Laredo Independent School District and IXL Partner to Support In-Person and At-Home Learning

IXL Learning, the K-12 personalized learning platform used by 11 million students, today announced a three-year agreement with Laredo Independent School District to bring its award-winning program to approximately 23,600 students and 1,100 teachers. Through this partnership, all 33 schools in the district will use IXL to supplement math, English language arts, science and social studies instruction.

Laredo ISD is located in Laredo, Texas, on the border with Mexico. The district is home to eight National Blue Ribbon Schools and serves a large bilingual and English language learner population. Laredo ISD began piloting IXL in 2019 to complement its high school English language arts instruction and to identify areas where students were struggling. When the COVID-19 crisis took hold, its leadership turned to IXL for a robust remote learning experience that would empower all its students to learn from anywhere.

One of the district’s priorities was to fill knowledge gaps that arose during school closures. School leaders were thrilled to find that students had access to an entire K-12 curriculum in one place, allowing learners to quickly catch up on previous grade-level content at any time. Laredo ISD highly valued IXL Analytics and Live Classroom, which give educators the ability to accurately monitor student growth in real-time from home. The district also appreciated IXL’s ability to work as both a synchronous and asynchronous platform, as mandated by the Texas Department of Education.…Read More

Pocketalk Donates Devices To ELL Teachers Through First-Ever Back To School Program

Pocketalk, the global leader in connecting conversations and removing language barriers, today announced the donation of 100 devices to educators across the U.S. that teach English Language Learner (ELL) students as part of its first-ever Back to School program, an effort to equip teachers with the tools they need and foster inclusive learning environments for all families, at home or in the classroom. During the application process, recipients of devices answered eight survey questions to reveal the evolving language needs of the education community and its communications styles ahead of an unconventional school year due to the ongoing pandemic.

Teachers surveyed in August represented 29 states and Washington, D.C. and averaged 10.7 years of teaching experience, with 98% of teachers responding that they have taught ELL students in the last three years. Highlights from the survey results include:

  • 99% of educators stated that the current virtual environment changed the way they will plan to communicate with ELL students and their families
  • 62% of teachers use translation daily to communicate with parents of students, with 35% and 3% using translation weekly or monthly, respectively
  • Teachers are most likely to primarily use phones (38%) to communicate with parents of students, followed by email (20%) or a messaging platform (17%) like Microsoft Teams
  • Compared to all respondents, teachers who use translation daily to communicate with parents of students are more likely to communicate using phones (43.5%) and less likely to communicate using email (11.3%)

With close to one million units in service around the globe, Pocketalk has been used in a number of industries to build community and break down communication barriers when it matters most. Aligned with recent findings from Pearson’s Global Learners Survey on how government funds should be spent in education in response to COVID-19, Pocketalk saw the need for translation services in education from its own survey findings to provide tech for underserved learners, to ensure teachers are equipped to handle emergency situations with quick, accurate communication and to offer more remote learning solutions.…Read More

How to effectively support struggling readers during distance learning

Parents who might be uncomfortable with continuing their role of teacher this fall can find solace in this fact: authentic teachable moments happen outside the classroom all the time. If your student or child had to rapidly transition to an at-home learning environment as a struggling reader, an English language learner, or one with dyslexia, there are many ways that the support they were receiving in school can transfer to their home.

Creating authentic learning experiences such as having your child help prepare meals, shop, and participate in outings to parks or museums can improve literacy. Simply engaging in conversation in the language spoken at home around shared experiences, explaining your thinking, and asking open-ended questions so your child can share their thoughts, facilitates a deeper level of communication. This builds metacognition, which is key for comprehension and reading success.

Related content: How we reinvented our district’s reading program…Read More

Teachers: English learners need resources, support

Most K-12 educators (80 percent) said they believe English Language Learner (ELL) instruction is a top priority for their school or district, according to a new survey.

Ninety-nine percent of surveyed educators also said they need more professional development and different types of learning materials to properly support ELL students and meet their needs, according to the 2017 EL Education Report from McGraw-Hill Education. Only 55 percent of respondents believe that their school or district provides sufficient, ongoing professional development to support ELL student success.

Newer ELL educators (those who have worked in ELL education for less than two years) are significantly less confident than more experienced educators in their ELL training and development, with only 36 percent of new respondents feeling they have received enough professional development compared to 70 percent of more experienced educators.…Read More

Pearson unveils tablet ELL assessment system

The new ELL assessment system targets speaking, reading, writing, and listening

ELL-tabletA new tablet-based assessment developed by Pearson will specifically target English Language Learners (ELLs) in order to help them build English language skills and succeed on summative assessments.

With the assessment system, called TELL (Test of English Language Learning), students watch video clips and interact with pictures and words, then answer questions out loud. They listen, write, read and speak—all with no mark-ups or grading by teachers. TELL screens, diagnoses and monitors each ELL student’s progress throughout the school year. Responses—written and spoken—are automatically scored by Pearson’s automated scoring technologies

Fully scalable, TELL can be used with just one student at a time, a small to large group, or for whole-class administration at the school or district level. The assessment covers all four foundational language skills—listening, speaking, reading and writing and is aligned to standards, such as Common Core.…Read More