Curricular Descriptions

In 1999, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education adopted Rules and Regulations known as Chapter 4.  This regulation was developed to establish concise and comprehensive educational offerings for public schools in the Commonwealth.  Chapter 4 contains academic standards that identify the knowledge and skills students should learn in content areas by designated grade levels. The Pennsylvania Academic Standards, along with national standards, are incorporated into Upper Dublin’s curriculum development and revision process.  The goal, as an outgrowth of the strategic plan, is to hold all students to higher levels of performance by transforming Upper Dublin schools into communities of learners where all students experience a rich and challenging curriculum.  District professionals are provided with the tools, processes, staff development opportunities and support to assist the students throughout the District.  The School District of Upper Dublin is focused continuous improvment cycle focusing on a clear, direct, road map to continued excellence that will evaluate the quality of teaching and learning for all students.

As part of the new Chapter 4 regulations, Pennsylvania’s Core Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics, as well as for Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies and Science/Technical Subjects were adopted in 2014. A group of Pennsylvania educators crafted the PA Core Standards, which mirror the academic rigor of the Common Core State Standards, are attainable for students, practicable for teachers and districts, and offer a set of rigorous, high-quality academic expectations in English Language Arts and Mathematics that all students should master by the end of each grade level. The PA Core Standards are robust and relevant to the real world and reflect the knowledge and skills our young people need to succeed in life after high school, in both post-secondary education and a globally competitive workforce.

Transitioning from existing state standards to the PA Core Standards impacts curriculum and instruction in our school district in the following manner:

  • PA Core Standards represent a real shift in instructional intent from high school completion to college-and-career readiness for every student.
  • PA Core Standards require students to demonstrate mastery of content, which cannot be acquired solely through lecture. Provide professional growth opportunities emphasizing the design and delivery of instruction that engages students in learning as well as provides you with the “look fors” when observing instruction.
  • PA Core Standards emphasize application and higher-order thinking skills. Can you recognize high-order thinking skills when observing instruction? Assess your professional growth needs in order to lead your teachers through the implementation of the instructional shifts and the rigorous demands of the PA Core Standards; then, develop a plan to address the needs.
  • PA Core Standards at each grade may cover fewer topics; yet, content is taught in much greater depth. Monitor curriculum and instruction to assure the content is taught at the depth required by PA Core Standards.


Ms. Christine Roberts, Teacher
Maple Glen, Fort Washington, Jarrettown and Thomas Fitzwater Elementary Schools

Ms. Christina Iezzi, Teacher
Sandy Run Middle School and Upper Dublin Senior High School
Teaching English as a Second Language:

Welcome!  There are approximately 50 students in Upper Dublin schools who are Limited English Proficiency (LEP), speaking 30 different languages.

The education of students, whose dominant language is not English and/or are English language learners, is the responsibility of every school district in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Title 22, Chapter 4, Section 4.26 of the Curriculum Regulations requires that school districts provide a program for every student who is limited English proficient (LEP) or an English language learner (ELL). The regulation states:

“Every school district shall provide a program for each student whose dominant language is not English for the purpose of facilitating the student’s achievement of English proficiency and the academic standards under § 4.12 (relating to academic standards). Programs under this section shall include appropriate bilingual-bicultural or English as a second language (ESL) instruction.”

To comply with this requirement, a school district must provide the student with a planned program of English as a second language instruction (ESL) to facilitate the acquisition of English language skills and provide an instructional program appropriate to the student’s developmental and instructional level.

Definition of an English Language Learner (ELL):

  • A child not born in the United States and/or his or her native language is not English.
  • A student who has difficulty speaking, reading, writing and comprehending English.

How do students qualify for English as a Second Language services? (ESL):

  • Home Language Survey

The Office for Civil Rights requires the Home Language Survey (HLS) be completed by parents/guardians at registration.  If the survey indicates a primary language other than English, a copy of the form is sent to the ESL teacher for additional evaluation.

  • Evaluation

The ESL teacher reviews the HLS and administers language assessment tests to determine the student’s level of English proficiency.  An informal interview is also completed.  Listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English are assessed.

  • Results

If the results of the assessments indicate a need for ESL instruction the student is enrolled in an ESLprogram. The level of need is determined by the assessments.


  • Non-speaker and Beginner:  The student understands and speaks his/her native language, has limited ability in understanding and speaking English, and has limited or no ability to read and/or write English.
  • Intermediate:  The student understands and speaks English on a limited basis but is unable or has limited ability to read and/or write English.
  • Advanced:  The student understands and speaks English but needs support in the content areas.

ESL Instructional Program:

Non-speakers & Beginners

  • Develops oral language
  • Develops basic vocabulary and reading skills
  • Develops basic grammar and usage skills


  • Further develops listening, speaking, reading and writing skills


  • Develops reading and writing skills specific to content areas
  • Develops higher level grammar and usage skills


For non-English speakers and beginners, the classroom or subject area teacher consults with the ESLt eacher to determine grades

Intermediate and advanced students receive grades as per the reporting procedure.

Elementary students receive a checklist indicating progress, from the ESL teacher.

Exiting ESL:

The exit criteria provided below for English Language Learners (ELLs) represent valid and reliable evidence of a student’s English language proficiency to exit from an English language instructional program.

In order to meet the required state exit criteria for Pennsylvania’s English language instructional programs for ELLs, students must meet both of the required exit criteria listed below.  In addition, students must meet one of the two additional exit criteria provided below to exit from an English language instructional program:

Required Exit Criteria:

    • Score of Basic (or higher) on the annual Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA).


    1. For students transferring from other states, out-of-state academic achievement assessment results may be considered when the academic proficiency level is comparable to Basic on the PSSA.
    2. For students that are in a grade that is not assessed with the PSSA, the student must use each of the remaining criteria listed below to exit.
    • Score of Proficient (Bridging as per the Pennsylvania Language Proficiency Standards for English Language Learners) in the areas of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing on the annual state English language proficiency assessment. The Proficient (Bridging) score will be based on the total composite assessment results.

Additional Exit Criteria:

    • Final grades of C or better in core subject areas (Mathematics, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies).
    • Scores on district-wide assessments that are comparable to the Basic performance level on the PSSA.

Parents’ limited right to excuse children from ESL services:

Section 4.4 (d)(3) of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education regulations, 22 Pa. Code §4.4(d)(3), requires school districts to adopt policies that permit parents to have their children excused from specific instruction only in the limited circumstance described below:

“Parents have the right to have their children excused from specific instruction which conflicts with their religious beliefs, upon receipt by the school district of a written request from the parents or guardians.”

Consequently, a parent may not seek to have his or her child excused from a district’s ESL program unless the instruction conflicts with the family’s religious belief.  Letters should be written to the school’s principal.


Upper Dublin School District is able to provide an interpreter when parents needing interpreters to understand information shared, for example at teacher/parent conferences.
Ways parents can help:

  • Encourage your child to talk.
  • Talk with your child often.
  • Read aloud to your child.
  • Visit the public library for books and recorded books.
  • Let your child see you reading.
  • Ask what your child did in school today.
  • Check homework.
  • Support your child’s school.

Update in Progress

The goal of the Upper Dublin World Language Department is to teach students to communicate in a world language and through this communication to gain insight into an other culture.  Most classes are taught in the target language and are carefully designed to support the best possible outcome in reading, writing, listening and speaking.  World Language classes are lively, with many practical applications and ample opportunity to speak in the target language. Our five year program gives students the opportunity to become proficient at the intermediate and advanced level.

With the emergence of a global economy, many colleges now require two to three years of world language study. More competitive colleges encourage four to five years of instruction.  The World Language Department offers instruction in French, German, Latin and Spanish from Level I, II, III, IV, V through Advanced Placement (AP).

Middle School World Language

Sixth Grade

Students are given the opportunity to explore each of our languages for one quarter. The FLEX Program (Foreign Language Exploratory) exposes students to the culture and sound of each language through hands-on activities and fun-filled lessons. FLEX is closely aligned to the development needs of the middle school students to explore different areas of the curriculum. FLEX allows students to make an educated choice of language.

Seventh Grade

Students begin Level I of the language. They will spend four out of six days immersed in reading, writing, listening and speaking. To the degree appropriate to beginning language study, the classes are conducted in the target language. Students will be introduced to culture through artifacts, videos and the internet. The seventh grade curriculum will cover one-third of the Level I course.

Eighth Grade

In eighth grade students receive daily language instruction, and the course is viewed as a major subject. With successful completion of this course, students will continue with Level II of the target language in high school.

High School World Language

Upper Dublin High school offers courses in French, German, Latin and Spanish from Level I – Advanced Placement (AP).  Students receive language instruction five days a week. Interested students may elect a second or third language. Classes meet daily and are conducted primarily in the target language

FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary School)

In conjunction with the Upper Dublin elementary schools, juniors and seniors may apply for the FLES program. This three or five day a week class allows high school students the opportunity to teach their target language in the elementary school, with support and training from a high school world language teacher.

Language Clubs

UDHS offers students the opportunity to enrich their language program through after school clubs. The French, German Latin and Spanish club have many activities such as monthly conversation hours, international film nights, international cooking hour and restaurant visits.

German Exchange

Since 1982 UDHS has hosted an exchange program with a German high school. Our current exchange is with the Josef Effner Gymnasium, outside of Munich.  With over 60 students, it is the largest exchange program in the German state of Bavaria.

Foreign Travel

UDHS hosts trips to Italy, France, Canada and Spain on a biannual basis.

The School District of Upper Dublin’s curriculum aligns to the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Academic Standards.  These standards describe what students should know and be able to do in each academic area.  They also serve as targets for instruction and essential learning for students’ academic success.  “The standards-based approach represents a shift from identifying and teaching what is to be covered to a verification of a student’s learning of identified core concepts and skills.” (PA Dept. of Education)

To view the Pennsylvania Academic Standards go to:

The School District of Upper Dublin’s Board of School Directors approves the district’s curriculum for all subject areas.  Specific information related to the district’s standards aligned curriculum can be obtained by contacting the district’s curriculum office.