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Virginia Educators’ Guide to Supporting English Language Learners

Virginia Educators’ Guide to Supporting English Language Learners

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the fall of 2017, 9.1 percent of public school students in the state of Virginia were identified as English learners (ELs), with the highest concentration of ELs located in larger urban areas. 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 learning from home, so we’ve assembled a list of our top resources focused on helping ELLs achieve success:

Build Strong Instructional Programs

Based on the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results reported on The Nation’s Report Card for the state of Virginia, 50 percent of 4th grade students and 40 percent of 8th grade students scored at or above proficient in math, but for English language learners, those numbers are 7.7 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively, according to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results.  In reading, 43 percent of 4th grade students and 37 percent of 8th grade students scored at or above proficient, while for the EL subgroup, those numbers were only 7.5 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.

Clearly, ELs are not achieving at the same level 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 utilizes Virginia’s EL resources and 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

Use this worksheet to plan programs to address the needs of special populations of students, including ELs.

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. We gathered several resources to help you find ways to encourage your EL parents to engage more.

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 U.S. Department of Education, in 2016, 45.4 percent of Virginia ELs graduated high school, compared with the nearly 89 percent graduation rate for all students in the state. Because of the additional obstacles ELs face, 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

EL 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 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 Virginia school closures? Check out Edmentum’s e-Learning Days free resource page for K–12 printables, helpful OnDemand webinars, and a guide to extending e-learning.

This blog was originally published on September 25, 2019.

fabiola.garcia's picture
Fabiola Garcia

Fabiola Garcia happily joined the Edmentum team in 2014 and worked several years in the support and sales teams before serving as a Marketing Specialist. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Sociology with a Social Science Research Methods certificate from Texas Woman's University. Fabiola is passionate about education and strives to empower educators with relevant resources so that they can continue transforming their classrooms one student at a time.