English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC) Overview:
California Education Code – Section 52176(b) mandates for each school with more than 20 pupils of limited English proficiency to establish a school level advisory committee on which parents or guardians, or both, of such pupils constitute membership in at least the same percentage as their children and wards represent of the total number of pupils in the school. In addition, the law is clear that the parents or guardians of English learners shall elect the parent members of the school advisory committee.
The ELAC has the following responsibilities:
- Advise the school site council (SSC) on the development of the school plan;
- Assist with the district/school’s needs assessment;
- If the district has 51 or more English learners, the ELAC must elect a representative to the District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC); and
- ELAC must receive training materials and training, planned in full consultation with committee members, to assist members in carrying out their legal responsibilities.
For ELAC members to advise the principal and staff on the programs and services provided to English learners, committee members need to understand:
- The program and services that are currently offered;
- Available fiscal and human resources;
- Academic achievement results of students participating in the program; and
- What options are or are not available.
Number of Meetings:
Legislation does not define a specific number of ELAC meetings that must be held each year; however, the law does identify the activities that need to be completed by the ELAC. “How many” meetings does the ELAC need to have each year? The answer can be determined by asking:
- What is the best way to provide ELAC members, especially parents/guardians with information about the services and program available for English learners?
- How can all members be provided an opportunity to actively participate in committee discussions and decisions (advise and assist)?
- What is the best way to provide training to ELAC members?
The number of meetings will also vary depending upon the current knowledge and comfort level of parents/guardians, but most of the schools find that between 4-5 meetings per year allows the time for the ELAC to cover the basic requirements. Some schools ask their ELAC parents to attend additional training meetings so that the parents have additional time to ask questions. Therefore, the agenda becomes the vehicle to assure that all requirements are met in a timely manner.
One recommendation: Schedule the ELAC meetings before the school site council meetings. This will allow ELAC members the time to efficiently meet their responsibility for providing input to the school site council regarding budget and program needs of English learners.