Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien,WA 98166

Office Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

English Language Learning

Highline students and families bring rich cultural and linguistic resources to our schools. Our goal is to harness this strength by helping every student in Highline graduate bilingual and biliterate. 

Valuing languages and cultures… 

  • Affirms and strengthens students’ identities. 
  • Builds stronger cognitive and academic skills. 
  • Supports students to reach higher levels of language proficiency. 
  • Encourages family and community involvement. 
  • Develops global citizenship and 21st century skills. 
  • Provides greater opportunities for multilingual careers. 

Instructional Approaches 

Accessible Content

Teachers use instructional strategies to make grade-level standards and content accessible to all students, regardless of their proficiency.

Language Development

Teachers review progress and provide targeted instruction to support students’ individual language needs.

Peer Interaction

Teachers plan and implement structures for frequent peer interaction to develop students’ oral language and literacy skills.

Language Connections

Teachers engage students in intentional opportunities to make connections between English and other languages.

Program Model 

English Language Learners (ELL) services support development of students’ English language skills and ensure access to grade level academic content for all students. Students qualify for ELL services until they reach a high level of English skills, not only in speaking and listening, but also in reading and writing. 

Teachers in all classrooms provide English language learning support and integrate students’ home languages and cultures to promote bilingualism and build positive cultural identities. 


How are students identified for ELL services?

All families fill out the Home Language Survey when they enroll their children. This asks what language the student first learned. If it is not English, staff assesses the student’s English skills. Based on the results, the student may qualify for ELL services.

How long do students stay in ELL services?

Students that qualify for ELL services take an annual assessment of their English skills. They continue to qualify for ELL services until they reach a high level of English proficiency. The length of time to gain proficiency is unique to each child. 

Are all ELL-qualified students in an ELL Classroom?

No, most ELL students are in general education classrooms where they receive support for English language development. In some cases, especially in the middle schools and high schools, students go to special ELL classes.

Do ELL-qualified students receive bilingual support?

Nearly all Highline schools have bilingual paraeducators that speak Spanish, and a few have support in Vietnamese, Khmer, and Somali. Bilingual paraeducators use students’ first language to help them understand directions and engage in English instruction. Please see ELL Community Partnerships for more information about bilingual support in other languages.

Does Highline have Dual Language programs?

Yes. Highline has Spanish-English Dual Language Immersion programs at Hilltop, Madrona, Mount View and White Center Elementary Schools.

Highline also has a Vietnamese-English Dual Language Immersion program at White Center Heights Elementary.