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Chapter 2

This chapter discusses the Fort Worth Independent School District's (FWISD's) educational service delivery system and student performance measures in nine sections:

A. Student Performance
B. Instructional Resources
C. Dropout Prevention/Counseling/Alternative Schools
D. Compensatory Programs
E. Advanced Academic Services
F. Special Education Program
G. Bilingual Education Program
H. Career and Technology Education Program
I. Health and Wellness Services


A limited English proficient (LEP) student is defined as one whose primary language is other than English and whose English language skills are such that the student has difficulty performing ordinary class work in English. Subchapter B of Chapter 29 of the Texas Education Code sets forth state law on bilingual education. Each school district with 20 or more students of limited English proficiency in the same grade must offer bilingual education. This requirement means the district must offer dual language instruction in kindergarten through the elementary grades; instruction in English as a Second Language (ESL) or other transitional language instruction approved by TEA in post-elementary grades through the eighth grade; and instruction in ESL in grades 9 through 12.

TEC, Section 29.055 requires dual-language instruction to be a full-time program, with basic academic skills instruction in the primary language of the student and intensive instruction in English-language skills. The program should be designed to incorporate the cultural aspects of students' backgrounds. Bilingual education classes must be located within regular education campuses, not in separate facilities.

The goal of FWISD's bilingual education program is the same as the statewide goal established by the 1981 Texas Legislature: "Bilingual education or special language programs as defined by this Act shall be taught in the public schools only for the purpose of assisting the learning ability of limited English proficiency students and to enhance the English language."

The Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 89, Subchapter BB are the commissioner's rules that establish provisions to ensure equal educational opportunity for students of limited English proficiency as required by state law, TEC, Sections 29.051-29.064. According to the commissioner's rules, each district shall identify limited English proficient students based on criteria established by the State Board of Education; provide bilingual education and ESL programs as integral parts of the regular education program as described in TEC, Section, 29.053; seek certified personnel to ensure that limited English proficient students are afforded full opportunity to master the essential skills and knowledge required by the state; and assess achievement for essential skills and knowledge in accordance with state law, TEC, Chapter 39 to ensure accountability for limited English proficient students and the schools that serve them.

According to 1999-2000 AEIS data, FWISD had 19,678 identified LEP students (25 percent of the district's total enrollment). This percentage of identified LEP students was almost twice as high as the state percentage (13.9 percent of total population). Exhibit 2-46 shows that of these identified LEP students, 18,659 were enrolled in FWISD's bilingual/ESL program (not all identified LEP students are served in a bilingual/ELS program; for example, parents have the right to refuse to allow their child to be enrolled in these programs). This figure represents 23.7 percent of the district's total student enrollment.

Among FWISD and its peer districts, bilingual/ESL expenditures per student ranged from $306 to $2,101. FWISD's per student expenditure was $761, the second lowest among its peers and well below the state average of $1,040. FWISD's per pupil expenditures for bilingual/ESL programs represent 5.9 percent of the district's overall budget. This percentage was the second lowest among the peer districts, but higher than the state average (3.9 percent).

Exhibit 2-46
Bilingual/ESL Per Student Expenditure for
FWISD and Peer Districts, 1999-2000
District Students
in Bil/ESL
Percent of
Percent of
Austin 11,825 15.2% $22,078,145 8.5% $1,867
Dallas 50,493 31.5% $15,429,549 2.9% $306
El Paso 14,550 23.4% $18,211,392 9.6% $1,252
Fort Worth 18,659 23.7% $14,194,716 5.9% $761
Houston 49,869 23.8% $104,774,317 15.0% $2,101
State 498,222 12.5% $517,973,651 3.9% $1,040
Source: 1999-2000 TEA AEIS Reports.


FWISD has developed a comprehensive bilingual/ESL program that addresses LEP students' varied needs. The program was recognized in a review by the McKenzie Group (September 2000) as a national trend-setter. Students' language development is monitored through explicitly defined procedures and benchmarks. Student performance outcomes show that there were increases in the percentage of LEP students passing TAAS at all grade levels between 1996 and 2000.

FWISD's associate superintendent for Instruction-Area II is responsible for delivering services to LEP students. The director of Bilingual/ESL Education administers the program. The director oversees four staff persons responsible for: elementary ESL, secondary ESL, bilingual/ESL and bilingual/ESL migrant program. The superintendent led a restructuring initiative in 1997-98, as described below, that established a new vision for bilingual/ESL education in the district.

The elementary bilingual/ESL program for grades PreK-3 includes two components. The Full Bilingual Program, grades PreK-3, is a program for Spanish-dominant students (students whose primary language is Spanish). The program was implemented in 22 elementary schools by 231 bilingual teachers serving 4,619 students. The Modified Bilingual Program, for grades PreK-3, is a program for English-dominant Spanish-speaking students (students whose primary language is English but are also fluent in Spanish) in the same 22 elementary schools, with 52 teachers serving 980 students.

As described in the DEIP for 2000-01, the goal of the district's dual language program is for LEP students entering kindergarten to transition into English instruction by the end of grade 3 and to reach an advanced level of English proficiency within four years, as assessed by the Reading Proficiency Test in English (RPTE).

The ESL Program for grades PreK-12 students includes four components. The Language Center Program centers serve recent-arrival immigrant students in grades 3 through 12. These centers are located in 15 elementary schools, with 641 students and 33 teachers, and 15 secondary schools, with 795 students and 63 teachers. Transportation is provided from non-center schools. ESL-Only and Transition ESL Programs serve LEP students in grades PreK through 12 who are not served in other programs. These students are usually classified as advanced level ESL.

The ESL program includes 7,878 elementary students taught by 911 teachers, and 5,106 secondary students instructed by 203 teachers. The International Newcomer Academy for students in grades 6 through 12 is a one-semester to one-year program designed to orient new beginning-level immigrant students to U.S. schools. In the newcomer academy, 28 teachers instruct 605 students.

The Newcomer Career Academy, for grades 9 through 12, is a special four-year program for high school undereducated and overage immigrant students that offers career-focused ESL, basic academic content area subjects and work experiences, with high school graduation/GED as the goal. There are 157 students and 6 teachers in this program.

Limited English proficient students entering an ESL program at kindergarten or bilingual/ESL in later years are expected to reach English proficiency within four years, as assessed through the RPTE, and non-LEP status within five years, as assessed through the English TAAS.

Exhibit 2-47 shows that for 1998 through 2000, the percentage of LEP students tested on the English TAAS increased in grades 3 and 4, decreased in grade 5 and remained relatively stable for grades 6, 7, 8 and 10. In 2000, 84 percent of grade 3 LEP students were tested with either the English or Spanish TAAS. As a result of the 1998-99 revision of the district's bilingual/ESL program, LEP students entering kindergarten now transition into English instruction by the end of grade 3, so grades 4 and 5 students do not take the Spanish TAAS.

Exhibit 2-47
Number and Percent of Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students
Tested on English and Spanish TAAS
Grade 1998 1999 2000
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
English TAAS
3 855 46.0% 1,180 59.0% 1,421 62.0%
4 1,153 68.0% 1,213 66.0% 1,513 79.0%
5 931 73.0% 735 63.0% 723 63.0%
6 902 69.0% 976 72.0% 858 66.0%
7 799 69.0% 902 68.0% 937 70.0%
8 622 66.0% 799 71.0% 897 70.0%
10 499 75.0% 576 76.0% 588 74.0%
Spanish TAAS
3 718 38.0% 277 14.0% 491 22.0%
4 222 13.0% - - - -
5 72 6.0% - - - -
Source: Bilingual/ESL Education 1999-2000, FWISD Department of Research & Evaluation (Draft).

In 1999-2000, the FWISD guidelines for assessment of LEP students were simplified and communicated to all Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC) chairs. All LEP students were assessed with either the English or Spanish TAAS unless deemed eligible for exemption by an LPAC.FWISD's LEP exemption rates are compared with the peer districts in Exhibit 2-48. FWISD's LEP exemption rate decreased slightly from 1999 to 2000, but it is still somewhat higher than the average for the state and three of the peer districts for the last two school years.

Exhibit 2-48
Limited English Proficient (LEP) Exemption Rates
FWISD vs. Peer Districts
District LEP
Rate 1999
Rate 2000
Austin 1.3% 2.0%
El Paso 2.3% 2.4%
Houston 1.6% 1.8%
Dallas 9.0% 3.9%
Fort Worth 3.6% 3.0%
State 2.2% 1.3%
Source: 1999-2000 TEA AEIS Reports. TAAS participation Grades 3-8 and 10.

Exhibit 2-49 compares LEP students' TAAS performance for the five-year period from 1996 through 2000. Across the years, there were significant increases in the percentages of LEP students passing the English TAAS at all grade levels in reading and mathematics. LEP students' reading performance in grades 3 and 4, however, was substantially better than students in the upper grade levels.

Exhibit 2-49
Comparison of All Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students:
Percent Passing English TAAS 1996 through 2000
Grade Reading Math
96 97 98 99 00 Diff* 96 97 98 99 00 Diff*
3 62.0% 60.0% 71.0% 82.0% 82.0% 20.0% 58.0% 67.0% 66.0% 76.0% 78.0% 20.0%
4 45.0% 60.0% 67.0% 73.0% 81.0% 36.0% 45.0% 66.0% 69.0% 76.0% 78.0% 33.0%
5 38.0% 49.0% 55.0% 51.0% 56.0% 18.0% 43.0% 57.0% 65.0% 72.0% 74.0% 31.0%
6 22.0% 44.0% 45.0% 57.0% 52.0% 30.0% 32.0% 50.0% 54.0% 67.0% 63.0% 3.0%
7 33.0% 39.0% 48.0% 51.0% 45.0% 12.0% 27.0% 40.0% 48.0% 54.0% 71.0% 44.0%
8 21.0% 42.0% 48.0% 63.0% 67.0% 46.0% 22.0& 37.0% 50.0% 62.0% 75.0% 53.0%
10 24.0% 38.0% 41.0% 48.0% 46.0% 22.0% 26.0% 29.0% 46.0% 52.0% 56.0% 30.0%
Source: Bilingual/ESL Education 1999-2000, FWISD Department of Research & Evaluation (Draft).
*Differences were calculated by subtracting the percent meeting minimum expectations for 2000 minus the percent meeting minimum expectations for 1996.

Exhibit 2-50 shows the percentage of grade 3 students passing the Spanish TAAS for 1998 through 2000. The percentage of students passing the Spanish TAAS increased during this period. There was a significant increase in the percentage of students passing Spanish TAAS reading and all tests taken in 2000. For the past year, FWISD grade 3 students' Spanish TAAS passing rates were higher than the state average, and substantially higher than three of the four peer districts. FWISD had the highest percentage of third grade students passing all tests taken on the Spanish TAAS.

Exhibit 2-50
Percent of Grade 3 Students Passing Spanish TAAS
FWISD and Peer Districts, 1998 through 2000
District Reading Mathematics All Tests Taken
1998 1999 2000 1998 1999 2000 1998 1999 2000
Austin 61.0% 64.0% 66.0% 59.0% 62.0% 63.0% 48.0% 53.0% 55.0%
Dallas 50.0% 58.0% 57.0% 45.0% 55.0% 49.0% 35.0% 46.0% 41.0%
El Paso 62.0% 71.0% 73.0% 65.0% 71.0% 73.0% 52.0% 61.0% 63.0%
Fort Worth 68.0% 68.0% 82.0% 65.0% 78.0% 77.0% 56.0% 63.0% 72.0%
Houston 74.0% 77.0% 82.0% 73.0% 75.0% 79.0% 64.0% 66.0% 71.0%
State 65.0% 74.0% 76.0% 65.0% 75.0% 75.0% 54.0% 65.0% 66.0%
Source: TEA 1999-2000 AEIS Reports.

Comments from the TSPR review team's elementary principal focus group indicated that principals find the campus-based Language Centers to be effective. They appreciated the English immersion, the instructional materials and the teacher training. Overall, interview and focus-group comments related to the programs for limited English proficient students from teachers, principals and staff suggested that despite changing district demographics and many challenges, the superintendent's 1998-99 revisions of the bilingual/ESL program have the district moving in the right direction. The 1998-99 review of the program showed that the district had an inadequate number of bilingual teachers, so bilingual education was limited to prekindergarten to grade 3 students. Almost all bilingual teachers were assigned to the lower grades to enhance language and reading development in the early years. In addition to teacher reassignments, progressive time allocations for Spanish and English instruction strengthened the bilingual education program. Beyond grade 3, the ESL program serves students of limited English proficiency. All students who speak languages other than Spanish receive modified instruction through the ESL program.


FWISD's Bilingual/ESL program is a comprehensive program that addresses LEP students' varied needs.


FWISD's Student Placement Center facilitates the identification, assessment and classification of limited English proficient students, which reduces the need for teachers at the individual campuses to conduct time-consuming, one-on-one student assessments.

Texas Education Code, Section 29.056 requires the standardization of criteria for identifying, assessing and classifying limited English proficient students. Furthermore, the student's parent or guardian must approve a student's entry into the program, exit from the program or placement in the program. At FWISD's Student Placement Center (SPC), trained personnel facilitate the registration and assessment of limited English proficient students.

The Student Placement Center is a special registration/assessment office serving students whose first languages are other than English. According to the director of Bilingual Education, the center has reduced the testing load for individual campuses. Center staff includes 2.5 FTEs who administer assessments in Spanish and English to measure oral language, writing and reading skills. In addition to its assessment role, the center serves as a first point of contact with parents. Parents receive information about FWISD schools, an overview of their bilingual/ESL options, as well as information about social programs and health/immunization services.

Comments from a secondary principals' TSPR focus group suggested that the input process for non-native language speakers was effective, and that students were appropriately placed.

COMMENDATION The Student Placement Center provides an efficient and systematic way to identify and place students who are of limited English proficiency.


FWISD is underreporting the number of bilingual/ESL teachers in PEIMS reports. According to AEIS reports, FWISD had 274.6 bilingual/ESL teachers (Exhibit 2-51). In contrast, El Paso ISD had close to the same student enrollment in bilingual/ESL education, but the district had more than twice that number of bilingual/ESL teachers (807). Moreover, FWISD had the lowest percentage of teachers in their bilingual/ESL program (6 percent). This low percentage is inconsistent with the peer districts that reported between 15 and 21 percent of their teachers in the bilingual/ESL program.

A program description provided by the FWISD Bilingual/ESL Department showed that the district employs 273 bilingual teachers and 1,244 ESL teachers, making a total of 1,517 bilingual/ESL teachers.

FWISD has filed a Request for Exception to Bilingual Education Services for the 2000-01 school year with the Texas Education Agency. A Request for Exception may be requested by districts who are unable to provide a bilingual education program as described in commissioner's rule, Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Section 89.1205. This Request for Exception must describe the alternative program that will be offered by the district.

FWISD data showed 239 teachers with bilingual certification currently teaching bilingual education, including 61 teachers on special permit (Alternative Certification Program, exchange teachers from Spain and Bilingual permit). No staffing information was included in the district's annual Bilingual/ESL evaluation reports, as required by commissioner's rule (TAC Section 89.1265).

Exhibit 2-51
Limited English Proficient Students and
Bilingual/ESL Program Enrollment for
FWISD Versus Peer Districts
District Number of
LEP Students
Percent of
Number of
Students Enrolled
in Bil/ESL
Percent of
LEP Students
Served in Bil/ESL
Number of
Percent of
in Bil/ESL
Austin 13,053 16.8% 11,825 90.6% 756.6 15.0%
Dallas 52,614 32.8% 50,493 96.0% 1,872.0 18.8%
El Paso 20,112 32.3% 14,550 72.3% 806.6 21.3%
Fort Worth 19,678 25.0% 18,659 94.8% 274.6 6.0%
Houston 55,472 26.5% 49,869 89.9% 2,172.9 18.7%
State 555,334 13.9% 498,222 89.5% 18,734.7 7.0%
Source: TEA 1999-2000 AEIS Reports.

Recommendation 25:

Modify the district's process for PEIMS reporting of bilingual/ESL staff and include staffing and certification information in the district's annual program evaluation report.

1. The director of Research and Evaluation, the district PEIMS coordinator and the director of Bilingual/ESL Education review the district's procedures for identifying bilingual/ESL teachers for PEIMS reporting. June 2001
2. The director of Bilingual/ESL Education and the district PEIMS coordinator define procedures for reporting bilingual/ESL staff. June 2001
3. The PEIMS coordinator provides information and training to principals and data clerks on data-entry procedures. July-August 2001
4. The director of Research and Evaluation directs the Bilingual/ESL program evaluator to include staffing data in the 2001-02 evaluation report. August 2001


This recommendation could be implemented using existing resources.