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Articles: ELL

A report by the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New York found that English language learners were underrepresented in New York City CTE programs. At-risk students who complete these programs have a higher chance of graduating. Here's what the report found for the 2016-17 school year.

Extra supports help embed language instruction into CTE programs, closing what some educators see as an “opportunity gap” faced by students learning English. And student participation in hands-on projects can help accelerate language acquisition.

When Rio Grande City Consolidated ISD introduced a digital reading program two years ago, some teachers balked at student assessments being performed by a computer. Those concerns abated as teachers saw increased proficiency for the 4,100 students using Istation Reading and Istation Español, says Serapio Trillayes, executive director for curriculum and instruction for the district, which is located in South Texas, near the Mexican border.

These district solutions serve as models for other districts, and cover the K12 spectrum, from English language learners to dropout prevention to data-driven decision-making to water conservation.

The 45 schools and systems recognized by this year’s District of Distinction program have created homegrown initiatives to support students’ social-emotional development, to provide powerful new opportunities for career-focused STEM learning and to improve the skills of educators.

A K8 school district in Southern California was focusing efforts on increasing the proficiency of its English language learners, a population that makes up 32 percent of its students. It also sought to reclassify as many ELLs as possible before middle school—a time when the defeatist mindset usually sets in.

Ramon Namnun is principal of the High School of World Cultures, one of three schools housed in the James Monroe Educational Complex in the Bronx, offering instruction for new arrival students within New York City Public Schools.

Incorporating high-quality resources to support ELL students can have a stark impact on whether they succeed. At High School of World Cultures, we have been able to pinpoint four best practices for evaluating ELL resources.

BOOKSTORE BROWSING—Nearly 60 of Baltimore County Public Schools’ libraries have reorganized shelves to emulate bookstores, with books grouped by genre rather than the Dewey Decimel System. Students find it easier to help themselves.

School libraries increasingly use “genrefication”—the reorganization of collections by genre as opposed to the traditional Dewey Decimal System—to boost circulation.

Districts and community organizations now provide transportation, meals, summer lessons and family activities to prepare children for kindergarten reading.

The population of ELL students continues to grow, and achievement gaps between ELL students and other student populations persist in many districts. There are a variety of best practices administrators can employ to address these achievement gaps and meet the needs of ELL students.

Cheryl Logan will be superintendent of Omaha Public Schools, Nebraska’s largest school district.

On July 1, Cheryl Logan begins her tenure as superintendent of Omaha Public Schools, Nebraska’s largest school district.

EXTRA SUPPORT—At the ESL academy, high school ELLs get after-school help with homework and other study support. Teachers from all disciplines are available while students work independently, in teams or in small groups.

A combination of grants and community outreach allowed Piscataway Township Schools to adopt a “cradle to career” approach to serve its large—and rapidly growing—population of ELLs more effectively.

Rose Aldubaily is director of English learners and compensatory education, and Glenn Maleyko is superintendent of Dearborn Public Schools in Michigan.

Striving to ensure the implementation of best practices that support all learners is critical to academic achievement for diverse populations.

At the fast-growing Manor Independent School District located outside of Austin, Texas, over 38 percent of students are English language learners. These students are expected to master the same standards as their native English-speaking peers. Meredith Roddy, Director of Bilingual and ESL Programs, is tasked with closing the achievement gap between ELL students and native English-speaking students.

“I think of it as an opportunity,” says Roddy. “It’s about finding the right resources to engage ELL students with language and content area learning.”

Tech time in schools.

Technology can be used to accelerate language development for ELLs, according to a recent study by Bernadette Musetti, associate professor of Liberal Studies at Loyola Marymount University.

DA's annual Outlook issue features snapshots from superintendents, curriculum directors, principals, teachers and other educators who weigh in on how their day-to-day roles and responsibilities are evolving. (Gettyimages.com: exdez).

The 2018 installment of DA’s annual Outlook issue gives prominence to the voices of educators and experts who share the solutions that are emerging across the country.

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