Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) or Students with Interrupted Formal Education (SIFE) have unique needs that are often beyond the scope of a pull-out ESL or ELD program. The Minnesota Learning English for Academic Proficiency and Success (LEAPS) Act defines SLIFE as an English learner with interrupted formal education who:


  • Comes from a home where the language usually spoken is other than English, or who usually speaks a language other than English.
  • Enters school in the United States after grade 6.
  • Has at least two years less schooling than the English learner’s peers.
  • Functions at least two years below expected grade level in reading and mathematics.
  • May be preliterate in the English learner’s native language.


Programming and Instruction must be designed specifically to meet students’ needs, including social and emotional learning, alternative scheduling, and pre-literacy resources like standards-aligned picture books (not Disney books), along with content. We recommended the following resources:

Refugee Trauma information from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Colorin Colorado article about SLIFE

Colorin Colorado article with a list of CCSS-aligned Picture Book examples

Minnesota Department of Education SLIFE resource page

WIDA Focus article (scroll down to May 2015 to get the pdf) on SLIFE

Minneapolis Public Schools Working with Newcomers Resources

Math Assessment for SLIFE

Native Language Literacy Assessment (Informal, 1 page)