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New! A family-friendly explanation of Systematic ELD is available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.


Click here to view our partner districts.

A comprehensive approach for developing English proficiency is essential to ensuring the academic achievement of English learners. Integral to such an approach is explicit language instruction in every class, every day. Language development to support content learning is driven by the demands of grade-level academic work.

In contrast, Systematic ELD is a dedicated instructional block that is driven by students’ assessed English proficiency levels. The goal is to move students from one proficiency level to the next. Systematic ELD builds a solid foundation in English by teaching language that English learners:

  • are not likely to learn outside of school or efficiently pick up on their own,
  • will not explicitly learn in other subject areas, and
  • need to use for effective academic learning, classroom participation, and real-life purposes.

The Common Core and other content standards assume native English proficiency. Systematic ELD provides a time for English learners to learn and practice language they need in order to navigate rigorous content instruction and a myriad of adult and peer interactions, such as discussions and collaborative work.

Systematic ELD challenges students to explore language in compelling and playful ways, continually growing their ability to use English flexibly, fluently, and accurately – to have agency over their own language use. Ultimately, the goal of Systematic ELD is for English to be a bridge to academic success rather than a barrier. 


Critical Research-based Features of Systematic ELD Instruction

  • Places language learning and exploration squarely in the foreground.
  • Groups students by assessed proficiency level as determined by multiple sources, such as state language assessments, analysis of writing samples for vocabulary and grammatical knowledge (using the ELD Matrix of Linguistic Knowledge or language-focused writing rubric), the Express Placement Assessment, and recorded observations of oral production.
  • Uses a functional language approach organized around essential purposes for communication. Language tasks are highly applicable to real-world and academic interactions that students must adroitly navigate. Instruction draws students’ attention to a variety of aspects of English (e.g., rhythm and cadence, pronunciation, colloquial expressions, formal and informal registers).
  • Provides an organized method of language instruction to prevent gaps and fill existing gaps in language knowledge that can hinder students’ achievement of full English proficiency.
  • Follows a developmental scope and sequence of language skills identified in ELD standards and the Systematic ELD handbook.
  • Is explicitly taught and emphasizes oral language development through structured, purposeful interaction, with substantive written practice to ensure that students develop in-depth understanding of how English works and acquire fluency and an accurate command of all modes of communication.
  • The following documents show how the Elementary units align. Similar documents are in development for Secondary Systematic ELD.



Systematic ELD Institutes

Our five-day Teacher Strand incorporates reading, presentation, discussion, and collaborative practice to apply newly learned skills and for facilitated planning. Each participant receives a handbook with a research-based framework and vision of instruction, along with plenty of practical tools. Teachers are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and tools to provide effective language instruction that meets and challenges students at their respective levels. In this way, they learn how to constructively build their students’ language competence.

The Administrator Strand includes time for site and district administrators to participate alongside their team of teachers for selected one- to two-hour sessions on each of the five Teacher Strand days.

The Administrator Strand also includes three full-day sessions for principals and other administrators to become familiar with a systems approach for purposeful and sustainable implementation. Site leaders prepare to set up their schools to effectively launch the new initiative – from rolling out initial Institutes to creating support structures and setting expectations. They learn the what and how of explicit language instruction, how to support teachers in doing their fieldwork, and what to look for in classroom practice. They visit classrooms, gather data, and practice calibrating their analyses to provide purposeful feedback.

All Institute days are strategically spaced to allow time for fieldwork that guides participants in trying out new learning and collecting information to bring back for discussion and reflection.


Capacity-building Model

E.L. Achieve’s initiative work is not a one-time event. Throughout all phases of implementation – exploring, planning, launching, and sustaining – district teams work toward established goals. After initial training, there is ongoing support for improving classroom instruction. We provide videos to discuss, guides for self-reflection, rubrics for developing key teaching skills, and protocols for facilitating collaborative, results-driven discussions.

As part of our district capacity-building model, partner districts join E.L. Achieve’s expert networks through leadership seminars and ongoing support. Our goal is for districts to take ownership of the initiative and achieve deep, system-wide classroom implementation that leads to increased English learner achievement.


 Website links to ELD standards in our Partner District states:

*Please note: These links will take you to websites not maintained by E.L. Achieve.


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