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English Learners

The Office of English Learners serves students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds as they develop language and content knowledge, and helps build effective parental and community involvement that promotes student achievement.

APS English learners come from diverse linguistic, educational, and cultural backgrounds. 20% of APS students are ELs and receive English Learner services (2022-23 data). APS students come from 149 countries, from every continent except Antarctica.

  • 65% of ELs are born in the US
  • The largest percentage of ELs come from El Salvador (6%), Guatemala (4%), Ethiopia (3%), Mongolia (2%), and Bolivia (2%) (2017-18 data).

First Languages: 88 different home languages are represented by current ELs.

  • 58% speak Spanish, 5% Amharic, 5% Arabic, 5% Mongolian, 2% Bengali

Identification of Students as English Learners

New students who meet the following criteria are assessed at the Welcome Center:

  • the family and child actually live in Arlington County
  • the child speaks a language other than English
  • at home the family speaks a language other than English
  • the child attended an ESL/bilingual program
  • the child attended school outside the U.S.

Bilingual Assistants interview entering students and their parents or legal guardians to obtain educational and socio-cultural information. Each new student has an educational assessment to determine his/her level of English proficiency. The results of all assessments are reviewed and compared to grade level program criteria to determine the student’s EL program and grade placement. Tests and test results are sent to the student’s school. According to federal law, the parent or guardian has the right to opt-out of English Learner services.


Office of English Learners

2110 Washington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22204
(703) 228-6095

Follow us on Twitter: @APS_ESOL

Terri Murphy
Director, Office of English Learners
(703) 228-6095

Samuel Klein
EL Supervisor
(703) 228-6095

Stephanie Martinez
Administrative Specialist
(703) 228-6134

Kati Costar
Elementary EL Specialist
(703) 228-6090

Dr. Michelle Marrero
Secondary EL Specialist
(703) 228-6094

Yung Nguyen
EL Resource Specialist
(703) 228-7232

Ivy Mejías-Rivera
EL Data Coordinator
(703) 228-2406

Dr. Amy Sherman
Pre-K to 12 Professional Learning Specialist
(703) 228-6093



More Information on the Office of English Learners

Bilingual Family Specialists work in schools to engage families whose primary language is not English.

School-Based Bilingual Family Specialists