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Schools and Alternative Language Service (ALS) Models

Alternative Language Services

The Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Lau v. Nichols in 1974 determined that the lack of English language instruction provided to English Learners (ELs) in the San Francisco Unified School District violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  This landmark case initiated the foundations of what are now the two primary models of Alternative Language Services (ALs) that provide English Learners the tools necessary to acquire English proficiency, all the while having equitable access to instruction rooted in grade-level standards, curriculum, tools, and resources.  

Alternative Language Services are programs designed to meet the educational needs of all English Learners to ensure equitable participation in the standard instructional program, thus ensuring equal access to a quality education.   Under state and federal requirements, programs and services provided for English Learners must be:

  • Educationally sound in theory;
  • Effective in practice, and
  • Designed to enable ELs to become proficient in English and to achieve academically in the standard instructional program within a reasonable length of time.

Schools are required to have a Language Usage Survey (LUS) in place to identify potential English Learners, and qualify students needing services through the use of an English language proficiency assessment for program placement.

English Language Development (ELD) Model

  • Designated ELD shall be delivered to students daily for a minimum of 45 minutes with the purpose of providing to English Learners explicit instruction in the use of the English Language.  Instruction is based on a targeted curriculum that focuses on acquiring English as opposed to subject matter content.  ELD instruction is designed specifically to further develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills to achieve English language proficiency by addressing the social, instructional, and academic language that students need.
  • Integrated ELD (Contextualized Content Instruction) integrates the development of English language proficiency and the acquisition of grade-level academic content area knowledge and academic skills.  The focus of integrated ELD is to provide access to mainstream, grade-level content, and to promote the development of English proficiency.
  • English Language Development is a federally mandated service that is guaranteed to all identified English Learners.

Albuquerque Public Schools currently offers Dual Language and Heritage Language programs as they are the most inclusive programs and all students can participate.

Bilingual Program Models

  • Dual Language Programs: New Mexico’s dual language immersion (DLI) model is designed to develop bilingualism and biliteracy in two languages—English and a partner language. The major goals of the dual language immersion model are for students to develop full proficiency in both languages, including literacy, cross-cultural understanding, and proficiency in academic achievement (at or above grade level)
  • Heritage Language Programs: The heritage language model is designed to provide language instruction to students in the home or heritage language of their family or tribe. When students enter the program,they may be fluent in their home  language, or they may have lost their language with generational changes. The goal is to halt home language loss and ultimately recover (or newly develop) native proficiency in the language (Wiley, 1996).

For more information contact the Language and Cultural Equity department at (505) 881-9429 or by emailing For specific School Bilingual Program information, please contact the school, APS BMEP schools list.

This page was last updated on: August 8, 2011.