaired learn English and braille. The ESOL/ELL program currently has three language facilitators and 10 translators specializing in Arabic, French, German, Haitian Creole, Spanish and Russian.

The ESOL/ELL Program:

  • Addresses the needs of each child in the program.
  • Develops positive relationships with families from other countries.
  • Provide communication and assistance to families from other countries regardless of ESOL status.
  • Performs initial assessments in English, and in the native language, if possible.  If the student is deaf, the assessment is done in ASL, and, if feasible, in the sign language of the country of origin.
  • Employs bilingual or multilingual highly qualified and certified staff members.
  • Provides language facilitators who are fluent in both English and the child’s native language, if possible.
  • Offers Developmental Language Arts through ESOL and English 1, 2, 3 and 4 through ESOL classes at the high school and post-high school levels.
  • Promotes cultural awareness and understanding and encourages diversity in the ESOL program by implementing academic units and field trips.
  • Provides written and oral foreign language translations in Arabic, French, Haitian Creole and Spanish.  Other languages are provided as needed.
  • Distributes Trilingual Packets that includes an English/Spanish/ASL CD as well as resources for parents and educators.
  • Provides ESOL/ELL training for staff members.
  • Provides equal access to curriculum.

TRES & ELL Links

Trilingual Receptive and Expressive I and II Screening Assessment (TRES I & II).  A federal Title VII Bilingual Enhancement grant enabled FSDB to develop and disseminate the TRES. The assessment was field-tested at FSDB, and is shared with every district in Florida. TRES I & II is a tool used to determine eligibility for the ESOL program. Download the assessment in entirety. We welcome comments or suggestions.

District ELL Plan.  School districts throughout Florida are required to submit an ELL District Plan to the to the Office for Student Achievement through Language Acquisition (SALA) within the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE). All plans are approved by SALA every three years. Learn about key FLDOE SALA sections that must be included in every ELL District Plan. Review the FSDB ELL District Plan for 2016-2019, the FSDB ELL 2016-2019 plan approval, and download the FSDB ELL Instructional Model.

For more information, contact:

Betsy Sotillo-Gaura
Director, English for Language Learners (ELL)
904.827.2645 FAX

Iris Guevara-Santiago
ELL Staff Interpreter/Translator

Kathy McManus
ELL Teacher for the Blind

Maria Hernandez
ELL Specialist for the Deaf