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Welcome to E.L. Achieve’s eNewsletter! We hope you find this information inspires and enhances your professional practice to support English learner achievement.

First Annual Symposium

Informed Decision Making: How Do We Know?


Supporting English learners in meeting the demands of the Common Core is the major professional development focus for most districts.

At the heart of teaching and learning is knowing the learners we serve, having a clear vision for meeting their needs, and the ability to measure successes along the way. Without that clarity of purpose, our scarce resources cannot be fully maximized.

E.L. Achieve’s first annual Symposium – Informed Decision Making: How Do We Know? – will address a range of concerns, from meeting Common Core demands to clarifying a district vision to building skills for the classroom.

Collaboration among key players – district and site leaders, principals, coaches, and teachers – is essential for continuous improvement. The Symposium provides a rare opportunity to come together, ask critical questions, and refine the vision that informs decision-making processes.

We invite you to spend two days engaging in work that is robust, meaningful, and focused on what matters: strengthening the skills you need to help English learners meet the expanded linguistic demands of the Common Core State Standards.

Partner district participants will have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of current initiatives and also attend sessions about other topics of interest. For example, Systematic ELD experts can explore Constructing Meaning to learn how to apply their knowledge of language acquisition to scaffold CCSS-aligned language arts instruction. 
 
Effectively serving English learners requires that we tailor our approach to their unique needs. Our decisions must be grounded in the answers to questions such as:
• What are the linguistic needs of the range of English learners in our system?
• What data about student progress are we collecting? How are we using it to improve our services for students who are progressing well and for those who are not?
• Is there a clear vision of what effective English learner instruction looks like?
• How do we know that effective instructional practices are happening in every classroom?
• How do we know what teachers and administrators need to be more successful?

The Symposium is designed to foster dialogue between and among district teams, and to give your team a chance to maximize your use of E.L. Achieve’s resources and identify strategies to help your initiative thrive.
 
Interactive participant sessions will support district leaders, principals, and teachers in enhancing individual skills and furthering collaboration. Click here for session descriptions: http://elachieve.org/images/symposia_matrices_spring2014.pdf

We’re excited to see you at a 2014 Symposium!
 
See sidebar for Symposia locations, dates, and links to register.

 

Adopting a Systems Approach:

A Blueprint for Serving English Learners Throughout the School Day

What can one teacher do to close the achievement gap for English learners? Of course, we need every teacher to take this challenge head on. However, it takes an entire system of educators, administrators, and support staff with a common vision of instruction and the will to make both the big-picture structural changes and the changes in daily lesson delivery in order for students to make the gains they need. Only by working together can we truly address the chronic problems of English learners stuck in ELD and lacking the language, knowledge, and skills to meet grade-level expectations.
 
In developing this systems approach, we must acknowledge the overlapping yet distinct roles of the ELD teacher and the content teacher. E.L. Achieve’s Blueprint for Serving English Learners Throughout the School Day outlines these roles and responsibilities.
 
ELD Teacher
English learners need a specific time each day for English Language Development targeted for their unique needs at their level of English proficiency. Systematic ELD is designed to support teachers as they provide students with a solid English language foundation to fully engage in a range of academic and real-life situations. It challenges students to explore language in compelling and playful ways, continually growing their ability to use English flexibly, fluently, and accurately – to have agency over their own language use.
 
Content Teacher
However, English learners also need language support throughout the day. Constructing Meaning teaches educators how to embed subject-specific academic language into their lessons in a way that supports deeper content learning while helping English learners enrich and expand their ability to use the formal register of school and work that is necessary for college and career readiness.
 
Teachers in the United States face significant challenges as they strive to develop students’ English language proficiency while providing meaningful access to academic content instruction. No matter how effective an individual teacher, without the support of an effective system, strong student achievement is limited to pockets of excellence. Teachers deserve a system of support that includes a clear vision of instruction, adequate resources, time for collaboration, and a vibrant community of learners.

2014 Symposia

We invite you to join us for one of our two-day Symposia, Informed Decision Making: How Do We Know? You and your district team will have an opportunity to refine your skills and strengthen your expert community to help increase English learner achievement.
 
March 4-5 – Irvine, CA
March 19-20 – San Jose, CA
April 14-15 – Denver, CO
April 30-May 1 – Portland, OR

The Symposia replace annual ongoing certification events and are required for partner districts. Certified presenters/facilitators must attend to maintain certification.

Click
here to register. For more information, contact info@elachieve.org.
Don't Lose the Learning: Tips
for Teacher Communication


ELD teachers regularly uncover teachable moments that they wish they could communicate to students’ homeroom teachers. But finding a regular time to meet and discuss students’ language use can be challenging.

Using variations of Ticket Out the Door is a good way to remind colleagues of the daily objective as well as any gaps and strengths that surfaced in the day’s lesson. Here are some ways to communicate with your colleagues so that important language learning is not lost:

• Prepare a student rep from each class to orally share information with the homeroom teacher.
• Write a quick note for each teacher. If students are able, choose scribes to write the notes as you dictate. Class reps can deliver them to their teachers. (Electronic forms for SysELD Instructional Units are available upon request: raquel@elachieve.org)
• Send a quick email to colleagues at the end of each class session. For most grade levels, a student could be trained to send this.

New and Improved: Ways We Express Our Thinking
 
Academic achievement requires having the linguistic knowledge to fully participate in classroom life.
 
Ways We Express Our Thinking offers English learners a valuable resource for responding to writing prompts, answering comprehension questions, and preparing for collaborative learning.
 
The 2014 edition of the Ways We Express Our Thinking classroom poster and student cards include revised language across three levels­ – Simple, Solid, and Sophisticated – as well as new graphic organizers that illustrate use across content areas.
 
And … (drum roll) … it’s now available in Spanish: Maneras de expresarnos!
Check out our website Products page for updates.
 
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