Significant Changes to Tennessee State Regulations Regarding English Learners


The Tennessee Rules of the State Board of Education, Chapter 0520-01-19 English as a Second Language Programs outlines significant state-level requirements related to English Learner students (ELs).

The publication of the rules is due to the passage by the state legislature of a law that requires policies related to English Learner students to become rules. Rules, also called regulations, carry the force of law; however, policies don’t carry “the force of law” and, therefore, aren’t easily enforceable because legal obligations aren’t always associated with policies. Rules or regulations, on the other hand, do carry the force of law and are therefore legally enforceable.

There are six sections of information in the English as a Second Language Program Rule. Section 3 of the Rule provides the details for Identification, Screening, and Service Delivery for ELs. This section includes a description of the Home Language Survey (HLS), the first step in the identification process. Minimally, the HLS should include questions that require parents to provide information related to three topics:

  • The first language the student learned to speak
  • The language the student speaks most often at home, and
  • The language that is most often spoken to the student at home

Section 4 of the rule provides the regulations regarding parental notification and rights. It indicates that information provided to the parents or guardians of EL students must be communicated, to the extent practicable, “in the language and method that the parent(s) or guardian(s) can understand.”

TransACT ParentNotices can help school districts in Tennessee meet the HLS and communications legal obligations outlined in the Tennessee Rules of the State Board of Education, Chapter 0520-01-19 English as a Second Language Programs Rule.

TransACT Communications provides a customized HLS for Tennessee translated into:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese

TransACT is adding translations of the HLS for Tennesee in the following languages:

  • Korean
  • Gujarati
  • Russian
  • Japanese
  • Kurdish - in Arabic script
  • Kurdish - in Latin script
  • Ukrainian
  • Thai
  • German
  • French

In addition, TransACT’s General Education ParentNotices Collection and the ESSA ParentNotices Collection provide more than 230 parent notifications in over 20 languages to help meet parent communication requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Civil Rights Act.

TransACT ParentNotices software provides 10+ State Departments of Education and over 5,000 districts across 48 states with federally compliant school-to-home notices and forms in multiple languages. Request a quote and speak to one of our experts to better understand how TransACT ParentNotices delivers parent communications in a distance or hybrid learning environment.


Dr. David Holbrook

About The Author

Dr. David Holbrook is a nationally recognized leader in federal programs administration and monitoring with expertise in Title I, Title III, Native American Education, and Federal Programs. Dr. Holbrook has also worked as a consultant with Title III of the US Department of Education and now serves as Executive Director, Federal Compliance and State Relationships with TransAct.