Announcements on this page are generally from the Department of Education's Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), or other relevant government agencies and offices, about concerns facing English learner (EL) education. The date listed indicates either when the announcement was published in Nexus, NCELA's semimonthly newsletter, or occasionally, published directly on this page. Links are provided to original sources, when available.
NEW!! NPD Grantee Spotlight: Addressing the Achievement Gap through the RULE of 3
June 22, 2022
The University of California, Riverside received two National Professional Development (NPD) grants from the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) for Project Moving Forward/Adelante (2017) and Project Avanzando (2021). The project team featured their work on closing the achievement gap for English learners (ELs) using the RULE of 3 curriculum at the 2022 NPD Program Directors Meeting. The RULE of 3 is a language and literacy program designed to accelerate the achievement of early childhood ELs and other diverse learners. This acceleration model gives students the foundational skills they need to successfully access academic learning across subject areas and in subsequent grades. During the pandemic, the RULE of 3 curriculum was enhanced and moved to a multimedia, online format at ABCRULEof3.com.
Check out our Q&A with Project Director and University of California, Riverside, Research Professor Dr. Linda Ventriglia-Navarrette, who discusses the potential impact of this research, success stories, her inspiration for pursuing this work, and additional resources.
Q: How would you describe your program if you were on an elevator and had 60 seconds to do so?
The RULE of 3 is a language and literacy program designed to accelerate the achievement of early childhood ELs and other diverse learners. The RULE of 3 is a multifaceted learning system that provides integrated vocabulary, academic language, and literacy development, including phonological skills. The system is based on the principles of psychology and education using a Vygotskian creative construction framework, which states that language and phonological systems need to unite separate functions into new combinations to be successfully learned. The RULE of 3 uses the three processes of REHEARSE, ANALYZE, and PRODUCE to integrate the semantic, phonological, and syntactic components of language.
Q: What inspired you to pursue this research/project?
Throughout my life I have had significant experiences that inspired me to pursue this research.
First, as a child growing up in East Los Angeles, California, in a multilingual neighborhood, I saw the power of education to change people’s destinies. I was a first-generation college student and the first one in my family to get a college degree. I wanted to give back to my community.
I thought I could best help my community by becoming a teacher. As a teacher and a bilingual school psychologist, I saw the inequities in educational opportunities for ELs and other students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. This notable achievement gap for ELs and students from lower socio-economic backgrounds was addressed in schools through remediation in the schools I worked in.
I subsequently attended graduate school at Harvard to learn about potential solutions to addressing the achievement gap. I learned this long-standing problem of the achievement gap was very clearly defined and documented in numerous articles. However, the solution to close the achievement gap was not clearly defined.
I was determined to find a solution. As a school psychologist, I learned that remediation of students rarely closed the achievement gap. Remediation also had negative connotations. If remediation did not work, the question was what would work?
I researched many possibilities and decided the answer was acceleration.
I determined that acceleration for ELs had to include academic vocabulary tied to standards-based language and literacy skills. There also needed to be a systematic way for teachers to develop the critical language and literacy skills ELs needed to access learning across the curriculum. Thus, the RULE of 3 curriculum was created.
Q: In your view, what does your grant mean to the field, and what does it mean, for you, to receive an OELA grant?
The research made possible by the Project Adelante grant shows the potential of the RULE of 3 acceleration model for closing the long-existing achievement gap for ELs. The RULE of 3 acceleration model gives students the foundational skills they need to successfully access academic learning across subject areas and in subsequent grades.
Q: What’s exciting about your research’s potential impact?
Although the RULE of 3 has been implemented in states across the United States, it has been difficult to physically go to all the school districts that could benefit from the accelerated curriculum. Our goal to disseminate the program to more districts was impacted by time, distance, and COVID. Teachers and parents asked us to put the RULE of 3 curriculum online. Although we initially struggled, we put together a team who helped create the RULE of 3 technologically enhanced multimedia online curriculum, ABCRULEof3.com, and with the support of the Project Avanzando grant we received in 2021, we were able to further develop the online program.
ABCRULEof3.com is a unique offering for ELs. Unlike other online programs that offer activities alone, ABCRULEof3.com focuses on engaging standards-based English language development and literacy lessons. The 350 standards-based lessons are delivered by an affable and entertaining animated teacher, referred to as an Animated Pedagogical Agent (APA). The whimsical teacher named Mrs. Panda engages young ELs and other diverse learners in language and literacy learning through catchy songs, literacy games, and animated stories. The website called “mrspandaverse” has many possibilities for accelerating and differentiating instruction for ELs starting in transitional kindergarten (TK).
California’s and the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) movement to expand TK for all students creates an opportunity to close the gap for ELs and other diverse learners from lower socio-economic backgrounds as early as TK by implementing the RULE of 3 acceleration model in-person, online, or through a blended approach.
Initial results show that students using the ABCRULEof3.com online technologically enhanced curriculum did as well as students learning with the RULE of 3 in person. Our research evidence suggests that the RULE of 3 acceleration model offers one solution for closing the achievement gap and leveling the playing field for ELs and other diverse learners.
Q: Share a success story.
Our process to assess the efficacy of the RULE of 3 acceleration model for ELs and other diverse learners yielded exciting results. We present our research results as one solution for closing the achievement gap for ELs and we are currently submitting the results of three studies to ED’s What Works Clearinghouse.
In our initial study, we implemented the RULE of 3 learning system first in two Title 1 schools in Moreno Valley, California, with over 60% EL students. The first-year results showed that all students made significant gains in English language arts on state testing and the achievement gap was closed significantly.
In the second study, we focused on evaluating the impact of the RULE of 3 on early language and literacy acceleration through a randomized study that included 371 kindergarten students in nine schools with 89% EL students. The results using the DIBELS ® (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) showed that 76.1% of students in the RULE of 3 experimental classrooms attained national benchmarks as compared to 5% of students in control classrooms. Previous findings indicate that students who meet benchmark goals in kindergarten have an 89–90% likelihood of continuing to meet further literacy goals in subsequent grades.
Finally, in response to teacher demand, we created a transitional kindergarten (TK) RULE of 3 curriculum. After one year of implementation, we did a quasi-experimental study that assessed RULE of 3 and control classes on the Gates Mac-Ginitie test of early literacy. The study included four TK classrooms with 81% ELs. The results showed that TK ELs who were in the RULE of 3 classrooms scored higher than 74% of kindergarten students in the national sample. They acquired literacy and language skills significantly better than the control group.
Q: Are there resources that you’d like to share with the field? Where can we learn more about your work?
Project Moving Forward/Adelante has been featured in many newspaper articles. The RULE of 3 curriculum was also highlighted in 2019 on a PBS special series hosted by Harvard Professor Robert Putnam, which focused on programs that were closing the achievement gap. Parents and teachers interviewed for the series testified to the academic growth of students. Teachers stated that before the implementation of Project Moving Forward and the RULE of 3 curriculum in their classrooms, kindergarten students learned only about half of the alphabet letter names. After the implementation of Project Moving Forward, kindergarten students learned to decode words and they exited kindergarten as readers.
You can learn more about our work here:
AskNCELA: Adult Education & Parent Roles in K–12 Education
May 2, 2022
AskNCELA has new responses to your frequently asked questions! These FAQs were submitted during OELA’s January 2022 webinar, Education and Afghan Newcomers: Keeping the Promise, hosted in partnership with the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Office for Civil Rights:
1. What resources exist to support adult education?
For information on adult education resources visit the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). OCTAE administers and coordinates programs related to adult education and literacy, career and technical education (CTE), and community colleges. For news about career and technical education, access the OCTAE Connection Newsletter and OCTAE Blog. OELA has also recently released an infographic on the benefits of CTE for multilingual learners.
2. What can we do to help parents understand their roles in K-12 education systems?
The Family and Community Engagement Team at the U.S. Department of Education is dedicated to strengthening the voices of families by focusing on the needs of students with the mission to allow every student to reach their full potential. Their website provides many resources on how family members can support their children in U.S. schools. In addition, the English Learner Family Toolkit produced by OELA is intended to help families advocate for their children’s needs in U.S. educational context. Educators, elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and other school staff can share the toolkit as a resource for English learners and their families. Two chapters of the toolkit are currently published, and additional chapters are forthcoming.
April is National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month
April 1, 2022
This April, join the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) as we recognize National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month. As the populations of bilingual and multilingual learners (MLLs) continue to grow, we want to celebrate their accomplishments, affirm the assets that they bring to the educational environment, and advocate for the resources they need to succeed in school and life.
Explore the resources below on multilingualism, bilingual education, newcomers, and sources for finding student data. We've also created a social media toolkit that you can use to share resources from OELA, the U.S. Department of Education, and other organizations in the field.
• 2022 Social Media Toolkit
• OELA Infographic: Benefits of Multilingualism
• OELA Fact Sheet: Dual Language Learning Programs and English Learners
• OELA Fact Sheet: English Learners and Critical Languages
• OELA Podcast: Dual Language Education
• OELA Podcast: English Learners in Secondary Schools
• OELA Newcomer Toolkit
• Policy Briefs: Bilingual Education Across the U.S.
• Infographic: Recognizing Bilingual Knowledge Through Biliteracy Seals
• Focus on NAEP: English Learners and NAEP Assessments
• Common Core of Data
• Digest of Education Statistics
Lessons from the Field: Supporting the Social & Emotional Learning Needs of Afghan & Other Newcomer Students
March 25, 2022
In case you missed it, you can now watch a recording of Lessons from the Field: Supporting the Social and Emotional Learning Needs of Afghan and Other Newcomer Students, a webinar featuring information on strategies to assist Afghan and other newcomer students as they enter American schools. As part of Operation Allies Welcome, the U.S. Department of EDucation recognizes the immediate and urgent need to provide high-quality, culturally responsive approaches to support the social and emotional needs of Afghan students in their new learning environments.
The information presented is relevant to other newcomer student populations. A panel discussion with practitioners from the field directly engaged with supporting newcomers is the focus of this webinar. More information along with supplemental resources can be found here. The webinar previously announced for April 18 will be rescheduled.
AskNCELA: Trauma-Informed Learning & Immigration Status
March 21, 2022
AskNCELA is back with more responses to FAQs from OELA’s January webinar Education and Afghan Newcomers: Keeping the Promise, hosted in partnership with the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Office for Civil Rights:
1. What are best practices around trauma-informed learning?
One of the resources from the U.S. Department of Education is The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments, which is funded by the Office of Safe and Supportive Schools. The Center provides information and technical assistance to states, districts, schools, institutions of higher learning, and communities for improving school climate and conditions for learning. When equipped with the right resources and support, educators and educational stakeholders can collaborate to create and sustain safe, engaging, and healthy school environments that support student academic success. The Center’s website includes information about training and technical assistance, products and tools, as well as latest research findings.
You may also find the page on Cultural and Linguistic Competence helpful as you work to support Afghan newcomers.
2. To what extent does immigration status affect Afghans’ access to Federal Aid and other scholarships to attend higher education?
Students who are not U.S. citizens but have permanent resident status may qualify for financial aid. More information and frequently asked questions about federal student aid and non-U.S. citizens can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.
AskNCELA: Education & Afghan Newcomer FAQs
February 18, 2022
On January 24, 2022, the Office of English Language Acquisition in partnership with the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Office for Civil Rights hosted a webinar entitled Keeping the Promise: Education and Afghan Newcomers. There were many questions raised that will be addressed in coming editions of Nexus. In addition, please stay tuned for two additional webinars on March 16 at 3:00 p.m. ET and April 18 at 4:00 p.m. ET. These webinars will address best practices for welcoming, registering, and ensuring access to high-quality, culturally responsive education (registration links coming soon).
1. What are the rights of Afghan newcomers to education? How does the U.S. Department of Education support these rights?
In the United States all children have the right to free public education. Children have this right regardless of their or their parents’ or guardians’ immigration status. Confronting Discrimination Based on National Origin and Immigration Status: A Resource For Families and Educators is a new resource from the Civil Rights Division (the Division) of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education that outlines the rights of students and their families when enrolling and attending school in the United States. This document reminds families and educators that schools may not prevent or discourage children from enrolling because of immigration status or lack of documentation such as birth certificates or social security cards. The document also states that schools must provide language assistance as well as disability related services to all students who may need them. This resource also provides guidance on what families can do if they believe that their child is experiencing discrimination based on immigration status, or if their child is not receiving services that he or she is entitled to.
Additional resources on schools’ civil rights obligations to English learners and parents who require English language assistance can be found here.
2. What language resources exist in Dari and Pashto to help communities support our Afghan newcomers?
The U.S. Department of Education has launched a Keeping the Promise webpage that features resources to help communities support Afghan newcomers and their families. This page features a number of curated resources intended to help SEAs and LEAs in serving Afghan newcomers. Under the Linguistic and Cultural Resources tab, you will find helpful tools and resources on Dari and Pashto languages, as well as Afghan history and culture that can help communities in the U.S. welcome and support Afghan newcomers.
AskNCELA: Support for Afghan ELs
AskNCELA provides information that can be of use to educators, parents, learners, leaders, and other stakeholders in their efforts to ensure that every student, including English learners (ELs), is provided with the highest quality education and expanded opportunities to succeed.
- Anchorage, AK: Referrals to health and social services, counseling and work programs, school and community orientations;
- Austin, TX: Offering Dari and Pashto translation/interpretation services;
- Charlottesville, VA: Partnering with the local community college to provide adults with educational opportunities including ESL courses;
- Cajon Valley Union District, CA: Assisting in evacuation efforts, involving parents in the school and classroom via home-language communication;
- Elk Grove Unified School District, CA: Offering culturally appropriate meals, setting aside rooms for prayer, opening welcome centers for refugees;
- Fremont Unified School District, CA: Running Immigrant Family Reunification Program, conducting a needs analysis, hiring more translators;
- San Juan Unified, CA: Employing a school community refugee specialist and refugee teams, providing donated food, clothing, and wheelchairs, helping parents schedule doctors’ appointments, partnering with resettlement agencies.
- Welcoming Afghan Families: Lessons Learned from Austin ISD
- Refugee Family Support Office
- Here's How Schools Are Helping Afghan Refugee Students
- You are Welcome Here: Support for Immigrant Students in Dearborn Michigan
- California Schools Prepare for Thousands of Afghan Refugee Students
- Fairfax County Schools, Students Open Doors and Arms to Afghan Refugees
- Immigrant Family Reunification Program
- Afghan Refugee Resources
- Haywood Elementary, Community Achieves work hard to make Refugees feel at home
- Nearly 300 Afghan refugees coming to Nashville
- Sacramento City Unified Reports at Least Eight Students Remain Trapped in Afghanistan; Stands in Solidarity with Refugee Community
- San Juan Unified Hires Team to Support Refugees
Highlights from the 2016–18 Biennial Report to Congress
October 25, 2021
The 2016–18 Biennial Report to Congress on the Title III State Formula Grant Program has just been published by the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA). The biennial report presents self-reported data from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Takeaways from the report:
- State educational agency (SEA) funding: The overall level of federal funding for Title III decreased slightly (0.5%) from school year (SY) 2016–17 to SY 2017–18. At the SEA level, funding for 20 SEAs increased from SY 2016–17.
- Support activities for English learners (ELs): The three most common activities SEAs conducted to support local educational agencies (LEAs) were helping ELs meet State academic standards, identifying or implementing measures of English language proficiency, and increasing parent, family, and community engagement.
- EL population: SEAs in SY 2017–18 identified a total of 5,011,462 ELs, an increase of 61,062 more ELs than the previous school year.
- EL educators: Between SY 2016–17 and SY 2017–18, there was an increase in the number of certified EL instructors and a slight decrease in the projected number of certified instructors needed.
- English proficiency: In SY 2017–18, SEAs began reporting the number and percentage of ELs who have not attained English proficiency after five years of being classified as an EL. The reported percentages ranged from a low of 3% (Puerto Rico) to a high of 8% (Louisiana), with a median of 18%.
- EL status: SY 2017–18 was also the first year SEAs reported data on ELs who exited language instruction educational programs. Thirty-eight SEAs reported these percentages, which ranged from a high of 82% (Missouri) to a low of 2% (Alabama and Montana).
OELA Discretionary Grant Reports Published
August 10, 2021
OELA has just published new discretionary reports highlighting grantee progress for the 2019–20 project year from the Native American and Alaska Native Children in School (NAM) and National Professional Development (NPD) programs. The reports are based on performance results from the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA).
NPD Discretionary Report - 2016 and 2017 Cohorts
The NPD program supports professional development activities designed to improve classroom instruction for ELs and assist educational personnel working with such children to meet high professional standards. In 2019–20, more than 10,000 PreK–12 teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, school support staff, and families participated in programs administered by the 2016 and 2017 grantees. In addition, more than 1,100 preservice teachers were served in teacher preparation programs administered by both cohorts, with 80% of the grantees meeting their participation and recruitment targets.
NAM Discretionary Report - 2016 and 2018 Cohorts
The goal of the NAM program is to support the teaching, learning, and studying of Native American languages. In 2019-20, more than 4,000 PreK-12 students participated in Native language programs administered by the 2016 grantees; 96% of students served by the 2016 cohort made progress on the state-approved English proficiency exam. More than 600 PreK-12 students participated in Native language programs administered by the 2018 grantees, with 88% of students served attaining proficiency in English on the state-approved English proficiency exam.
New Infographic: English Learners Who Are Black
April 30, 2021
A new infographic from OELA highlights facts on Black students within the English learner (EL) population. According to data from the 2017-2018 school year 223,893, or 4.2%, of K–12 ELs identify as Black in U.S. schools. In some states, such as South Dakota and Maine, more than 25% of all Black students are ELs. Among the top 10 local educational agencies (LEAs) with the highest percentage of Black students who are ELs, percentages ranged from 12.2% to almost 75%. Minnesota had the most LEAs in the top 10 LEAs reporting the largest percentage of Black ELs. Download English Learners Who Are Black to learn more.
NPD Spotlight: WritEL Grant at Eastern Michigan University
March 23, 2021
NPD 2016 Recipient: Eastern Michigan University (EMU)>
Dr. Zuzana Tomas, Grant PI | Ms. Sarah Lorenz, Project Director
Writing Research Intervention for Teaching English Learners (WritEL) is a 5-year, National Professional Development (NPD) grant-funded project. The main goals of WritEL are to:
- Provide world-class TESOL training and certification to K–12 teachers in Southeast Michigan;
- Research the effects of the College, Career, and Community Writers Program (C3WP) — a nationally recognized argument-writing program — on the writing outcomes for English learners (ELs) in grades 6–12; and
- Involve preservice teachers in community-based literacy activities for ELs by assisting with an adult community-based ESL program, an afterschool program for elementary school ELs, and family literacy programs.
Goal 1: Provide world-class TESOL training and certification to K–12 teachers in Southeast Michigan
By the end of this grant, more than 50 K–12 teachers will have received the ESL Endorsement and MA in TESOL. Of those who have already completed the program, 95% have evaluated it as effective. This was a result of several important programmatic initiatives. First, EMU’s TESOL program carefully considered the employment constraints and commuting needs of the participating K–12 teachers by complementing the traditional graduate classes held on campus with new intensive summer courses, hybrid and online courses, service-learning courses, and an innovative Study Abroad program that allowed 28 Michigan in-service and preservice teachers to travel to Montenegro and earn credits toward their TESOL credentials. This was a highlight for many of our program completers who felt deeply impacted by the immersive experience of teaching ELs in Montenegro while experiencing the linguistic and cultural “otherness” firsthand. (For more information on the impact of this program on the U.S.-based participants and the Montenegrin community, see Tomas et al., 2020a, 2020b, or click here for a short overview video.)
Goal 2: Research the effects of C3WP — a nationally recognized argument-writing program from the National Writing Project — on the writing outcomes for English learners in grades 6–12
Of the K–12 participating teachers, 24 of those teaching ELs in grades 6–12 have participated in a 2-year, 100-hour professional development focused on implementing C3WP resources and instruction. Instructional coaches supported the implementation of this rigorous argument-writing program during the school year, building on the foundational concepts taught in summer and weekend workshops. Preliminary findings from our quasi-experimental study have pointed to statistically significant improvements on argument-writing outcomes for those ELs whose teachers took part in our C3WP professional development. While COVID-19 slowed down the data collection in this main research study, we intend to finalize this impactful research and disseminate the findings to benefit the disciplines of TESOL and Writing Pedagogy. In the meantime, we have shared other aspects of this research initiative in a collaborative article that examined the ways in which our teachers have adapted C3WP units with ELs. This article is included in the special issue of the Language Arts Journal of Michigan, focused on culturally and linguistically diverse pedagogies (see Walsh et al., 2021).
Goal 3: Involve preservice teachers in community-based literacy activities for English learners by assisting with an adult community-based ESL program, an afterschool program for elementary school ELs, and family literacy programs
The service-learning, community-engaged approach to TESOL education embraced in EMU’s TESOL program made the second priority of the 2016 NPD grant — EL family engagement — a particularly good fit for us. We capitalized on our connections to local partner organizations and offered exciting opportunities for local ELs and their families. This community-engaged programming was three-fold. First, we offered weekly ESL services to interested adults in our community, working closely with Washtenaw Literacy, a local partner organization with a 50-year-long tradition of serving basic and ESL literacy needs of adults in our area. Second, we offered 16, four-session family literacy events at local schools. In this family literacy program, EL families were guided through the writing process, which culminated in creation of bilingual family stories that were compiled in a booklet, presented, and shared with participants at the end of the series. Finally, our preservice teachers also had an opportunity to develop an afterschool program for ELs at a partner elementary school. The positive impact on both the preservice teachers and participating ELs is shared in Macknish et al. (2018). An account of our effort to strive toward asset-oriented, youth-led initiatives can be found in Tomas et al. (2021), another collaborative article published in the special issues on culturally and linguistically diverse pedagogies in the Language Arts Journal of Michigan.
Having such a positive impact on EL learners, their families, and teachers in Southeast Michigan has been an incredible privilege for us. We are grateful for this experience, as well as for the continued support for our work by both the Office of English Language Acquisition and the National Writing Project organizations.
References to WritEL-related publications
DeCamillis, K. (under review). Hyperdocs, GIFs, and Padlet: Making online, remote writing instruction accessible for ELs.
Macknish, C., Tomas, Z., & Vojktulaková, M. (2018). Examining performance and attitudes of TESOL preservice teachers and their English learners in a service-learning project. In A. J. Wurr (Ed.), The reading matrix: An online international journal.
Tomas, Z., DeCamillis, K., & Lorenz, S. (in progress). Examining teachers’ online argument writing instruction for English learners.
Tomas, Z., VanHorn-Gable, A., & Marniković, S. (2020). TESOL service-learning study abroad: Examining the impact on American pre- and in-service teachers and Montenegrin community stakeholders. TEFL-EJ International, 23(4).
Tomas, Z., VanHorn-Gable, A., & Marniković, S. (2020). Thinking locally in a global context: Principles for designing an innovative community-engaged study abroad program in TESOL. In L. Beacher (Ed.), Study abroad in teacher education: Transformative learning at the global scale (pp. 213–225). Routledge Press.
Tomas, Z., Vojtkulakova, M., Lehotska, N., & Schottin, M. (2021). Examining the value of online intercultural exchange (OIE) in cultivating agency-focused, (inter)culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogy: A story of one collaborative international project for English learners. The Language Arts Journal of Michigan, 36(1). https://doi.org/10.9707/2168-149X.2267
Walsh, K., Robinson, K., Deacon, R., & Tomas, Z. (2021). Enhancing cultural and linguistic responsiveness in argument writing pedagogy through effective adaptations for English learners: Insights from C3WP resource analysis and three experienced teachers’ practices. The Language Arts Journal of Michigan, 36(1). https://doi.org/10.9707/2168-149X.2268
Biennial Report Presents Data on English Learners (ELs) Served by Title III from 2014–2016
January 12, 2021
The Biennial Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Title III State Formula Grant Program, School Years 2014–2016 has just been released by the Office of English Language Acquisition. The report presents self-reported data from state educational agencies (SEAs) from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico on ELs served by Title III funds.
- Summary of state distribution and allocations of Title III funds to SEAs and subgrantees.
- National overview of ELs and immigrant children and youth.
- Description of the language instruction educational programs that local educational agencies used.
- Progress that SEAs and subgrantees are making toward required accountability measures.
- Information on former ELs.
- Overview of certified or licensed teachers working with ELs.
Strategic Priorities for NCELA in 2021
December 22, 2020
- Increasing family engagement: We will focus on developing tools to help parents understand and navigate education in America.
- Expanding access to distance learning: Our goal is to partner with teachers and families to understand technology limitations impacting English learners (ELs) and adjusting our approach to ensure deficiencies are being identified, addressed, and mitigated.
- Enhancing retention of heritage languages: We will promote new and different educational opportunities to students who speak two or more languages, including four-year degrees, translation certificates, and other technical career options.
We'd like to hear from you! What are your priorities and needs for 2021? Share them with us at email@example.com.
New Infographic: Benefits of Multilingualism
August 5, 2020
There are multiple benefits to being multilingual, multiliterate, and multicultural in today’s global society. Benefits of Multilingualism, a new infographic from the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), illustrates the cognitive, educational, economic, and sociocultural benefits of learning multiple languages.
NAM Grant Highlight: Mâyuhtyâôk (Building Pathways) for Wampanoag Student Achievement
July 21, 2020
The Numukayuhsunônak (Our Children Speak Two Languages) program in Mashpee, MA, this summer is celebrating its first ever Wampanoag Tribal student to successfully complete Wôpanâak Pâsuq (Level 1), Nees (Level 2), and Nuhsh (Level 3), along with submission of an outstanding multi-part language portfolio. Ms. Alyssa Harris, a citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and graduating member of the Mashpee High School Class of 2020, was recognized by the board of directors of the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project (WLRP) and the Office of the Superintendent for Mashpee Public Schools “for exemplary performance and completion of a comprehensive set of Wôpanâak language portfolio activities.” Harris is also the first student in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to ever pursue the Seal of Biliteracy in a Native American language.*
Harris’ Wôpanâak language teacher Melanie Roderick, from the Assonet Band of Wampanoag, is a long-time community language instructor now applying her 17 years’ experience gained as a student and teacher to offer daily World Language credit-bearing courses for public high school students in Mashpee. Approximately three dozen students have enrolled in the Wôpanâak language courses since their inception, and Roderick is impressed with Harris’ tenacity in completing the course sequence and portfolio assessment process. “It’s a challenging language to learn as a second language learner, and it can be intimidating to sit down with our highly trained linguists to be evaluated,” she says.
This year, as a senior in the level 3 language course, Wôpanâak Nuhsh, Harris also elected to complete a Wôpanâak language portfolio in pursuit of the State and Global Seals of Biliteracy. While Harris’ final assessments fell just shy of the Intermediate ratings necessary for the seals, she has initiated a new pathway for future generations of Wôpanâak language students by helping create a new language portfolio process, and her dedicated work this year helps WLRP’s teaching and linguistic team to further develop and refine its growing high school curriculum offerings.
Numukayuhsunônak is a five-year bilingual program offered by the nonprofit organization WLRP with funding from the Native American and Alaska Native Students in School program of the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA). WLRP partnered with its local education agency, the Mashpee Public Schools district (MPS) and the Mashpee Middle and High School (MMHS) World Languages Department to launch a five-course Wôpanâak language sequence for students at MMHS – beginning with Wôpanâak levels 1 and 2 in 2018-2019, and adding level 3 instruction during year two of its NAMs grant. The 2019-2020 academic year also marked MMHS’s pilot year offering all language students the opportunity to pursue both the State and Global Seal of Biliteracy. The seals are awarded to students who achieve Intermediate High or Intermediate Mid language proficiency on the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) scale. MMHS offered students access to standardized tests in French, Korean, and Spanish, and partnered with WLRP to implement a brand new 6-part portfolio assessment process for Wôpanâak language proficiency. WLRP’s linguists are now evaluating possibilities for developing an online standardized assessment instrument as well.
* Wôpanâak (Wampanoag) is a reclaimed Native American language once spoken by 69 Tribes among the greater Wampanoag Nation. Mashpee, or Mâsseepee, and Aquinnah, or Âhqunah—in the language’s modern orthography—are two among only three surviving Wampanoag Tribes who remain on their original lands in the Commonwealth (the third is the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe).
NPD Grant Highlight: Educators and Families for English Learners (EFs4ELs)
July 21, 2020
Educators and Families for English Learners (EFs4ELs), a 2017 grantee from the Office of English Language Acquisition partners with public school districts, charter schools, and community organizations in Ohio, the District of Columbia, and Texas around four goals:
- Provide pre-service and in-service teachers with training/professional development and licensure attainment to systematically build the capacity of classroom teachers to support EL achievement;
- Deliver an online professional development infrastructure for EL instructional skill acquisition to augment in-person coaching and PD and enhance teacher skills and connection
- Support the capacity of administrators, instructional coaches, and staff to bolster the success of EL teachers and learners in grades Pre-K-6 through improved instructional skills, data use, and classroom supports; and
- Expand partnerships with and enhance parent skills of EL learners through technology, targeted intervention, and systematic outreach.
Family Engagement Videos
When COVID-19 physically closed their partnership schools in mid-March, parents of their ELLs were faced with additional struggles. Specifically, parents need support on two fronts: (1) how best to structure routines at home that mirror their child/ren’s learning on a school day in normal times and guidance about how to organize their child/ren’s activities and learning space at home; and (2) how parents can understand and implement informal assessment with their children while they are learning at home during the mandated COVID-19 stay at home order. In several instances, a child asked his/her teacher to explain to their parents what situation would best work for their learning. These videos offer insights for parents around optimal learning contexts. One of the principals posted the weblinks to the videos on the school’s Facebook page. Classroom teachers shared the weblinks through WhatsApp communication. Some texted the weblinks to parents.
|Video Series 1: Organizing Time and Space for Learning|
Organizing Time and Space for Learning (English): https://youtu.be/6CeQ_9s4_0U
Organizing Time and Space for Learning (Somali): https://youtu.be/DlL_lousg4c
Organizar el tiempo y el espacio para el aprendizaje (Spanish): https://youtu.be/FnGoD6nvvIk
|Video Series 2: Understanding Informal Assessment for Your Children|
Understanding Informal Assessment for Your Children (English): https://youtu.be/modTikH7qHo
Understanding Informal Assessment for Your Children (Somali): https://youtu.be/gZhbgvO8pBA
Understanding Informal Assessment for Your Children (Spanish): https://youtu.be/1ooValLbpJw
NPD Grant Highlight: SEE-TEL Leverages Student and Family Strengths to Improve Educator Competence and Confidence
June 22, 2020
Strengthening Equity and Effectiveness for Teachers of English Learners (SEE-TEL) is a five-year, $2.6 million National Professional Development Grant (NPD) from OELA. The main goal of SEE-TEL is to improve and equalize the instruction and achievement of designated ELs across the state of Missouri by developing educators' expertise on effective instructional strategies and family engagement. The grant activities emphasize equity and civil rights for immigrant and refugee children from across the highest-need areas of Missouri.
SEE-TEL educators transcend deficit perspectives and insist on foregrounding what families and students offer the broader community. An article in the November/December 2019 issue of Literacy Today stated that SEE-TEL has shifted the focus from what families need to how they can lead.
US News and World Report and the Washington Times adapted a story from The Joplin Globe, which reported on SEE-TEL's success in connecting four diverse Missouri school districts. As part of SEE-TEL, each district has opportunities to share their challenges and opportunities offered by their EL and immigrant communities.
Evaluations and research reports indicate educators benefit from SEE-TEL's professional development activities. A recent article in TESOL Journal examined how creativity is manifested in online TESOL coursework required by NPD grant participants. Surveys show that from Year 1 to Year 2 of SEE-TEL, participating educators grew more confident in:
- Recognizing differences between school and home-country cultures and communication styles.
- Developing better relationships with families whose children were designated English Learners (e.g., see these slides from Dr. Kim Song's recent presentation at the National Association of Bilingual Education).
- Communicating children's educational progress to immigrant and refugee parents.
- Adapting curriculum and instruction to accommodate and build upon students' diverse home languages
To develop such learning, SEE-TEL content teachers practice careful lesson planning, using this WIDA-Supported Lesson Plan Template, which incorporates such scaffolding elements as four language modalities, key vocabulary words, function/action verbs and more. Download a SEE-TEL Sample Lesson Plan created by one teacher who uses translanguaging pedagogies, multilingual texts and vocabulary word banks.
Technology and Teaching English learners (ELs)
April 3, 2020
The U.S. Department of Education has published resources to help clarify what districts and educators should know, ask, and consider doing when using or developing educational technology to support ELs. The study, Supporting English Learners Through Technology, collected data during the 2016─17 school year through a nationally representative survey of districts that enrolled English Learner (EL) students, a teacher survey that included both mainstream teachers and EL specialists, and case studies of six districts to provide more in-depth information about district and teacher practices. Findings cover how districts and teachers identified digital learning resources (DLRs), how teachers used DLRs, supports for and barriers to DLR use, and suggestions for improving the usefulness of DLRs in instruction of EL students. The Educator Toolkit aims to support educators in using technology to help their English learners gain proficiency in English and meet academic goals. To access these resources, please visit:
- Study: Supporting English Learners through Technology: What Districts and Teachers Say about Digital Learning Resources for English Learners
- Educator Toolkit on Using Digital Learning Resources to Support English Learners
- Fact Sheet: Technology Use with English Learners
- Webinar: Supporting English Learners through Technology
Infographic: Promoting Educational Excellence for English Learners
March 23, 2020
A new infographic released by the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) shows its efforts to promote educational excellence for English learners (ELs). Key highlights:
- Focus areas include family engagement, pathways to multiliteracy, special student populations, STEM, and teacher preparation.
- OELA funds 115 grantees through its three grant programs: NPD, NAM, and D2.
- OELA has published 32 fact sheets on a range of EL subjects, including 17 new topics.
- The NCELA Resource Library, a searchable database, has over 20,000 items on EL education.
- The EL Family Toolkit will soon be released as an app for iPhone and Android.
A Look Back at OELA-Funded Evaluation Studies
January 24, 2020
OELA has funded several evaluation studies on ELs including:
Older Adolescent and Young Adult English Learners (ELs): A Study of Demographics, Policies, and Programs: This study reports on the characteristics and educational attainment of ELs aged 14-21. Recommendations for future research and policy implications based upon the findings are discussed.
Identification of ELs in Gifted and Talented (GT) Programs: Identification procedures and policies have been linked to underrepresentation of ELs in GT programs. This study further explores the patterns of underrepresentation and the processes and challenges of assessing and identifying ELs for these programs. Recommendations for those designing and implementing GT programs include adopting a universal screening policy, using a variety of assessment instruments, establishing a web of communication for stakeholders, and employing professional development as a lever for change.
Data Stories on ELs: These interactive web pages provide a clearer understanding of our diverse EL student population through data pulled from the Common Core of Data (CCD) and the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). The three data stories include:
- English Learners Data Story: Our Nation's English Learners
- English Learners Data Story II: Educational Experiences of English Learners
- English Learners Data Story III: Academic Performance and Outcomes for English Learners
Digital Learning Resources for Instructing ELs: This study highlights digital learning resources (DLRs) to support the English language acquisition and academic achievement of ELs in K-12 education. There are also two related toolkits: one offering guiding principles to educators regarding the use of technology with ELs, and one for educational technology developers that provides guidance on the needs of ELs and their educators.