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Minnesota Educators’ Guide to Supporting English Learners

Minnesota Educators’ Guide to Supporting English Learners

According to Minnesota Department of Education data, just over 8 percent of public school students are English Learners—that’s nearly 1 in 12 Minnesota students. And in the state’s urban areas, the concentration is larger, with the percentage of English Learners (ELs) jumping to 20 percent in Minneapolis Public Schools, 29 percent in Saint Paul Public Schools, and 11 percent in Rochester Public Schools.

Every EL 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.

EL 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 ELs achieve success.

Build Strong Instructional Programs

Based on 2019 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-III) results made available on the Minnesota Report Card, 65.5 percent of 3rd grade students and 55 percent of 8th grade students statewide scored at or above proficient in math, but for ELs, those numbers are 30.5 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively. In reading, 54.4 percent of all 3rd grade students and 57.5 percent of 8th grade students scored at or above proficient, while for ELs, those numbers were only 18.6 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively. And in science, tested only in 8th grade, 42.4 percent of all Minnesota students scored at or above proficient, but only 2.2 percent of ELs scored at those levels.

Clearly, Minnesota ELs 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 ELs 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 ELs 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 ELs, for this upcoming school year.

A Guide to Engaging Your ELL Parents

It's not uncommon for parents of EL 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 EL 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 Minnesota Report Card, in 2018, 65.6 percent of ELs graduated high school with their 4-year cohort, which is 17.6 percent below the 83.2 percent graduation rate for all students. Because of the obstacles ELs 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.

Evidence Based Practices (EBPs) to Support English Language Development

MDE compiled this list of research-backed instructional practices to help Minnesota schools and districts achieve improvement plan goals, implement effective continuous improvement, and build consistency in EL education across the state.

Implement Classroom Strategies That Support Language Development and Academic Achievement

Breakthroughs in student learning happen in the classroom, and as you work toward closing the achievement gap between ELs and non-ELs 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 Minnesota 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.