Our blogs bring you experiences and musings on teaching, learning, and leading – from our team, E. L. Achieve partners, and students.


Reading Students’ Invisible Subtitles

Often, English learners disappear in their classrooms and don't feel connected to their peers or teachers. Sometimes they are mislabeled as being disengaged or uncaring. Frequently, they are carrying burdens and hurt we don't know about. These barriers can be crippling – but with skillful teaching strategies, they can be transformed. As a new high school teacher, Grace Dearborn found out that when she reacted to challenging situations with frustration or anger, it rarely helped. A few years into [...]

2019-04-18T22:40:00-05:00April 18, 2019|Blog|

Spark A-ha Moments: Teaching Context Clues to ELs

Confident and engaged readers manage a bunch of strategies as they read. We contribute to English learners’ reading comprehension and vocabulary growth by explicitly talking about these strategies and modeling what they look like in action. We model how to make connections between the text and our previous knowledge, explain how we visualize events as we read, and explain how to use evidence from the text to predict what is to come. We identify when we are [...]

2021-07-12T20:23:44-05:00March 4, 2019|Blog|

Paraprofessionals Serving English Learners: Optimizing Our System of Support

For a district fortunate enough to have paraprofessionals on its team, they can have a crucial influence in the success of English learners. Because they often meet with students in small groups or one on one, paraprofessionals have a unique opportunity to focus their attention on specific students. They can pinpoint challenges, dig into places where students need help, and build caring relationships that bolster student confidence and increase a sense of belonging.   Though not [...]

2021-07-12T20:23:44-05:00December 18, 2018|Blog|

Incremental Revolution: A Constructing Meaning Success Story

Donna Doherty, Eureka City SchoolsGuest blogger Three years ago ... I did not know how to write a simple essay. It would take me about two weeks, and now I can write an essay without really needing any help. This progress was achieved by practicing a lot and writing big essays to prepare me for college. I realized that it’s not as bad as what I thought it would be, to be writing essays all [...]

2021-07-12T20:15:03-05:00August 28, 2018|Blog|

Learning Walks: A Portal to Strengthening Practice

Refining instructional practice is hard work. It requires a positive learning environment – a safe place to take risks. It also requires real-time models to mark, watch, and study how others operate in the classroom, coupled with opportunities to investigate our professional practices and move us closer to instruction that promotes a thriving and productive learning environment for students. Integral to E.L. Achieve’s mission is focusing attention on how we teach so that students can [...]

2021-07-12T20:23:44-05:00May 15, 2018|Blog|

Secondary Systematic ELD Instructional Units: A Teacher’s Perspective

To engage successfully in coursework taught in English, secondary English learners must operate from a competent second-language base. Many adolescent ELs are LTELs, or long-term English learners. They have spent most or all of their educational careers in American schools and are comfortable using English in most settings. On the surface, these students do not seem to need specific language instruction. However, their verbal fluency often masks their need to gain a deeper understanding of English. [...]

2021-07-12T20:23:44-05:00January 23, 2018|Blog|

Increasing English Learners’ Academic Language: Gradual release in content-area classes

How long do English learners need extensive language support? When should you reduce the language support? Teachers who include explicit language support in their content instruction may grapple with when and how to reduce scaffolds and foster independence. Our goal is for students to accurately, flexibly, and confidently express their content understanding. Therefore, to begin to answer these questions, we must first identify the reasons for providing explicit language instruction and how we create effective [...]

2021-07-13T18:33:36-05:00March 31, 2017|Blog|

English Learners and the Department of Education: Equity, access, and advocacy

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

2021-07-12T20:23:44-05:00February 27, 2017|Blog|

Refining English Language Development: A district’s journey

Wilma Kozai, Director; former assistant superintendent, Grandview School DistrictGuest blogger  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. An Honest Self-Assessment Grandview School District is in a [...]

2021-07-13T18:39:27-05:00December 9, 2016|Blog|

English Language Development Materials: Five questions to answer before adopting

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 [...]

2021-08-11T11:46:26-05:00May 18, 2016|Blog|


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