Site administrators play a pivotal role in refining classroom practice and ensuring that English learners receive effective instruction. Meeting English learners’ achievement goals is a challenge when students do not have the language knowledge to succeed academically and teachers do not know how to bridge the gap.
English learners need instruction that is:
- Explicit and relevant to academic and social life
- Organized around a continuum of linguistic knowledge
- Backward mapped from cognitive tasks demanded by the Common Core and state content standards
- Focused on providing ample opportunities for oral and written language practice
School leaders have a dual obligation to ensure that students develop English proficiency while receiving meaningful and rigorous grade-appropriate content instruction.
In response to this challenge, 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 the significant gap between the English language knowledge many English learners possess and what they need to succeed academically, many schools lack a comprehensive framework for providing explicit instruction in advanced uses of English to help students express complex thinking.
To successfully guide a staff through a professional development initiative, site leaders must have a clear vision of instruction and a concrete plan of action. Knowing how to assess teacher readiness, communicate expectations, and facilitate professional dialogue is critical to launching and sustaining a vigorous professional development effort.
Yet no matter how effective an individual site administrator, without the support of an effective system, strong student achievement is limited to pockets of excellence.
E.L. Achieve works in partnership with school districts. Our approach is not about quick fixes. It is focused on system-wide, mission-driven, long-term collaborative planning and implementation.
When districts engage in a partnership with E.L. Achieve via our district capacity-building model, site leaders participate in training sessions and are provided with the tools, processes, and support to organize the site for implementation, observe classroom practice, facilitate collaborative learning, and engage in reflective conversations. We work side by side with district and site leaders to establish priorities, allocate resources, respond to teacher need, and build teacher capacity.
Preparing your school
Professional development is an investment of resources – not only financial, but also time and effort. Establishing readiness increases the likelihood that the investment will pay off in the long run, reflected in changed instructional practice and improved student achievement.
Here are a few tips for beginning a school-wide conversation about instruction for English learners and introducing E.L. Achieve’s model:
Tip 1) Devote part of a staff meeting or meetings to the topic of English learner achievement. Present and discuss data to gain insight and build a sense of urgency among staff.
Tip 2) Facilitate a solutions-focused discussion about how your site currently serves English learners. Review E.L. Achieve’s Blueprint for Serving English Learners Throughout the School Day to talk about what is currently in place at your site, what could be strengthened, and what needs to be added.
Tip 3) Structure time for grade-level or department teams to analyze work samples for patterns of evidence about what is working well and which needs are not yet being met.
Tip 4) Download readings to discuss with teachers at professional development sessions or staff meetings. These articles inform E.L. Achieve’s theoretical framework and vision of instruction.
E.L. Achieve requires a district leader to be the team lead who hosts or registers a team to attend a Leadership Overview and Planning Session. This is the first step in becoming an E.L. Achieve partner district.
Engaging your district
E.L. Achieve works in partnership with school districts to create effective systems for English learners that are grounded in research-based practice and are results oriented. Our approach is not about quick fixes. It is focused on system-wide, mission-driven, long-term collaborative planning and implementation. While E.L. Achieve works with districts rather than individual schools, individual site leaders often play a key role in bringing E.L. Achieve’s professional development offerings to their districts.
To begin a conversation at your district and introduce E.L. Achieve’s model, consider:
- Offering to facilitate a solutions-focused discussion at a principal meeting about how the district currently serves English learners. Review E.L. Achieve’s blueprint to talk about what is currently in place at your site, what could be strengthened, and what needs to be added.
- Downloading readings to discuss with fellow administrators at professional development or principal meetings.
- Sharing this website with colleagues.
Once the dialogue is started and sufficient interest is cultivated in E.L. Achieve’s professional development offerings, the district can form a leadership team to attend a one-day Leadership Overview session. Attending a Leadership Overview is the first step to beginning to work with E.L. Achieve.
Questions and requests for additional information or support may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.