laura donnaDonna Smith, Director of Research and Communications

Laura Jasso, Associate – Elementary Services

"Every child should be able to receive the very best that our country has to offer, regardless of his or her circumstances of birth." - Kevin Kumashiro, 2017

While public education is largely guided by state and local agencies, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) plays an undeniable role in influencing public education. We have an obligation to understand how federal policies impact our student populations.

What is the role of the U.S. Department of Education in ensuring equity? 

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wilmaWilma Kozai, Director, District Support Lead



Before joining E.L. Achieve, I was assistant superintendent for Grandview School District. Here, I share the story of Grandview’s journey to improve its services for English learners.

Every school district faces daunting challenges in meeting diverse students’ needs. Some of these struggles are unique, but many are shared by multiple districts. Telling our stories of implementing new initiatives is a way for us to build our collective understanding of the practices and systems that help or hinder our progress towards achieving our goals.

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susana raquelSusana Dutro, Co-founder and CEO
Raquel Núñez, Director of Elementary Services


According to Title III requirements, regardless of the type of program in which English learners are enrolled, they must receive instruction in English at their level of English proficiency, as well as meaningful access to grade-level academic content (Castañeda v. Pickard, 1981). School systems are compelled to structure the day to ensure English learners receive explicit language instruction for these two related, but distinct, purposes:

  • Integrated ELD to provide meaningful access to language arts (and other content) instruction. Grade-level content learning is in the foreground; it is the purpose for instruction – and while students’ language development needs must inform planning, the instructional goal is achieving the demands of grade-level content.
  • Dedicated ELD to grow students’ proficiency in English. Proficiency-level language learning is in the foreground; it is the purpose for instruction – and while grade-level literacy needs must inform planning, the instructional goal is developing English language.

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debbi donnaDebbi Puente, Director of District Support
Donna Smith, Director of Research and Communications

Collaboration has become a buzzword in education. Like many educational innovations, collaboration can be a vague concept that does not conjure up specific practices or actions. Yet when clearly understood and purposefully implemented, collaboration is a powerful aspect of ongoing, site-based professional development.

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SusanaSusana Dutro, Co-founder and CEO

There’s an exciting convergence moving our collective thinking forward. With new ELD standards expanding on and building from the work of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and other content standards, we are encouraged – obligated! – to think about how we equip English learners with the language they need for all aspects of their academic day.

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structured interactionWhat's Practice Got to Do with It? 


In this series, we discuss Student Interaction Routines, which are task-based strategies that help ensure each student has abundant strategic practice using new language for meaningful purposes. Developing a robust wheelhouse of interaction routines enhances student engagement and increases productive talk time.

To become confident and agile English language users, English learners need an abundance of oral practice to process new learning, think through their ideas, clarify concepts, and use newly taught academic language to express their understanding.

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paulPaul R. Hanson, Science Teacher and Department Coordinator, Liberty High School, Hillsboro, Oregon

“A school with high academic optimism is a collectivity in which the faculty believes it can make a difference, that students can learn, and that high academic performance can be achieved.”

 – Hoy, Tarter, & Hoy, 2006

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ellenEllen Levy, Lead Associate for Secondary Constructing Meaning

With the arrival of the Common Core State Standards comes a new generation of assessments. For years, multiple-choice questions have dominated the landscape of standardized tests. In the new CCSS paradigm, students will be required to produce complex written performance tasks to demonstrate understanding. 

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ellen scottEllen Levy and Scott Townsend, Secondary Services Team          

“I always wanted to go to college, but I never had the confidence that I could say and write the things I know.” She smiles and sweeps the bangs from her eyes. “Then someone showed me how.” 

– Monica DiBella, senior, New Dorp High School, Staten Island, as quoted in
The Writing Revolution by Peg Tyre, The Atlantic, October 2012

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