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Empowering Secondary Students

Setting the stage for meaningful ELD

Many English learners at the secondary level see ELD as a sentence they must endure and an indication of academic failure. ELD must be reframed as intensive, accelerated, and short term. Our instruction needs to reflect a commitment to this reframing and clarify the purpose of dedicated language learning.

Secondary Systematic ELD Introductory Week

The Secondary Systematic ELD Introductory Week is a powerful way to re-energize and focus teachers and students on two critical components of effective ELD instruction:

  •  Building a community that is safe, supportive, and centered on the “So what?” of ELD.
  •  Internalizing a range of interaction routines to engage students, promote robust discussions, and give teachers opportunities to listen in on students’ ideas and language needs.

Using knowledge students bring, the five lessons give them a window into their existing communicative expertise and insight into their ability to grow it through language study. The lessons build metacognitive awareness about how sharpening students’ language skills – using language in increasingly precise and nuanced ways ­– is central to accomplishing their goals. 

The lessons also help teachers establish protocols for interaction routines with expectations for student accountability, participation, and engagement. These well-organized systems lead to smooth management.

Unlike Systematic ELD lessons, this week does not explicitly teach language or target a specific proficiency level, but rather illuminates students’ power to use language to communicate their thinking and the importance of language study within dedicated ELD.

Download the FREE Secondary Systematic ELD Introductory Week of lessons and handouts:

Secondary Systematic ELD Instructional Units


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.

Some adolescent English learners have been steadily growing in their English language skills. Many LTELs have been entrenched at an intermediate, or expanding, proficiency level for several years. Still others have reached a more advanced level and are ready to bridge to fully confident grade-level proficiency in English. They all deserve skilled language instruction to solidify and deepen their knowledge of English, and to become confident using increasingly complex language structures and sophisticated vocabulary.

Secondary Systematic ELD Instructional Units are designed to provide language instruction that is highly interactive, student centered, standards aligned, and specific to students’ identified proficiency level. 

Scope and Sequence

The units follow an articulated scope and sequence of language skills and equip students to meet content standards. Together, the six units collectively teach the competencies at a given English proficiency level. They are organized to teach and practice high-leverage patterns for communicative and cognitive purposes – or functions – in greater depth and complexity throughout the year, and for this reason, they should be taught in sequence.

Unit 1: Pathways to Success (Expanding and Bridging levels available now)

The goal of Unit One is to learn language to interpret a range of concepts related to success. English learners explain habits of success, challenges that prevent people from meeting goals, and ways to develop habits of success.

Unit 2: Wonders of the United States (Expanding and Bridging levels available now)

The goal of Unit Two is to learn language to analyze and critique the history, issues, and values tied to national parks (EXP/INT) and monuments (BRI/ADV).

Unit 3: Money Matters (Expanding and Bridging levels available now)

The goal of Unit Three is to learn language to classify needs and wants, and to give informed opinions about how to save and spend money in ways that support personal goals.

Unit 4*  Winter 2020

Unit 5* – Spring 2020

Unit 6*  Summer 2020

 *Development of New to English proficiency level will begin once the EXP/INT and BRI/ADV strands are complete.

Partner District teachers who have attended an Elementary Systematic ELD Institute may order the units by contacting We provide a support webinar, "Introduction to the Secondary ELD Instructional Units," on the password-protected Secondary ELD Instructional Units web page.

Interested in learning more about how to become a Partner District in order to implement? Go to Getting Started!

Partner Districts interested in launching or expanding a Secondary ELD initiative, please check our Events for upcoming institutes. If you are using a Secondary Systematic ELD Instructional Unit but don't have access to the electronic resources (sidebar menu item: Secondary Systematic ELD Units), please email

Ordering Information

Systematic ELD Instructional Unit materials are available only for Institute participants. To place an online order for instructional units or additional Interactive Notebooks, please click here.

Or use the E.L. Achieve Partner District Order Form:

Secondary Systematic ELD Support Kit – A resource for all units

All Systematic ELD Instructional Units require the tools included in the Support Kit. Each kit contains sufficient materials for 40 students. 

Secondary Systematic ELD Support Kit, ACHV300 - $295

The Support Kit includes tools that encourage interactive language practice among students. While the tools were designed to be used with Systematic ELD lessons, they are generic and can be used to support language practice throughout the instructional day. Take full advantage! 


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