English Learners

West Michigan English Learner Partnership

Throughout the region, the population of English Learners and immigrant students is expanding.

The need to effectively serve these students is growing and ongoing.

In Fall 2016, a regional partnership was established between Allegan Area ESA, Kent ISD, Muskegon Area ISD, and Ottawa Area ISD to address the specific needs of English Learners (ELs) in the region. It is referred to as the West MI English Learner Partnership and provides all districts within the region access to support and services, regardless of their Title III allocation or number of English Learners enrolled. Pam Schwallier was hired as the Regional EL Consultant to work with Casey Gordon, Kent ISD Manager of Academic Partnerships. 

TITLE III Consortium membership

Title III funding is supplemental federal funding based upon the number of English Learners enrolled in a district.

To receive Title III funds, your district must reach a minimum allocation of $10,000 or join a consortium.

Districts in the region with Title III allocations less than $10,000 are invited to join the Kent ISD Title III Consortium so they may access their Title III LEP (Limited English Proficient) funds. Kent ISD will manage the grant applications for these districts.

All LEAs can access Title III Funds!


  • Greater consistency of support to English Learners
  • Allows all of us to work together on the shared challenge of meeting the needs of English Learners by collaborating and sharing resources throughout the four-county region 
  • Reduces Title III paperwork at the local level while allowing districts with smaller numbers of EL students (less than 100) to access additional funds

District Services

  • English Learner identification
  • Creating/evaluating English 
  • Learner programs and plans
  • Assessment and accountability
  • Title III (English Learner) funding 
  • Parent and community engagement
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Instructional resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is considered an English Learner?

  • Students aged 3–21 who meet Michigan’s Entry Protocol.
  • Students are identified using the MDE Entrance and Exit Protocol (http://bit.ly/2Bb9cgg) 
  • Student indicates a language other than English is their native language and/or the primary language used in the home.
  • Districts/PSAs administer the W-APT or WIDA Screener and use that score in conjunction with grade-level reading and writing data to determine if the student should be identified as EL [currently called EL or LEP in our student management systems and Michigan Student Data System (MSDS)]. Students may already be identified as EL (LEP) in MSDS because they were qualified in a previous district/PSA. In this case, they should have WIDA Access, WIDA Screener, and/or W-APT testing history in the Secure Site.

What happens if LEAs accept Title III funds?

  • The district/PSA will receive funds based upon the number of EL students you have identified in your district through MSDS.
  • The district/PSA will select how to spend your Title III funding (http://bit.ly/2BEgnh3).

What can LEAs do with Title III funds?

  • Title III funds are supplemental and are often used for: additional staffing during the school day to assist EL students, before/after school instruction, tutoring, summer programs, parent engagement, transportation to Title III events/programs, high-quality academic field trips, additional instruction materials, software and apps for language learning, and high quality PD for staff who work with English Learners.

What are the accountability measures connected to Title III funds?

  • All districts should be prepared to demonstrate how they are meeting federal law requirements with general funds for servicing English Learners during an onsite review.
  • Several measures were moved from Title III to Title I with the change to ESSA, including accountability for performance on the annual WIDA Access assessment.
  • All Title III Monitoring Indicators can be found on the MDE Self-Assessment Checklist (http://bit.ly/2zkUlNY).

If an LEA does not accept Title III funds, are services for English Learners still required?

  • Yes, federal law and the Office for Civil Rights require every public school to identify, provide services with a certified ESL and/or bilingual teacher, and annually assess ELs with general funds even if they do not accept Title III funds. 

Can LEAs receive services from the regional English Learner Consultant and Manager of Academic Partnerships if they are not part of the Title III Consortium?

  • Yes, Pam Schwallier, Regional English Learner Consultant, and Casey Gordon, Manager of Academic Partnerships, work closely together to serve all public schools within the 4-county region. Pam directly serves all LEAs within OAISD, MAISD, and AAESA while Casey directly serves all LEAs within Kent ISD.
Profile Photo

Pam Schwallier

Consultant/English Language Learners
Phone: 616-738-8940
Extension: 4142



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Pam Schwallier

Casey Gordon