The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and English learners

I recently attended a webinar sponsored by TESOL, “An Overview of the Every Student Succeeds Act: What TESOL Educators Need to Know”, which was an overview of the ESSA and the implications for states, schools, and districts that enroll English learner students. The ESSA, signed in December 2015 by President Obama with bipartisan support, greatly decreases the role of the federal government in K-12 education and moves authority and responsibility back to the states and local education agencies. So knowing the implications of the ESSA for ELs in the states is critical.

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Effective School-English learner (EL) Family Partnerships

More than fifty years of research supports the importance of parental and family engagement for improved student achievement, better school attendance, and reduced dropout rates, regardless of socioeconomic background or ethnicity (M. Beatriz Arias and Milagros Morillo-Campbell, 2008). As I state and elaborate on in the white paper I wrote for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, EL Academic Success through Effective School-Family Partnerships, the most effective family engagement is a shared responsibility in which schools and families work together as equal partners, with shared responsibility and a common goal: student achievement and school improvement.

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Designing Effective Instructional Materials for ELLs

In August 2014, the Council of Great City Schools published their Framework for Raising Expectations and Instructional Rigor for English Language Learners, which I and Course Crafters use as a guidepost for designing curricula and instructional materials for ELLs and their teachers.

The Council of Great City Schools has a huge stake in the academic success of ELLs: their 67 school districts collectively enroll over 1.2 million of the country’s ELLs, or 26% of the nation’s total. After NCLB, and now reiterated in ESSA, all ELLs, K-12, are held to the same rigorous academic, college- and career-ready standards as their English-proficient peers. Helping school districts meet this goal requires those of us who design curricula and instructional materials for ELLs and professional development for teachers of ELLs—language educators and, increasingly, mainstream classroom teachers—to reexamine the way we are looking at developing ELLs’ academic language proficiency. We’re not there yet, but we’ll get there if we examine and pay heed to the suggestions in the CGCS Framework.

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Back-to-School Success for English learners

By Lise Ragan

As we return to school for another academic year, how can we, as educators, understand and best support the English learner (EL) students in our schools so that we give them the best chance for school success, graduation, and a bright future? Here are a few ideas to consider.

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