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Purposeful Leadership

OELA Office of English Language Acquisition (2016, November). English Learner Tool Kit. U.S. Department of Education.

English Learner Tool Kit updated with ESSA references. OELA’s EL Tool Kit was published in 2015 as a companion to support the 2015 Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) produced by the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, and the Department of Justice, outlining legal obligations for ELs. Some chapters of the tool kit have been updated related to the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). The English Learner Tool Kit helps state and local education agencies help English Learners (ELs) by fulfilling these obligations. The Toolkit has 10 chapters (one for each section of the DCL), and contains an overview, sample tools, and resources.

Fixsen, D. L., Naoom, S. F., Blase, K. A., and Wallace, F. (2007, April). Implementation: The Missing Link Between Research and Practice. APSAC Advisor Excerpt, Volume 19, Numbers 1 & 2, Winter/Spring. National Implementation Research Network, University of South Florida.

For two decades, providers have attempted to integrate research-based treatment and prevention strategies into human service practices, but they remain largely ineffective. This article proposes that implementation — the art and science of incorporating innovations — is the missing link. The authors examine the challenges of bridging the gap between evidence-based research and its application within the complex realm of human services, where “the practitioner is the intervention.” They review two theoretical frameworks for making science-to-service more effective. They recommend developing feedback systems and common outcomes, designing training academies for implementation, and aligning government systems with service providers’ needs.

Advani, A. G., Brown, Z. A., and Anselmi Simpson, B. (2008). What Does the Research Say: Research-based Characteristics of Effective Districts, Schools, and Classrooms that Promote English Learner Achievement. Oakland, CA: WestEd.

This report synthesizes the major themes from research on trends in the field of educating English learners. In a series of charts, the document provides characteristics, definitions, and examples from effective districts, schools, and classrooms that promote English learner achievement. Each characteristic is described succinctly and multiple specific examples are listed. The authors’ intention is to present what the research says in order to provide district and school personnel with an organized set of features found in effective learning environments for English learners. 

Olsen, Laurie. 2012. Secondary School Courses Designed to Address the Language Needs and Academic Gaps of Long Term English Learners. Californians Together, Long Beach, CA. 

The purpose of this report is to articulate the collective emerging knowledge base about how to design and implement effective courses that meet the needs of long-term English learners.

Gold, N. (2006, October). Successful Bilingual Schools: Six Effective Programs in California. San Diego: San Diego County Office of Education.

This report analyzes case studies conducted over a two-year period to investigate successful bilingual education programs in six California schools. The inquiry is focused on primary implementation strategies and notable instructional qualities, including leadership, accountability, teacher qualifications, and professional development. The report shows that a wide range of instructional and organizational factors can lead to academic excellence for English learners, and it lists the features of effective schools and successful programs.

Goldenberg, C. (2008, Summer). Teaching English Language Learners: What the Research Does — and Does Not — Say. American Educator, 8–44. Washington, DC.

Goldenberg summarizes the significant findings of research on educating English language learners (ELLs). He condenses the findings into three key points: 1) teaching children to read in their first language promotes reading achievement in English; 2) what works for learners in general works for ELLs; and 3) teachers must adapt instruction to ELLs’ instructional needs. The author identifies gaps in research by highlighting three groups of questions that educators often ask regarding bilingual reading instruction, oral language development, and the best way to teach ELD. The article includes details on instructional modifications that can strengthen ELLs’ English proficiency and expand access to academic content.

Wei, R. C., Darling-Hammond, L., Andree, A., Richardson, N., and Orphanos, S. (2009). Professional Learning in the Learning Profession: A Status Report on Teacher Development in the United States and Abroad. National Staff Development Council, Dallas, TX, and the School Redesign Network, Stanford University.

This report examines the nature of professional development opportunities available to teachers across the U.S. and in a variety of contexts. The study uses data from multiple surveys to review the relationship between teacher professional development and student learning. It discusses the availability of the formal and informal professional learning opportunities that research finds most effective in the U.S. and in high-achieving nations around the world. The authors conclude that despite high levels of teacher participation in professional development, the U.S. lags behind other countries in providing “the kinds of powerful professional learning opportunities that are more likely to build their capacity and have significant impacts on student learning.”

Coleman, R. and Goldenberg, C. (2012, February). The Common Core Challenge for English Language Learners. Principal Leadership, 46–51.

Coleman and Goldenberg explain that many students who are expected to meet the Common Core State Standards are English language learners (ELLs), yet the standards don’t sufficiently acknowledge the difficulties these students face. ELLs are challenged by the dual task of studying academic content and learning oral and written language skills. Drawing on educational research, the authors suggest guidelines for content learning and English language proficiency, such as sheltered and direct instruction, incorporation of academic language, and structured student talk. They conclude that schools and districts play a key role in ELLs’ achievement, and that school-wide goals and strong leadership are paramount. 

Bunch, G. C., Kibler, A., and Pimentel, S. (2012). Realizing Opportunities for English Learners in the Common Core English Language Arts and Disciplinary Literacy Standards. Understanding Language: Language, Literacy, and Learning in the Content Areas. Stanford University School of Education.

This paper investigates what needs to be done by educators of ELLs to realize opportunities presented by the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and the literacy standards in various subjects. The authors focus on four areas that the standards highlight as required for literacy and for career and college readiness: engaging with complex texts to expand knowledge across the curriculum; using evidence for analysis in writing and research; speaking and listening in order to work cooperatively and present ideas; and developing linguistic resources. 

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