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Employment Requirements for ESL Teachers

Amber Forbes, Supervisor of Human Resources

Sharron Livingston, Department Assistant

Bailey Stanley, Administrative Secretary

Phone: (423) 232-5384

Fax: (423) 218-0545


Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) 2015

All teachers of any language instruction program for English Language Learners must be fluent and competent in the four domains of language assessed by the English Language Proficiency Assessment: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. If personnel not possessing these skills have been previously hired, the district is required to offer help to build the necessary fluency. A teacher’s fluency in listening and speaking may be documented and evaluated during the interview process by having one person responsible for noting listening mistakes, miscues, grammar and syntax mistakes, and making a judgment as to the level of fluency for both speech and listening. Reading may be evaluated through the reading and responses that show understanding of the application process. Reading proficiency may also be documented through the college transcript issued by an English speaking university. Districts may also use shelf reading comprehension assessments. Writing fluency can be more difficult to ensure. Unless the application requires a writing sample, the district may encourage a 15 to 20-minute writing sample during the teacher interview. Topics should vary from applicant to applicant. The sample should be done onsite so that there is no opportunity for outside editing. The district may also have an assessment designed or contract with an outside agency for this screening. The district should decide if this is to be used with only English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers or with all hires.

JCS District Plan for Hiring ESL Teachers

Federal guidelines state that systems must have a plan for assessing and documenting all ESL teachers' proficiency in English. Systems must document English proficiency in all four domains of communication including listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

As required by the Tennessee Department of Education (English as a Second Language Manual, March 2018, p.66) applicants for ESL must be certified, hold an ESL endorsement, and be fluent in all four domains of the English Language.

To demonstrate fluency in all four domains of the English language, the Johnson City Schools ESL Teacher Hiring Plan requires that all potential ESL teachers’ listening and speaking skills be evaluated during the interview process. Reading will be documented through the successful completion of the ESL Praxis Test and university course work from an English-speaking college/university. Required writing proficiency is evaluated by a review of college/university transcripts, assessments and response to written application questions.

The Board of Education recognizes that the employment of highly qualified personnel is essential if quality education is to prevail for students of the school systems. In order for the Board to provide a well-qualified staff capable of designing, implementing, and evaluating of educational programs, the following goals are adopted:

  1. Selection, employment, and retention of the best-qualified personnel available.

  2. Provision of attractive compensation and benefits as well as other provisions for staff welfare.

  3. Deployment of personnel in the most effective way to achieve the goals of the Board of Education.

  4. Provision of professional growth opportunities for all employees designed to contribute both to the improvement of the educational program and to career development aspirations of the staff.

  5. Development of a climate in which optimum staff performance, morale, and satisfaction are produced.

  6. Involvement of staff in planning, decision making, and evaluation.

  7. Development and updating of job descriptions by appropriate administrators.

  8. Use of the state evaluation program which will contribute to the continuous improvement of staff performance and educational programs of the school system.

Johnson City Schools does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, citizenship status, age, or handicap in any of its educational or employment programs or activities.

Last Updated: July 12, 2024