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Building a Systemic District approach to English Learner Success


Civil Rights. Capacity. Politics. Reflect/Share: ... Working groups, inquiry groups ... Includes a 5th year option, longer day, summer school ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Building a Systemic District approach to English Learner Success

Building a Systemic District approach to English
Learner Success
  • Accountability Leadership Institute
  • December 8, 2009
  • Laurie Olsen, Ph.D.

The landscape
  • NCLB laser-like beam on underachievement of
    English Learners
  • While improvement across board for students, the
    GAP for English Learners has increased over past
    ten years
  • School improvement and reform efforts largely
    missed mark with English Learners
  • While focus on classroom practices (the teacher),
    curriculum, site leadership is needed, systemic
    improvement requires a focus on the district as

This workshop draws upon.
  • The six-county PROMISE Initiative
  • The Secondary School Leadership for English
    Learner Success model and tools developed for
    LACOE (now through 7 county offices - 642 school
    teams statewide) -
  • The Creating Coherence for English Lerner
    Success Comprehensive District Approaches model
  • Work with 6 districts (and all secondary sites)
  • An accumulated set of tools, frameworks, models

Responses shaped by..
Research on EL
Civil Rights
State Federal Accountability Reforms
Reflect/ShareWhich of these are strongest in
shaping the reality of English Learner programs,
services and experience in your district?Where,
if at all, are there conflicts or dissonance
between these forces?What are the implications?
The task.
  • To help district leaders understand each of these
    forces and what they call for
  • To support district leaders in bringing them into
    alignment as best they can
  • To strategize about how to focus on the
    research-based practices - and design and
    implement the structures, supports, programs and
    policies that meet the needs of each districts
    English Learners and community

There is no one size fits all district leaders
  • To know their EL population
  • Have good data on how they are doing - and to
    know how to use that data to support improvement
  • To understand second language acquisition and how
    to support effective instruction
  • To be clear on goals and how to build a
    comprehensive program
  • To develop strong leadership skills and know how
    to build an infrastructure for EL success
  • Know how all this fits together in the local
    context of policies, politics and reform

  • No school district has all of the pieces in place
    in a coherent and comprehensive system
  • BUT
  • There is a research-base to draw upon
  • We have models and examples of effective district
    approaches and responses

The workshop outline
  • Knowing your English Learner population - and the
    implications for programs, instruction and
  • Research-based understandings
  • Data issues - what to look for and implications
  • Infrastructure, leadership, organization and
    coordination issues
  • A case study Modesto City Schools
  • Discussion

MYTHAn English Learner is an English Learner is
an English LearnerTremendous diversity of
needUseful typologies
Academic Background typologies (pg. 2)
  • Newcomers
  • Highly literate and well- educated in L1,
    high achieving
  • Underschooled students
  • Normally progressing English Learners
  • Long term English Learners
  • Who are your students?

Background factors in students lives that impact
participation and achievement in school (pg.
  • Culture shock
  • War trauma and migration experience
  • Unaccompanied minors
  • Legal status
  • Arriving as adolescent
  • Family division and reunification
  • Economic situation
  • Transnationalism
  • Are these issues for your students?

Capacity to mount responses to these diverse
needs is shaped by
  • Numbers of students of each type and need
  • Concentration of English Learners
  • Enrollment across a district
  • Changes from year to year

Responsive Districts
  • KNOW your English Learner profile
  • Comprehensive initial assessments
  • Data system that notes typologies, disaggregates
    by typologies, and provides info to the sites
  • Process of review and monitoring changes
  • Always ask Which English Learners? prior to
  • Tailor your programs and instruction to your EL
  • District level planning for program placement

Reflection Demographic Factors(pg. 3-4)
  • Stable or mobile population?
  • Large concentration or small?
  • Large numbers or small?
  • Multi-language or primarily/predominantly one or
    two languages?
  • Growth in EL population - Decline in EL
  • Concentrated in a few schools or spread
    throughout district?
  • Do you know??????

Guidance on the relationship to various EL plans
  • LEA Plan Addendum 6
  • Title III Plan, 1 and 5
  • District Master Plan for student placement and

When the music changes, so should the
dance. a Hausa proverb
Research on English Learners
Key Understandings (pg. 8-11)
  • There IS a research base
  • Continuum along path to English proficiency -
    predictable and sequential stages (ELD standards
    and CELDT levels)
  • Can define normative progress
  • CELDT proficiency is low-bar
  • Social, oral fluency takes less time to develop
    than academic proficiency
  • Oral language is the foundation for literacy

  • Learning a second language for academic success
    requires explicit language development across the
    curriculum - ELD alone is not sufficient
  • Not a direct correlation between time on task in
    English and outcomes in English development of
    primary language facilitates and strengthens
    English proficiency
  • Can reach proficiency at one grade level and
    lose ground as move up in the grades
  • Interventions for English fluent students are not
    as effective for English Learners

  • A new language is learned, in part, through
    interaction with native speakers of that language
  • Home language loss is pervasive and occurs early
    - with detrimental impacts on literacy, identity,
    family connection and opportunity
  • Development of mastery in two or more languages
    has many benefits (academically, cognitively,
    economically, socially, family connection)

Common counter-research practices
  • More time in English, removing or diluting L1
  • Stand alone ELD
  • Inappropriate uses of SDAIE Classes
  • Isolation of English Learners with minimal and
    ineffective interaction with English fluent
  • Mixing of English Learners with English fluent
    students without support
  • Mainstream once oral fluency is achieved
  • Inadequate oral language development
  • Placing struggling English Learners into reading
    interventions designed for English fluent students

  • August Shanahan (2006) Report of the National
    Literacy Panel on Language Minority Children and
  • Genesse, Lindholm-leary, Saunders Christian.
    (2006) Educating English Language Learners a
    synthesis of research evidence.
  • Goldenberg (2008) Teaching English Language
    Learners what the research does and does not
    say, American Educator
  • Thomas Collier (2002) A National Study of
    School Effectiveness for Language Minority
    Students Long Term Academic Achievement.
  • Forthcoming publication from CDE

Plan for and create structures for learning and
dialogue in the district
  • Recognize the dissonance that a focus on the
    research will evoke
  • Working groups, inquiry groups
  • Professional learning communities focusing on
    English Learner issues
  • Disseminate research with forums for discussion
  • Know the research yourself and become articulate
    in sharing it

  • Ensure that professional development and
    leadership development is informed by the
    research on English Learners

Reflection/Share Any surprises? Ahas?
Doubts?To what degree are English Learner
programs, services and policies aligned with the
research?Who do you think most needs to learn
about this research in order to move forward an
EL agenda now in your district?
Understand and Utilize good data on English
The dilemma, challenge pitfalls
  • Data based planning and decision-making is
    essential - yet the data on English Learner
    achievement is inadequate and sometimes invalid
  • An English-only testing system can trigger
    inappropriate conclusions and actions for schools
    with large numbers of English Learner newcomers
  • Many educators do not understand how to interpret
    and use EL data

Important district strategies
  • Disaggregate by typology and program
  • Recognize the pitfalls in using scores from tests
    administered in English to make decisions about
    English Learner programs
  • Implement allowed accommodations, variations and
    supports in administration of tests
  • Recognize the important information in CELDT
    progress for program design and implementation

External Accountability (NCLB) AMAO 1
  • Annual increases in the percentage of all English
    Learners making progress at least one CELDT level
    per year in learning English
  • All English Learners are expected to gain one
    overall proficiency level annually on the CELDT
    until they reach the English Proficient level,
    and then maintain that Proficient level until
    they are re-designated

AMAO 1 Annual Growth ObjectiveProgress in
English Language Development
A district look by CELDT level Which levels are
moving? Which are not?
CELDT gains/stagnancy/losses(AMAO1)
  • Utilize longitudinal analyses
  • Support student voice
  • Measure what is important

Utilize longitudinal analysesComparison between
EL programs over timeThomas and Collier, 2002
Leadership, infrastructure, coordination and
District role
  • Recognize the work that goes into implementing a
    strong English Learner program - and staff
  • Leadership matters!!!!!!!
  • Vision matters!!!
  • Establish specific English Learner structures AND
    an infused expectation and set of structures
  • Use English Learner funding appropriately and

A comprehensive and systemic view
  • Aligned around a shared vision of English Learner
  • Articulated across levels and aspects of the
  • Connected through structures supporting good
    communication and organization
  • Accountable
  • Engaged in continuous reflection and improvement

Parent Community Engagement
Affirming Environment
Advocacy- oriented Leadership
Instructional Materials
Challenging rigorous curriculum
Assessment Systems
Support services
Comprehensible Instruction
Strong program design
A Case ExampleModesto City Schools
  • Lynn Lysko, Director
  • Academic Learning Community
  • Modesto City School District

About Modesto City Schools
  • City of 205,000
  • 31,000 students
  • 7,634 English Learners (the vast majority are
    Spanish speakers)
  • 23 elementary sites 10 secondary schools, 1
    alternative education site

Modesto City Schools goals.
  • A diploma in every hand
  • A rewarding career in every future
  • A contributing member of our global society

MCS Strategic Plan
  • Essential 1 A rigorous and relevant
    instructional system with high expectations,
    standards-aligned curriculum, and effective
    evidence-based teaching practice
  • Essential2 A culture of continuous learning,
    with results-focused professional development

The Problem
  • Both the K-8 and the 9-12 districts are in Title
    I Program Improvement status Year 3
  • K-8 district in Year 5 title III Sanctions
  • 9-12 districts in Year 4 Title III Sanctions
  • Outdated and federally non-compliant policies and

  • Established an English Learner Working Committee
  • Purpose to understand the English Learner
    accountability system and data, and based upon
    research to develop an effective instructional
    program for English Learners in order to increase
    performance and achievement in all content areas,
    to close the achievement gap and increase
    graduation rates

Research path
  • Hayward Unified School District
  • San Francisco Unified School District
  • Ventura Unified School District
  • Escondido Union School District
  • Dr. Laurie Olsen consultation and the Creating
    Coherence for English Learner Success training
  • Literature, visits, conferences, consulting

The Change
  • New instructional program for English Learners in
    7 - 12
  • Programs targeted towards specific types of
    English Learners newcomers, long term English
    Learners, etc.
  • Instructional strategies specifically targeted
    for variety of levels of English acquisition
  • Clear mission to support these programs through
    professional development

Long Term English Learners
  • ELD - strategic English Language Development to
    increase English proficiency
  • ALD - development of academic language through
    intensive writing strategies
  • Spanish for Spanish Speakers - correlated to the
    Spanish Language Arts standards and the English
    Language Arts standards to promote literacy in
    both languages through explicit transference
  • For non-Spanish speaking English Learners,
    placement in a language-based elective (drama,
    speech, choir, computerized L1 language program
    or other foreign language class

English Immersion Program Tier I-IV
  • Junior high hosted program at one site
  • High school program hosted at one site
  • Includes a 5th year option, longer day, summer
  • Grade levels are mixed to create groupings by
    English language proficiency level

Recommendations from MCS
  • Use research and evidence to underscore decisions
  • Use teaching/learning meetings to focus not only
    on WHAT the change is, but how to implement it
    and WHY
  • Stop doing everything that doesnt directly
    support the implementation of the strategic plan
    and change process
  • Provide clear, consistent, direct communication
    to the community
  • Plan to sustain the focus over a period of years
  • Continue learning at every opportunity

  • SFUSD Lau Action Plan
  • Ventura School District secondary school revised
  • Escondido Union High School District - ELD
    monitoring, EL placement and program
    differentiation, alignment of SNS and ELA
  • Newport-Mesa - district organization and
    accountability systems
  • Creating District Coherence (PreK-12) or
    Secondary School Leadership for English Learner
    Success series

Please contact Laurie Olsen, Ph.D. For
English Learner Success