4 ways to support ELLs in post-pandemic learning

There’s no question that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted learning in ways educators and policymakers are still working to understand. But while all students felt the impact, certain historically underserved student groups–including English language learners (ELLs)–were disproportionately affected.

During virtual learning, ELLs didn’t have access to many of the in-school resources they typically use and need to learn best. Many student groups suffered from limited or no access to reliable high-speed internet, appropriate technology devices to use for virtual and hybrid learning, and unpredictable family situations that arose as a result of the pandemic.

While educators focus on addressing pandemic-related learning loss and closing existing learning gaps that grew wider during the pandemic, focusing on ELLs is critical.…Read More

PBLWorks Announces its 2022 PBL Champions

Novato, CA (July 27, 2022) – PBLWorks, the leading provider of professional development for Project Based Learning (PBL), has announced its 2022 PBL Champions – a program that honors schools, districts and individuals for their commitment to high quality Project Based Learning. The 2022 PBL Champions are:

  • District PBL Champion
    • Broward County Public Schools (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
  • School PBL Champion
    • Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School (Queens, New York)
  • Individual PBL Champion
    • Kendall Van Valkenburg, High School English Teacher at Red Canyon Alternative High School (Gypsum, Colorado)

“We were thrilled to see so many great nominations and learn about the great work happening in classrooms, schools, and districts across the country,” said PBLWorks CEO Bob Lenz in announcing the PBL Champions at the 2022 PBL World conference. “I want to extend my deepest appreciation and admiration for all of you who are weathering the storms this year staying committed to our students, families, and communities. From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of our team at PBLWorks.”

During the 2022 PBL World Conference, PBLWorks also announced the first ever recipient of the “John Larmer Lifetime Learner Award” named after author and PBLWorks’ longtime editor-in-chief John Larmer. This year’s recipient was Rose Moe, a 6th-grade math teacher at Lincoln Middle School in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Rose was provided complimentary registration for PBL World 2022.…Read More

5 digital tools to enhance your social studies instruction

Over the span of my 22-year career as South Carolina public school educator, I’ve taught in self-contained classrooms and I’ve been in departmentalized settings.  Although I love teaching all subjects, I always choose English/language arts and social studies, in part because I love the challenge of engaging young leaners in these important subjects.

As a fourth-grade English/language arts and social studies teacher in an elementary collaborative learning magnet program–which is also a NASA Explorer School–I get the challenge of unlocking the minds of 9- and 10-year-olds who are more at home in the STEM subjects than in exploring literature or our country’s history.

In my quest to engage my students in social studies, I’ve found that, after a few rounds of trial and error, the social studies textbooks belong on the shelf. Instead, I’ve turned to a host of exciting digital resources that would engage the students and connect their lessons to the “real world”, enhance my delivery of instruction, and expand students’ knowledge of our country’s history.…Read More

Why we use a multilingual districtwide platform for personalized communications

With more than 15,000 students across 25 different schools in central Washington state, one of our biggest goals coming into this past school year was to develop a feature-rich communications system that was the same for teachers, schools, and the district. We looked at the options on the market, talked to other districts about what they are using, and then put in a new school-home communications platform in place for the 2021-22 school year.

One of our concerns when adopting a new platform was whether it could handle multilingual communications for the district, where our students speak eight different languages–mainly English and Spanish, so that was our previous sole focus.

If you take Spanish and English out of the mix, we’ve never communicated using the six other languages before, unless it was an Individual Education Plan or something else that had to be translated. We’ve never communicated our normal messaging out in ALL languages that impact our families.…Read More

Council of the Great City Schools Presents Norfolk High School Graduate Ayana Askew with $10,000 Dr. Michael Casserly Legacy Scholarship for Educational Courage and Justice

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., June 17, 2022—The Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) recently presented Ayana Askew, a 2022 graduate of Virginia’s Norfolk Public Schools, with the Dr. Michael Casserly Legacy Scholarship for Educational Courage and Justice. Sponsored by Curriculum Associates, the $10,000 college scholarship will be used by Askew to pursue a degree in English at Spelman College in Atlanta.

The scholarship is part of the Dr. Michael Casserly Legacy Award for Educational Courage and Justice, named after the Council’s former executive director. The annual award, now in its second year, is presented to a person who has made outstanding contributions in the field of Grades K–12 urban education by taking a courageous and passionate stance on the issue of educational justice and equity. This year’s awardee was Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.), who currently serves as the chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, where he works to advance an agenda that improves equity and quality in education.

Askew was the valedictorian of her 2022 senior class at Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk, Va., graduating with a 4.48 grade-point average. A skilled poet, she has written and performed original poems on police brutality and Juneteenth on local, national, and international stages and was one of only 20 students nationwide to receive a U.S. Presidential Scholar Award in the arts. She has also created several documentaries advocating for safe public school facilities for students, receiving honorable mentions in CSPAN’s National StudentCam Documentary Contest. Askew’s life goal is to continue to use her platform and voice to touch people’s hearts, advocate for justice, and change the world.…Read More

IXL Learning Acquires Language Learning Software Developer Curiosity Media

SAN MATEO, Calif.  — June 12, 2022 — IXL Learning, developer of personalized learning products used by more than 13 million students, announced it has acquired Curiosity Media, the creator of innovative language learning platforms that empower people to more effectively communicate in Spanish and English. The acquisition of Curiosity Media includes its flagship products SpanishDict, inglés.com and Fluencia, which collectively help more than 100 million people each year grow their languages skills through vibrant and interactive learning resources. 

The acquisition of Curiosity Media will further diversify and complement IXL Learning’s language and literacy offerings, including the world-renowned Rosetta Stone, IXL English Language Arts and Vocabulary.com

Curiosity Media has been at the forefront of creating products that help language learners interact in Spanish and English. SpanishDict debuted in 1999 and is now the world’s top destination for Spanish-language learners, reaching more than 100 million people annually. The platform provides users with a comprehensive set of tools to learn Spanish, including millions of free dictionary entries, verb conjugations, example sentences, pronunciation videos, vocabulary quizzes, interactive lessons and more.  …Read More

Schools amplify inequity with failed solutions to teacher shortage

We’re racing against a ticking clock to resolve the teacher shortage for our students’ futures as the number of unfilled positions at schools and districts hits record levels.

Every unfilled staff vacancy at a school means that students are not receiving a high-quality education, which has a resounding effect on outcomes. One study shows that 10 additional teacher absences per year lead to 1.2 percent and .6 percent of a standard deviation decrease in math and English test scores, respectively. This principle applies to core subjects, which give students a solid foundation for academic and career success, and enrichment classes, which expand their skill sets and understanding of the world.

The teacher shortage is even more detrimental to students in underserved districts, where teacher absences tend to run higher than the national average of 11 days per year.  …Read More

Charleston County Schools Selects Open Up Resources And Kiddom To Provide K-8 English Language Arts Blended Learning Program

CHARLESTON, SCOpen Up Resources, a nonprofit increasing equity in education by making the highest quality curriculum accessible to educators, and Kiddom, the first all-in-one education platform for high-quality digital curriculum, announced today a new partnership to bring the top-rated EL Education K-8 English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum to Charleston County School District (CCSD) in support of the district’s blended learning efforts.

The partnership will provide teachers the ability to utilize the ELA curriculum on Kiddom’s platform to share assignments digitally, communicate with students, and deliver personalized feedback on submissions, while prioritizing student reading proficiency and content knowledge of science and social studies. Additionally, the partnership will equip CCSD with a full-service, multi-year professional learning plan from EL Education to support teachers, plus access to peer-to-peer communications within Open Up’s K-8 EL Education digital community.

“Putting students at the heart of this work has been our tagline for a while, but we watched schools make the decision to opt-out of what’s easier or more comfortable and that’s the true evidence that we are putting students first,” saidEmilie Woody, Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Charleston County School District.…Read More

How to improve literacy through the science of reading

The Fall 2021 PALS Report found that reading skills in young learners are at a 20-year low. Over the past three years, reports have shown there had been little growth in reading and in some cases, states were backsliding. The majority of students who are exiting our school system do not have the reading skills they need to be successful at a job that requires reading skills.

I have analyzed how literacy education has evolved, exploring why we are where we are today and how we can improve. Educators can improve their K-3 students’ reading achievements by focusing instruction on structures of the English language. By applying findings from the science of reading, educators can positively affect students’ confidence in their academic careers and beyond. Here’s how to get started.

Assessing Your Curriculum for Elements of Structured Literacy

The science of reading is massive, and there’s much to learn from it. Structured Literacy is the practical approach that helps educators implement that science.…Read More

How I build relationships with students using instructional audio

The COVID-19 pandemic shined a light on the importance of instructional audio solutions. With mask mandates and social distancing, instructional audio solutions play a critical role—projecting educators’ voices and ensuring every student can hear and understand what’s being asked of them.

Access to intelligible, clear audio has never been more important.

However, while instructional audio solutions gained traction in the pandemic, there’s so much more to instructional audio than just projecting an educator’s voice. Instructional audio benefits all students—students with learning loss, students in the back of classrooms, non-native English speakers, and others.…Read More