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California Educators’ Guide to Supporting English Language Learners

California Educators’ Guide to Supporting English Language Learners

According to the California Department of Education, English language learners (ELLs) make up 19.3 percent of California’s public school enrollment—the largest concentration of ELL students in any U.S. state. Every ELL student’s needs are unique—some are brand-new to learning the language, some are nearly ready to be re-classified as English proficient, and most fall somewhere in between. For students who speak another language at home, the classroom may have been their only regular exposure to English, and sudden school closures due to COVID-19 have disrupted their access to daily English instruction and immersion.

ELL engagement strategies will continue to look a bit different for as long as students are doing some (or all) of their learning from home, so we’ve assembled a list of top resources focused on helping ELLs achieve success.

Build Strong Instructional Programs

According to EdSource, in 2017 only 12 percent of English learners met or exceeded math standards on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, compared with 43 percent of non-ELL students. In 2018, 49.88 percent of all California public school students met or exceeded standards in English language arts/literacy, while only 12.62 of ELL students scored at or above proficient. The achievement gap between ELL and non-ELL students is even greater in some major cities; according to The 74, “less than 4 percent of L.A. Unified’s English learners scored proficient in reading and less than 6 percent did so in math” every year from 2016-2018.

Clearly, ELLs are not achieving at the same levels as their English proficient peers, which is not surprising as they face additional barriers to grasping academic concepts. One of the most efficient ways to support ELLs is to ensure that your school or district implements pedagogical approaches that accommodate a variety of educational needs. Utilize these planning guides to create or refine your instructional programs to support an environment in which ELLs and all students will thrive.

Special Populations Worksheet

2020 has been a whirlwind so far! Use this worksheet to gather your thoughts as you plan programs to address the needs of special populations of students, including ELLs, for this upcoming school year.

A Guide to Engaging Your ELL Parents

It's not uncommon for parents of ELL students to feel intimidated or discouraged from becoming actively engaged with their children's education due to language barriers or other cultural differences—but in the wake of COVID-related school closures, communication with parents is more important than ever. We've gathered several resources to help you engage with your ELL parents, whether students are in the brick-and-mortar classroom or distance learning from home.

Personalized Learning How-To Guide

Personalized learning allows educators to meet the varying needs of students, improving learning outcomes for all. This workbook takes the guesswork out of personalized learning by providing a step-by-step plan from development to implementation.

Reading and Literacy Workbook

It’s a well-known fact that a strong foundation in literacy is key to future academic success for all student populations. This workbook evaluates the many facets of structuring an effective, research-based reading and language arts block and helps you select the appropriate technology tools to support your approach.

Credit Recovery Workbook

According to the California Department of Education, in 2018, 67.9 percent of ELLs graduated high school, which is nearly 16 percentage points below the 83 percent graduation rate for all California students. Because of the obstacles ELLs face (compounded with lost classroom time due to COVID-related school closures), they often fall behind, so it’s important to have a credit recovery program in place to help students catch up and get on track to graduation. Edmentum’s credit recovery workbook will show you how to set up a new program or enhance your current credit recovery offering.

Implement Strategies That Support Language Development and Academic Achievement

ELL students are facing unique challenges in the wake of COVID-19 school closures, and many school districts are anticipating a mix of distance and classroom learning for the fall 2020 semester. As you work toward closing the achievement gap between ELLs and non-ELLs through more inclusive and accessible instructional practices, we hope you will find the resources below helpful.

Looking for more resources on ways to continue learning during California school closures? Check out Edmentum’s e-Learning Days free resource page for K–12 printables, helpful on-demand webinars, and a guide to extending e-learning.

This blog was originally published on September 25, 2019.

carmen.palmer@edmentum.com's picture

Carmen Palmer lives in the Minneapolis area and serves as a Marketing Manager on the Edmentum team. She graduated from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida with a degree in creative writing and literature. Carmen loves to read and is passionate about literacy and education.