English Learners in Charter Schools: A Learning Experience Focused on English Learner Instruction – Part 2

Children reading in school classroom

Introduction

Content developed by Molly Faulkner-Bond, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, WestEd and Jennifer Himmel, Project Director, National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA), Manhattan Strategy Group

Students classified as English Learners are about to face another unprecedented school year. They are among the student groups most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic—touched by the digital divide, hindered by reduced opportunities to engage in core content, and isolated from support services they depend upon. Yet these resilient students can rebound with the right support and assistance from the schools they depend on. 

The National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC) is here to help. This asynchronous learning experience is designed to help charter schools reflect upon how they are transitioning EL students back to in-person learning. Combined with English Learners in Charter Schools: Part 1 in this series, this resource offers expert advice and ground-level guidance to help ELs flourish academically through rigorous in-person instruction, supportive learning environments, and ongoing family engagement. It concludes with two podcasts that share tips and ideas from schools experiencing notable academic gains with the EL students.

The two podcast episodes feature staff members from Uplift Education and Family Life Academy Charter Schools discussing their EL programs—from how they support their teachers to how they engage with EL families. You’ll leave these podcasts feeling inspired with great ideas on new ways to serve ELs in your school. The podcasts are facilitated by Stephanie Jones, supervisor of the U.S. Department of Education Charter Schools Program (CSP) Grants to Charter Management Organizations for the Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools (CMO Grants) and CSP Grants to Charter School Developers for the Opening of New Charter Schools and for the Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools (Developer Grants).

 

Module #1: Transitioning Back to In-Person Learning

Module #2: Setting Up Processes and Systems to Serve ELs in Charter Schools

Module #3: Family Engagement: From Recruitment to Ongoing Engagement

Podcast: Interview with Uplift Education’s Stephanie Aughinbaugh, Senior Director of Academic Support

Podcast: Interview with Family Life Academy Charter School’s Andrea Chen, Curriculum Specialist

We’d love to know what you think of this learning module. Please share your feedback via our survey, including your thoughts on additional resources to help you better serve English Learners in your community.

 

Module #1: Transitioning Back to In-Person Learning

At the end of this learning module, you should understand:

  • Lessons learned from serving students classified as ELs throughout the pandemic
  • Ways to translate new practices to in-person instruction
  • Methods to assess and transition students upon their return to in-person instruction
  • Ideas on how to help EL students and families adjust to in-person learning

Additional Resources:

Leading for School Improvement: A School Leader’s Post-COVID Checklist to Close Opportunity Gaps for ELs (Webinar Recording)

NCELA: English Learners in Secondary Schools: Trajectories, Transition Points, and Promising Practices (Webinar Recording)

NCELA: Teacher Collaboration: Aligning Content and Language Instruction (Webinar Recording)

NCELA: Back to School – Aligning Structural and Instructional Practices to Promote English Learner Success During the 2020–21 School Year (Webinar Recording)

NCELA: Teacher Resources

NCELA: EL Family Toolkit

NCELA: English Learner Toolkit

REL Pacific/Institute of Education Sciences: Five Steps to Structuring Data-Informed Conversations and Action in Education

REL Pacific/Institute of Education Sciences: Including Voices in Education

WIDA: Collaboration: Working Together to Serve Multilingual Learners

Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium: Reopening Schools During COVID-19

Learning for Justice: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Teaching Through Coronavirus

WestEd: Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 through Summer Learning and Enrichment

CDC: How Do I Set Up My Classroom? A Quick Guide for Teachers
Annenberg Institute: Supports for Students Who are English Learners

Annenberg Institute: Supports for Students Who are English Learners

U.S. Department of Education COVID-19 Handbook: Volume 1 - Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools 

U.S. Department of Education COVID-19 Handbook: Volume 2 - Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students' Needs

 

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Module #2: Setting Up Processes and Systems to Serve ELs in Charter Schools

At the end of this learning module, you should understand:

  • How to conduct the EL student intake process
  • How to take action on EL student intake data
  • Ideas to help your school better serve its EL student population

Additional Resources

Council of Chief State School Officers: Reprising the Home Language Survey: Summary of a National Working Session on Policies, Practices, and Tools for Identifying Potential English Learners

National Center for Research on Gifted Education: 15 Tips for Identifying Gifted EL Students

Institute of Education Sciences: Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School

Council of the Great City Schools: English Language Learner Resources

Center City Public Charter School: Examples of English Learner Plans

NCSRC: How Charter Schools Can Leverage Community Assets through Partnerships

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Module #3: Family Engagement: From Recruitment to Ongoing Engagement

At the end of this learning module, you should understand:

  • The importance of engaging with EL student families
  • Concrete ideas to implement within your own schools
  • A process for creating and sustaining meaningful engagement with EL families

Additional Resources

NCSRC: Planning for Family Engagement in the Charter School Life Cycle: A Toolkit for School Leaders

NCSRC: How Charter Schools Can Leverage Community Assets Through Partnerships

NCELA: Chapter 10 of the English Learner Toolkit

Institute on Community Integration: Working with Language Interpreters: Information for Principals

Colorín Colorado: Making Your First ELL Home Visit: A Guide for Classroom Teachers

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Podcast #1: Interview with Uplift Education’s Stephanie Aughinbaugh, Senior Director of Academic Support

For more information about Uplift Education, visit the school’s website.
 

Podcast #2: Interview with Family Life Academy Charter School’s Andrea Chen, Curriculum Specialist

For more information about Family Life Academy Charter School (FLACSA), visit the school’s website.

 

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Acknowledgements

NCSRC would like to thank Molly Faulkner-Bond, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, WestEd, and Jennifer Himmel, Project Director, National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA), Manhattan Strategy Group, for lending their expertise and knowledge to this project. We also extend our gratitude to Alicia Passante, ESL Program Manager, Center City Public Charter Schools, and Maria Paredes, Ed.D., Senior Engagement Manager, WestEd, for their thoughtful review of this learning module as experts in serving students classified as English Learners. Finally, our deepest thanks to Stephanie Aughinbaugh, Senior Director of Academic Support, Uplift Education, Andrea Chen, Curriculum Specialist, Family Life Academy Charter School, and their teams at Uplift Education and FLACS for generously giving their time to this project, and for their tremendous work supporting English Learners in their communities.