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The English Language Learner (ELL) is entitled to equal access to educational programs regardless of his or her level of English proficiency. An ELL Plan needs to be developed for any student who is found eligible as an English Language Learner. This plan will provide strategies and accommodations that are required to be implemented, per FLDOE – the ELL Plan is found in the ELL Blue Folder. There is an ESOL contact at every school that manages the ELL Blue Folders. Also, FL has adopted English Language Development (ELD) standards that focus on the development of the English language in all content areas and at different levels of English proficiency that should be addressed in teacher lesson plans. CPALMS provides supporting documents with strategies and examples of academic expectation based on different levels of English proficiency. 

ESOL Training Requirements

ESOL Category I:

  • Option 1: 5 ESOL courses = 300 hours
    Suggested order: Cross-cultural Communications & Understanding, Applied Linguistics, Testing & Evaluation, Curriculum & Materials, and Methods of Teaching ESOL    
  • Option 2: 2 ESOL courses = 120 hours & passing score on ESOL Subject Area Exam|
    Suggested courses: Applied Linguistics and Methods of Teaching ESOL

ESOL Category II:

  • 1 ESOL course = 60 hours       
    Suggested courses: Methods of Teaching ESOL, Curriculum & Materials, or Testing & Evaluation                                                                   

ESOL Category III: 

  • 1 ESOL 18-HR overview course = 18 hours                                                                                                                            

ESOL Category IV: 

  • 1 ESOL course = 60 hours             
    Suggested course:  Cross-cultural Communications & Understanding

ESOL Endorsement vs. Certification

ESOL Category I teachers need to either obtain the ESOL Endorsement or ESOL Certification. To obtain the ESOL Endorsement, a teacher must have 300 in-service points, 60 points from each of the five required ESOL courses. To obtain the ESOL Certification, a teacher must have 120 allowable ESOL points and then ESOL subject area exam. Please follow this link for more information on the subject area exam: Upon completion of the requirements for either certification or endorsement, the teacher must apply to this added to his/her teaching certificate. The application may be obtained from the Certification Office (850-833-5857). Once endorsement or certification is added to a teacher’s certificate, the teacher will be eligible to receive a yearly stipend of $150.00.

Please note that ESOL categories are different than teacher evaluation categories. Teachers sign MIS 5308 when hired that indicates their ESOL category. Below is a list of positions that fall under each category, however the list does not cover all possible positions.

ESOL Category I

-Elementary Teacher
-English/ELA Teacher
-ESE Teacher without
 students on Access
 Points and ELA
 teacher of record

ESOL Category II

-Social Studies
-ESE Teacher if all
 students on Access

ESOL Category III

-American Sign
-Foreign Languages
-Hearing Impaired
-Media Specialist
-Physical Education
-School Psychologist
-Staffing Specialist

ESOL Category IV

-School Counselors


ESOL Endorsement


K-12 ESOL Certification with 120 ESOL credit points

60 ESOL credit points

18 ESOL credit points

60 ESOL credit points


New to District:
60 ESOL points within 2 years after the date of hire and then 60 ESOL points each subsequent year until endorsement or certification is earned.

Experienced Teacher:
60 ESOL points within 2 years after first ELL student is assigned and then 60 ESOL points each subsequent year until endorsement or certification is earned.

New to District:
Within 1 year after the teacher is first hired.

Experienced Teacher:
Within 1 year after first ELL student is assigned.

New to District: Within 1 year after the teacher is first hired.

Experienced Teacher: Within 1 year after first ELL student is assigned.

Three years to complete from date of hire as a school administrator or school counselor.

Out-of-Field (Compliant vs. Non-compliant)

Once an ESOL Category I teacher begins taking the required courses, the teacher must take a 60 point course each year, continuously, until the required 300 are obtained points are obtained and added to the teaching certificate. For all ESOL categories, while the teacher is pursuing certification or endorsement or point and is within the allotted timeline, the teacher will be reported out of field (OOF) for ESOL, but compliant. Being compliant means that the FL META Consent Decree is being met and the teacher will be able to continue serving ELL students. If a teacher is not compliant by not taking a course(s) within the allotted timeline, then s/he would be listed OOF but not compliant and may not be assigned an ELL and/or the school would not receive FTE funding for any student in the teacher’s class. 

Transfer of College Credit

It is possible to transfer previous college/university credit for ESOL credit points. The titles of the five courses are:

  1. ESOL: Crosscultural Communication and Understanding
  2. ESOL: Applied Linguistics
  3. ESOL: Testing & Evaluation
  4. ESOL: Curriculum & Materials
  5. ESOL: Methods of Teaching ESOL

If a teacher thinks s/he has taken a college course that is comparable to one of the ESOL courses, please contact the ESOL Office at 850-833-3107 for further information.

OCSD's ESOL Course Schedule

The ESOL Courses for the Spring 2016-2017 session are now available on Frontline.  As a disclaimer, classes must have at least 20 participants in order for the courses to proceed; otherwise, the class may be subject to cancellation. Download the full course schedule here or see below.


ESOL Resources For Teachers

  • Colorín Colorado - Free research-based information, activities, and information for teachers and parents of ELLs|
  • Everything ESL - Resources for teachers of ELLs, including lesson plans, and teaching tips
  • Newsela - Provides articles in English and Spanish and at different Lexile levels
  • WIDA - Resources on academic language development and academic achievement for children and youth who are culturally and linguistically diverse through standards, assessments, and professional learning for educators.