Multilingual Department

Welcome to the Multilingual Department

There are 1492 emerging bilingual students enrolled in the English Language programs in Waltham Public Schools. These students represent 35 languages! WPS ESL teachers are actively instructing with anti-racist pedagogy to dismantle systems of oppression. Our staff builds on the strengths of students and advocates for equitable access for all.

Multilingual Department Vision and Mission

The WPS Multilingual Department is committed to building on the strengths of students. We advocate for equitable access to and participation in school and community opportunities, including the Seal of Biliteracy, Waltham community partners, school-based clubs, sports, and activities. Our bilingual students engage in high-quality instruction in a community that is culturally responsive. 

The Multilingual Department supports the Waltham Public Schools Mission through three pillars.


  • Integrate language and content through research-based high quality instruction. 

  • Promote English language development and biliteracy aligned with WIDA standards.

  • Activate and build on prior knowledge through culturally responsive pedagogy.

  • Foster independence through the consistent application of learning strategies.


  • Value and cultivate first language and home culture.

  • Bridge from first to second languages.

  • Respect differences and facilitate engaged academic conversations about culture, race, and language. 


  • Create a positive learning environment where students make personal connections. 

  • Make connections and build trust.

  • Serve as a bridge to the community and larger society by participating in community service.



ESL: Licensed ESL teachers instruct students in Tier 1 English language development. This instruction takes place in ESL classrooms that are grouped by language proficiency level. It also takes place in classrooms during core content (sometimes known as MESH- math, ELA, science, history). This is referred to as “co-teaching.” or “embedded ESL”. 

  • Elementary: ESL teachers instruct students with Tier 1 language development. ESL teachers teach language expectations aligned with 2020 WIDA language functions and features. ESL teachers build background knowledge, engage students with complex texts, and explicitly teach, model and support academic conversations about academic topics. 

  • Middle School

    • ESL 1= 10 blocks in ESL class with licensed ESL teacher 

    • ESL 2= 10 blocks in ESL class with licensed ESL teacher 

    • ESL 3 and 4= 4 blocks in ESL class with licensed ESL teacher 

  • SEI - Sheltered content courses (SEI math, science, history) sit within their respective content departments and are taught by content certified teachers with SEI endorsement. 

    • ESL teachers are scheduled to join cluster/CPT meetings with their co-teaching partners.

  • High School

  • ESL - These courses satisfy English requirements for MassCore. These include: ESL Literacy, ESL 1A, ESL 2A, ESL 2B, ESL 3, ESL 4 and ESL 5. All courses are aligned with the 2020 WIDA Standards.  Language expectations, functions, and features are taught in authentic contexts. 

  • SEI - Sheltered content courses (SEI math, science, history) sit within their respective content departments and are taught by content certified teachers with SEI endorsement. 

Dual Language: Students develop high levels of proficiency in English and Spanish in all 4 areas of language: listening, speaking, reading and writing through language arts classes offered in both languages, as well as opportunities to study academic content and special subject areas in English and Spanish.  Curriculum is aligned with national and state standards and is developed in accordance with the National Principles for Dual Language Education.

Multilingual Department Parent Advisory Committee

The English learner parent advisory council (ELPAC) is made up of parents and legal guardians of English learners.  Membership is voluntary and is open to all parents and legal guardians of students who are or have been identified as English learners.

The mission of the Waltham ELPAC is to work to promote multilingual and multicultural values for all students.  We will welcome and support the families of new English language learners into the Waltham community. To that end, members will work to: 

  • Promote a network of parents of multilingual children, and provide a forum to share information. 

  • Advise the School Committee, Superintendent, and the Directors of English Language Learning on the development and evaluation of programs, long-range planning, district-wide policy decisions, and the budget for English Language Learning.

B/ELPAC  Monthly Meetings

Family Liaison

Each school in WPS has their own parent liaison who can help to welcome incoming families to schools. If you have questions for your parent liaison, please contact your child's schools.