District administrators face unparalleled challenges as they attempt to serve the needs of English learners. Of primary importance is the need to build systems that eliminate the gap between the language English learners know and the language required for academic success.
English learners must develop proficiency in English and learn grade-level content. To accomplish this, district leaders must ensure that site leaders and teachers have the skills and resources to provide English learners instruction that is:
- Explicit and relevant to academic and social life
- Organized around a continuum of linguistic knowledge
- Backward mapped from cognitive tasks called out in Common Core and state content standards
- Focused on providing ample opportunities for structured and purposeful oral and written practice
Districts are obligated to design and implement English learner programs that develop students’ English proficiency while providing meaningful and rigorous academic content instruction. However, many lack a comprehensive framework for how to do this.
In response to this significant challenge facing educators, E.L. Achieve’s Blueprint for Serving English Learners Throughout the School Day provides a comprehensive view of English learner instruction. Our professional development targets instruction by English proficiency level (About Systematic ELD) as well as explicit language instruction to support grade-level content learning (About Constructing Meaning).
Research reveals that students not fully proficient in English by the end of their elementary careers are likely to end up long-term English learners in middle and high school. Despite this significant gap between the language knowledge many English learners possess and what they need to succeed academically, schools rarely provide explicit instruction in advanced forms of English to help students express complex thinking.
Providing professional development and resources to address these needs is the focus of E.L. Achieve’s work.
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