Community Connections: Building Strong Relationships with Communities in an Effort to Better Serve ELL Students

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Schools with significant populations of ELLs in their communities face many different challenges as they think through how to bridge the school-community gap. Although making community connections is important for all schools, the language and cultural differences between educators and business and church leaders in these areas of high ELL concentrations can certainly make the [...]

Beyond Translation: Connecting with Parents of ELLs

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It’s so easy to say that schools need to forge stronger ties with their students’ parents. However, the reality of doing that can certainly be a challenge, particularly when working with the parents of English language learners (ELLs). Often, the parents of ELL students face similar, if not more pronounced, challenges communicating in English as [...]

Factors Affecting Language Acquisition

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Educators know that students learn content and skills at very different rates. Most likely, you’ve seen some students excel, grasping new concepts very quickly, while other students need more time or any number of other pedagogical supports to aid their learning. In our article last month, we talked about Krashen and Terrell’s (1983) five major second [...]

Instructional Leadership at Work

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As a high school math teacher at a charter school in Boston, I struggled to teach algebra to students with varying levels of math skills. Some entered my classroom still needing to master changing fractions to decimals and percentages, while others were ready to grapple with the quadratic equation, point-slope form and writing linear equations. [...]

The Stories We Can Tell Using Culturally-Situated Data Dialogues

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When we talk about race, race matters; when we don’t talk about race, race matters. This is one of several arguments that educational researcher Mica Pollock makes in her book, Colormute, to underscore many educators’ inability to talk explicitly about race in meaningful ways in schools. Her statement highlights our need to acknowledge and respond to the [...]

Addressing the Degree-Attainment Gap

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Today’s young people (aged 18-24) are being raised in a ‘college for all’ ethos and are enrolling in college in unprecedented numbers.1 Despite increasing enrollment from across the socioeconomic distribution, longstanding socioeconomic disparities in completing postsecondary degrees linger.2 In fact, recent studies have suggested that socioeconomic disparities in degree attainment are even wider than the more widely known racial/ethnic [...]

ELL Identification: Perspectives from Michigan Practitioners

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In recent issues, we have discussed why and how schools identify their ELL students.  In this article, we want to provide you with some perspectives on ELL identification from practitioners in Michigan school districts. Most teachers have heard the old adage that knowing your students will help create a positive relationship and improve students’ learning [...]