You are here

Bilingual and English Learner Education

illustration of diverse children

The Bilingual and English Learner program at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction supports school districts in educating students who are English learners (EL). We believe in the assets our bilingual students bring to school, and work with districts to honor those assets while preparing students for their bright futures.
There are approximately 48,000 English learners in Wisconsin, who speak over 100 different languages, including the six different American Indian languages spoken in Wisconsin: 
  • Hoocąk (spoken by the Ho-Chunk Nation);
  • Mahican (spoken by the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation);
  • Menominee (spoken by the Menominee Indian Tribe);
  • Ojibwe (spoken by the six bands of Ojibwe);
  • Oneida (spoken by the Oneida Nation); and
  • Potawatomi (spoken by the Forest County Potawatomi).


English Learners represent 5.8% of the overall school population of Wisconsin. The top five most common home languages spoken by Wisconsin English Learners are:

  • Spanish (80%)
  • Hmong (14%)
  • Arabic (2%)
  • Somali (1.8%)
  • Mandarin Chinese (1.4%)     

(data from 2017-18 WISEdata)

announcement sign

The Department of Public Instruction is currently updating the Seal of Biliteracy application and guidance document.

During this time, we will not be processing new Seal of Biliteracy applications from July 2018 - December 2018. 

Please check back on the Seal of Biliteracy webpage for updated application and guidance documents.


tablet with handCommunication about events can be found on our Google+ Community: WI DPI English Learner PLC

Please join at:

Follow us on Twitter at: @WisDPIBilingual