Bilingual/ESL Program

The purpose of the Bilingual and ESL programs in the state of Wisconsin is to assist school districts serving students who are English language learners (ELLs) to become proficient in academic English and prepared for their continuing education, and career readiness goals. In the 2012 school year, Wisconsin serves nearly 47,000 ELLs students. While Spanish is the largest language group and Hmong is the next most frequent home language, there are over 137 identified spoken languages by our students. In addition, our ELL students are registered in 80% of the 424 school districts across Wisconsin.

Upcoming Events - Mark Your Calendars!

March-May:  Three New Workshops from Edgewood College:  Improving Instruction through Collaborative Reflection  

From Research to Practice: Meeting the Needs of ELLs in Dual Language Programs
Dates:  April 23-24, 2015

Site:  Kalahari, Wisconsin Dells

Audience:  District program developers, coordinators, decision makers, and educators in collaboration with stakeholders in districts that have or are interested in starting or transitioning into a dual language program.  Districts are encouraged to send teams of staff.

Workshop Description:  This workshop will look at the research to explore the different types of bilingual programs that serve to develop biliteracy (i.e., developmental, two-way immersion, heritage language/revitalization, and world language immersion programs).   During the two days:

  • Participants will work though an annotated bibliography to develop a plan for meeting the needs of the ELLs in their district’s programs.

  • A panel presentation will highlight what has done around the state in current dual language programs (both success stories and mistakes to be avoided).
  • Participants will begin initial work on an implementation plan for their district.
  • Small groups with similar needs and resources will work together.
  • Post Work:  This workshop is being planned as an ongoing project so participants can continue work on their district’s implementation plan over time.  Follow-up webinars and plan sharing are being considered.

Registration Fees:  $150 for both days of the workshop (includes breakfast, lunch, breaks, and materials for both days – OR  - $85 for one day (includes breakfast, lunch, breaks, and materials for the day attending).  Registrants are encouraged to attend both days.

Lodging:  A block of rooms has been reserved at the Kalahari Resort & Convention Center, 1305 Kalahari Drive, Wisconsin Dells for April 22 and April 23 with the following room rates: Single - $70, Double, Triple and Quad - $129. The deadline to make room reservations is March 23, 2015.  Sleeping rooms are being held under the WIDA/DPI Dual Language room block name. Please call hotel at 877-253-5466 to make your reservations.

Register here.

Wisconsin Association for Bilingual Education (WIABE) 2015:  Bilingual Education: Building Bridges through Languages and Cultures
DatesApril 24-26, 2015
SiteKalahari, Wisconsin Dells

Keynotes:  Cheryl Urow, Karen Beeman, and Olivia Ruiz-Figueroa

Note:  The WIABE Conference will begin with the Educator of the Year Awards the evening of April 24th, following DPI’s DLE Workshop. 

For more information/to register:



    For questions about this information, contact Jacqueline Iribarren (608) 266-7292, Tolu Sanabria (608) 267-9235