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Highest Aspirations

Highest Aspirations

By Ellevation Education
On the Highest Aspirations Podcast, we engage in important conversations about the most rapidly growing student demographic in the United States - English Language Learners. We speak with educators and students, researchers and policy makers, and parents and community members about how we can help all students reach their highest aspirations.

Join us on this important journey as we bring the vibrant ELL Community together around the topics that matter most to the students we serve.
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S1/E2: Cooking up Family & Community Engagement for ELLs

Highest Aspirations

S1/E2: Cooking up Family & Community Engagement for ELLs

Highest Aspirations

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S8/E1: Advancing Equity in Professional Learning for Educators of Multilingual Learners with Silvia Romero-Johnson and Mariana Castro
How might we design and ensure access to equitable professional learning opportunities, specifically to address the unique needs of multilingual learners? What are some tools that can be used to monitor the progress of educators through professional learning and how do we measure its impact on student progress and learning? What are some strategies to design and implement equitable professional learning opportunities that are both introspective and connected to practice? We discuss these questions and much more with Silvia Romero-Johnson and Mariana Castro, authors of the new book, Advancing Equity in Dual Language Education: A Guide for Leaders. One note on the title - Silvia and Mariana define leaders with a wide lens. The information and resources shared in the book and in this episode are relevant and useful for any educator working with multilingual learners - particularly in dual-language programs. We would actually go so far as to say that it is useful for ALL educators. In this interview, we focused on one chapter of the book specifically dedicated to equitable professional learning. You can read access more resources, including a transcript of this episode, on the accompanying blog post on our learning community.  Find the episode transcript here.  Guest Bios Mariana Castro, Ph.D. is Deputy Director of the Wisconsin Center of Education Research at the University of Wisconsin Madison and a leader and researcher at WIDA, a project with the mission of advancing the academic achievement of multilingual learners. Castro has served the field of education as a science teacher, an ESL and bilingual educator and administrator, as a teacher educator and as a researcher. Her work as a qualitative researcher has focused on issues at the intersection of policy and practice in the education of multilingual learners.  Castro’s research on the language practices and language development of multilingual learners has provided a foundation to her work leading the development of language standards for K-12 students and early years, in both English and Spanish.  Dr. Silvia Romero-Johnson is currently serving as Director of Bilingual Programs and Instructional Equity in the Verona Area School District in Verona, WI. She has served in the education field in a variety of capacities including: Interim Chief Academic Officer and Assistant Superintendent for the Office of English Learners in the Boston Public Schools in Boston MA. As the Executive Director of the Office of Multilingual and Global Education in the Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, WI, she led the district’s transition from transitional bilingual education to dual language immersion education. She was the principal of Nuestro Mundo Community School, MMSD’s first two-way bilingual immersion charter school. 
53:50
January 18, 2022
Season 8 Preview
In this episode, we talk about some exciting changes and improvements we have planned for Highest Aspirations. We also preview some of the topics we will be covering beginning with our first episode on January 18th. Learn more and stay up to date by joining our community at bit.ly/getmlresources. You’ll receive our weekly community brief with news and multimedia resources you can use with your colleagues and students right away.
03:11
January 11, 2022
S7/E18: The Impact of Teacher Training and Preparation on ML Instruction
The lack of teachers who have the training necessary to effectively support multilingual learners has been plaguing school districts across the country for years. The pandemic has only exacerbated the problem putting multilingual learners at greater risk. Panel members from school districts and organizations around the country came together during our annual Impact Conference to discuss how they are responding to this challenge and the plans they have moving forward. Special thanks to Amaya Garcia from New America for moderating the panel and providing perspective on what the research data is telling us. Thanks also to our panelists - Dr. Yolanda Rios, Alice Solis, Magda Grape, and Jeremiah Lack. This episode was taken from our Impact Conference that took place on December 6, 7, and 9. We will be sharing more resources and content from all Impact sessions on our weekly Community Brief email, which you can get by joining our community here: bit.ly/mllresources. Highest Aspirations will be back in January 2022. Until then, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!
55:08
December 14, 2021
S7/E17: High-Quality Dual Language Programs: Recipes for Success with Sandra Medrano-Arroyo (Part 2)
How can we help colleagues, families and community members become advocates for dual language programs? What does it mean to truly embrace biliteracy? Why is embracing bilingualism good for all students? We discuss these questions and more in part 2 of a 2 part series with Sandra Medrano-Arroyo. Sandra Medrano-Arroyo presently works at Ellevation Education as the Dual Language Instructional Content Specialist, where she has spearheaded the creation of two new instructional practices specific to the needs of Dual Language programs.  In over 23 years in education, she has served the needs of emergent bilinguals and various sub-groups in a number of roles: teacher, academic coordinator, school director, recruiter, instructional specialist, and program planner. Prior to Ellevation, Sandra served as the Manager of Multicultural Education for the 11th largest school district in the US, overseeing the ESOL program for over 34,000 students, including a two-way dual language program that served over 9,000 students. Since 2016, she has also served as a PD Consultant for the National Association for Bilingual Education. As you’ll hear in our conversation, Sandra has a natural ability to bridge the gap between research and practice by breaking down concepts and findings into bite-sized pieces that educators can use right away, which is one of the many reasons I am happy to have her as colleague at Ellevation and an advocate in the field of multilingual education. As always, thanks for listening to Highest Aspirations - I hope you enjoy part 1 of our informative conversation. If you have an idea for a topic or guest for a future highest aspirations episode, please feel free to reach out at stevens@ellevationeducation.com. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
22:06
November 23, 2021
S7/E16: Leveraging School, Family, and Community Partnerships for Student Success with Ellevation Scholarship Winner Sirenia Garcia
On this special episode of Highest Aspirations, we're sitting down to speak with 2021 Ellevation Scholarship Winner Sirenia Garcia from Deer Park ISD in Texas. Sirenia was born and raised in Texas and plans on attending the University of St. Thomas in Houston in the fall, where she will be studying Music Education and minoring in psychology. She hopes to become a school counselor or school principal - we love to hear that! As you'll hear in the episode, Sirenia is very open about the struggles she faced in school as a multilingual learner, as well as the important role that her teachers had in encouraging her to persevere. She shares great advice for current students on staying diligent and motivated despite challenges they might face. We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did. If you'd like to hear more conversations with scholarship recipients, check out the Scholarship Winners playlist on our Spotify.  If you have an idea for a topic or guest for a future highest aspirations episode, please feel free to reach out to me at stevens@ellevationeducation.com. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
27:45
November 22, 2021
S7/E15: How Multilingual Learners Can Excel in STEM Courses with Ellevation Scholarship Winner Jesse Ding
On this special episode of Highest Aspirations, we're sitting down to speak with 2021 Ellevation Scholarship Winner Jesse Ding. Jesse Ding graduated as the class valedictorian from Wilmington High School in Wilmington, Massachusetts. She is planning to study computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. In the future, she hopes to become a robotics software engineer and utilize her knowledge and expertise to program personalized assistive robots for those in need. As you'll hear in the episode, Jesse is very dedicated to giving back to her community and using her strengths in STEM and robotics to find ways to improve the lives of those around her. We hope you enjoy our conversation, and to hear more conversations with scholarship recipients, check out the Scholarship Winners playlist on our Spotify.  If you have an idea for a topic or guest for a future highest aspirations episode, please feel free to reach out to me at stevens@ellevationeducation.com. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
24:43
November 22, 2021
S7/E14: High-Quality Dual Language Programs: Recipes for Success with Sandra Medrano-Arroyo (Part 1)
How might growing up as a multilingual learner shape the message that educators communicate to their EL students and families about home language and learning English? What are some of the most important sources of research on dual language programs and how can they help school leaders and educators shape valuable learning experiences for all students? What are the three pillars of dual language and what role does each of them play out in high-quality programs? What challenges do we face in addressing the shortage of bilingual educators and what are some possible solutions? We discuss these questions and more in part 1 of a 2 part series with Sandra Medrano-Arroyo. Sandra Medrano-Arroyo presently works at Ellevation Education as the Dual Language Instructional Content Specialist, where she has spearheaded the creation of two new instructional practices specific to the needs of Dual Language programs.  In over 23 years in education, she has served the needs of emergent bilinguals and various sub-groups in a number of roles: teacher, academic coordinator, school director, recruiter, instructional specialist, and program planner. Prior to Ellevation, Sandra served as the Manager of Multicultural Education for the 11th largest school district in the US, overseeing the ESOL program for over 34,000 students, including a two-way dual language program that served over 9,000 students. Since 2016, she has also served as a PD Consultant for the National Association for Bilingual Education. As you’ll hear in our conversation, Sandra has a natural ability to bridge the gap between research and practice by breaking down concepts and findings into bite-sized pieces that educators can use right away, which is one of the many reasons I am happy to have her as colleague at Ellevation and an advocate in the field of multilingual education. As always, thanks for listening to Highest Aspirations - I hope you enjoy part 1 of our informative conversation. If you have an idea for a topic or guest for a future highest aspirations episode, please feel free to reach out at stevens@ellevationeducation.com. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
30:05
November 16, 2021
S7/E13: Collaborating with Content Teachers: Co-planning and Co-teaching Strategies with Tan Huynh
On this special encore episode, we revisit the topic of collaborating, co-planning, and co-teaching with content teachers with Tan Huynh. Tan is a career teacher specializing in language acquisition.  Tan has taught students from fifth to twelfth grade in public schools, private boarding schools, and charter schools.  Internationally, Tan has taught in schools in China, Laos, and Vietnam. He shares teaching strategies on his blog, Empowering ELLs, and has provided professional development training in places such as China, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, and Canada. Tan’s goal is to support all teachers who are committed to empowering English learners whether it be in a tweet, a blog post, a book, a training, a course, or over coffee. Tan and I discuss how EL specialists can establish and nurture relationships with content teachers who work with multilingual learners. You’ll leave the episode with some simple strategies that can help make co-planning and co-teaching easier for all teachers as well as some ways to encourage content teachers to allow their multilingual students to participate more fully in their instruction. Tan will be presenting at our Impact 2021 Conference, a free virtual event that will take place over three days on December 6th, 7th, and 9th. If you are interested in joining us for Impact 2021, please visit our website at ellevationeducation.com/elcommunity and join our community. We’ll send information on sessions and registration on our weekly community brief emails that all community members receive.
01:05:19
November 09, 2021
S7E12: Advice for Educators of Multilingual Learners with Ellevation Scholarship Winner Paola Gutierrez
In this special episode of Highest Aspirations, we feature one of our 5 Ellevation scholarship winners, Paola Gutierrez. Paola recently graduated from Tahquitz High School in Hemet, CA. She is currently attending UCLA where she is studying Human Biology on a pre-med track. As an aspiring physician, she looks forward to caring for people in low-income communities in the future. As you’ll hear in our conversation, Paola surfaces some of the challenges she has faced as a multilingual learner, but also many of the assets she and her fellow students bring to their schools and communities. She also offers some useful advice to educators about how they can best support their multilingual learners and put them on a path to success. As such, this conversation is particularly important for listeners who work with multilingual learners of any age. If you have an idea for a topic or guest for a future highest aspirations episode, please feel free to reach out to me at stevens@ellevationeducation.com. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
42:32
November 02, 2021
S7/E11: Addressing the Multilingual Teacher Shortage with Amaya Garcia and Alexandra Manuel
On this special encore episode, we revisit the topic of ensuring multilingual learners have highly qualified teachers to help them achieve their Highest Aspirations - with guests Amaya Garcia and Alexandra Manuel.  The lack of teachers who have the training necessary to effectively support multilingual learners has been plaguing school districts across the country for years. The pandemic has only exacerbated the problem, putting multilingual learners at greater risk. We will be addressing this challenge at our upcoming Impact 2021 virtual conference, a free event that will take place over three days on December 6, 7, and 9th. New America’s Amaya Garcia, one of this episode’s guests, will be moderating a panel from school districts and organizations around the country to discuss how they are responding to this challenge and the plans they have moving forward. Amaya will also provide a perspective on what the research data is telling us. If you are interested in joining us for Impact 2021, please join our community and we’ll send information on sessions and registration on our weekly community brief emails.
51:16
October 26, 2021
S7/E10: Minnesota Teacher of the Year Natalia Benjamin Shares Advice on How to Best Support Multilingual Learners
How can teachers help students assert positive identities so they have the confidence necessary to achieve academic success and advocate for social justice in their schools and communities? What are some strategies teachers can use to infuse language concepts into content lessons while simultaneously providing students with the skills they will need to be successful in school and beyond? Why is it so important to have a network or “professional family” to rely on for professional learning and support and what are some ways to find one? We discuss these questions and much more with 2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Natalia Benjamin. Natalia Benjamin teaches high school Ethnic Studies and Multilingual Learners in Rochester, MN. She is dually licensed in K-12 ESL and reading and holds a master's degree in Language Acquisition and Teaching. She advocates for multilingual and multicultural education and is part of Education Minnesota's Facing Inequities and Racism in Education - Racial Equity Advocates (FIRE-REA) program, where she has worked on Cultural Competency Trainings. She is a member of several organizations that support teachers and students: Education Minnesota League of Latinx Educators, Employees of Color Resource Group, Rochester Education Association, and the Women Issues Committee for the National Education Association. She is passionate about the liberation of marginalized students and works on important issues such as identity work, Heritage Speakers, and humanizing pedagogies in education.
43:29
October 19, 2021
S7/E9: Creating Systems to Identify and Support Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) Students with Orly Klapholz
What current limitations do we face in our educational system when it comes to data collection about students with limited or interrupted formal education (or SLIFE students)? How can project-based learning and group work help support SLIFE students and their classmates so they can better learn from one another? What are a few steps educators can take to be more equitable and mindful of SLIFE students in instruction and assessments? We discuss these questions and much more with Orly Klapholz. Orly's expertise includes Special Education and second language acquisition with specialized training in Orton Gillingham curricula. She has extensive experience teaching multilingual students, particularly those with limited or interrupted formal education, and has presented her research at numerous conferences and trainings. In 2021, she co-founded Inlier Learning with Merary Martinez-Cobian, taking a tech-forward approach to creating integrated solutions for the multilingual population. As is the case with most of our guests, we learned about Orly’s work through a member of our ELL Community. If you have an idea for a topic or guest for a future highest aspirations episode, please feel free to reach out to me at stevens@ellevationeducation.com. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
49:10
October 12, 2021
S7/E8: How One-to-One Conferences Empower Students to Own Their Learning Progress with Sarah Said
How can teachers structure one-to-one student conferences to help ELs own their academic growth while also building relationships? What are some innovative ways we can leverage everything from testing data, student work artifacts, and portfolios to help students and teachers set and measure progress towards goals? How can schools make these conferences and learning celebrations more widely practiced and systematic across their classrooms? We discuss these questions and more with Sarah Said. We first featured Sarah on Highest Aspirations back in 2018, and we are excited to bring her back. Sarah Said is the Director of Language and Equity Programs at the Elgin Math and Science Academy in Elgin IL.  Sarah has spent 17 years working with language learners. Currently she is launching the Stand Up Stumps, which is a social justice based public art project in Elgin. Sarah has written various articles in EdWeek Teacher and Confianza and appeared on Highest Aspirations to discuss cultural responsiveness back in 2018. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
36:27
October 05, 2021
S7/E7: A Case for Changing How We Label “English Learners” with Araceli García
What’s in a name, or in this case, a label? Why do many prefer the term “Emergent Bilingual” over other terminology like English learner, LEP, or even multilingual learner? On the 40th anniversary year of the Castañeda v. Pickard Case, what progress have we made and what do we still need to do to ensure the civil rights for our multilingual learners? How might a name/title change lead to significant changes in how we perceive and educate our multilingual learners? We discuss these questions and much more with Araceli Garcia. Araceli grew up on the South Side of San Antonio and is the daughter and granddaughter of Mexican immigrants. She is the first person in her family to attend college, and her passion for immigrants’ rights stems from seeing her family and community insist on dignity while struggling to navigate their immigration and socioeconomic status. A graduate of Stanford University, Araceli has received several awards for her academic excellence and community service including the John Gardner Fellowship for Public Service, Newman Civic Fellow Award, and Stanford's Porras Award for Visionary Leadership. Most recently, Araceli served as an inaugural Education Policy Fellow with IDRA, where she focused on rights of emergent bilingual (English learner) and immigrant students. Araceli graduated from Stanford with a bachelor’s degree in Chicanx/Latinx Studies and a minor in education. Currently, she is pursuing a law degree at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, where she was named an Equal Justice Scholar and plans to continue serving low-income and racially marginalized communities. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
45:34
September 28, 2021
S7/E6: Promoting Collaboration to Better Support ELs in Content Classes with Kent Dwyer and Gina Lappe (Part 2)
What are some ways mindfulness activities can help multilingual students succeed and how can teachers get started using them successfully? How can educators proactively elevate the voices of their students while decreasing teacher talk time? How can we apply concepts from exercise and other training programs to academic language instruction? We discuss these questions and more in Part 2 of a two-part series with Gina (Lahpay) Lappe and Kent Dwyer. One key to their success has been intentional and sustained collaboration - which as many of us have experienced, can be more difficult than it seems. we’ll get into how they went about creating systems that made it easier for them and their colleagues to work together to support all learners. Gina Lappe is heading into her 10th year teaching inquiry-based science. She started teaching in Great Smoky Mountains National Park before heading into the classroom at an Expeditionary Learning Charter School in North Carolina. She currently teaches middle school science at an international school in South Korea. She is passionate about using science as a pathway to get students curious about and connected with the world around them. Please feel free to reach out to Gina via email at ginalappe@gmail.com and Instagram @Lappe_labs. Kent Dwyer has been an educator for 17 years, focusing primarily on language acquisition. He taught Spanish in Pennsylvania for 11 years, serving as a demonstration teacher at Julia Reynolds Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School and then as a master teacher at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School. From 2016 to 2021, Kent worked in international education to support English language acquisition, first in Qatar and then in South Korea. Kent has facilitated professional development sessions on topics including digital storytelling for language acquisition, tiered units of instruction, differentiated instruction, interpersonal language use within the classroom, data-driven decision making, integrated performance assessments, and the use of technology to promote communication. He can be reached through his professional instagram at kent.dwyer or via email at kentdwyer13@gmail.com. Here is a link to their Edutopia article. Here is a link to Choice Words. Here is a link to Fluency through TPR Storytelling. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
28:21
September 21, 2021
S7/E5: Promoting Collaboration to Better Support ELs in Content Classes with Kent Dwyer and Gina Lappe (Part 1)
What are some easy ways that content teachers and ELL specialists can collaborate to better support their multilingual learners? How can schools and teaching teams build out systems for housing key instructional resources to support practices like scaffolding? What can educators do to ensure multilingual learners have equitable access to high-quality instructional materials and content - particularly in STEM courses? We discuss these questions and more in Part 1 of a two-part series with Gina (Lahpay) Lappe and Kent Dwyer. One key to their success has been intentional and sustained collaboration - which as many of us have experienced, can be more difficult than it seems. we’ll get into how they went about creating systems that made it easier for them and their colleagues to work together to support all learners. Gina Lappe is heading into her 10th year teaching inquiry-based science. She started teaching in Great Smoky Mountains National Park before heading into the classroom at an Expeditionary Learning Charter School in North Carolina. She currently teaches middle school science at an international school in South Korea. She is passionate about using science as a pathway to get students curious about and connected with the world around them. Please feel free to reach out to Gina via email at ginalappe@gmail.com and Instagram @Lappe_labs. Kent Dwyer has been an educator for 17 years, focusing primarily on language acquisition. He taught Spanish in Pennsylvania for 11 years, serving as a demonstration teacher at Julia Reynolds Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School and then as a master teacher at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School. From 2016 to 2021, Kent worked in international education to support English language acquisition, first in Qatar and then in South Korea. Kent has facilitated professional development sessions on topics including digital storytelling for language acquisition, tiered units of instruction, differentiated instruction, interpersonal language use within the classroom, data-driven decision making, integrated performance assessments, and the use of technology to promote communication. He can be reached through his professional instagram at kent.dwyer or via email at kentdwyer13@gmail.com. Here is a link to their Edutopia article. Here is a link to Choice Words. Here is a link to Fluency through TPR Storytelling. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
32:29
September 14, 2021
S7/E4: How to Cultivate Stronger Connections With Families of Multilingual Learners with Rosalie Metro
What are some steps that educators can take now to build positive relationships with students and their families this school year? What experiences can educators pull from to build empathy and appreciation for multilingual students and their families? How might we go beyond language so we can also build an understanding of diverse cultures, and how might that investment play out in interactions with families?  We discuss these questions and more with Rosalie Metro, an Assistant Teaching Professor in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Rose has taught social studies at the high school level, and currently teaches TESOL classes for pre-service teachers as well as supervising student teaching interns. Metro is the author of two books, Teaching US History Thematically: Document-Based Lessons for the Secondary Classroom, and Teaching World History Thematically: Essential Questions and Document-based Lessons to Connect Past and Present, both published by Teachers College Press. Metro has also been researching Burma/Myanmar’s education system and working with refugees from that country since 2001, and does Burmese language interpreting for her local school district. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
34:43
September 07, 2021
S7/E3: What to Look for in High-Quality Instructional Materials for Multilingual Learners with Crystal Gonzales
Why are content-specific and intentional language supports so critical for effective instruction of multilingual learners? How can we advocate for multilingual learner perspectives to be included in key processes regarding curriculum and instruction at school, district and state level? What role do professional development and formative assessment play in the effectiveness of high-quality instructional material? We discuss these questions and much more with Crystal Gonzales, Executive Director of the English Learner Success Forum, or ELSF. At ELSF, Crystal collaborates with national experts, organizations, educators and content developers to increase the supply of quality K-12 instructional materials that meet the needs of the growing EL population. Previously, as a program officer at the Helmsley Charitable Trust, she collaborated with national K-12 organizations with a focus on teacher professional development, quality instructional materials, and advocacy for underserved communities. In this role, she worked with EL experts to elevate the needs of ELs among grantees and her grantmaking peers. Crystal began her career as a 4th grade bilingual teacher in Houston ISD. She is currently a member of Education Leaders of Color, Latinos for Education, and is a Pahara NextGen fellow. Crystal holds a master’s in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from the University of New Mexico. She is a proud native New Mexican and currently resides in NYC. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
53:38
August 31, 2021
S7/E2: Assessment, Agency, and Equitable Opportunities for Multilingual Learners with Dr. Margo Gottlieb (Part 2)
How might we seize the opportunity of a new school year as a chance to gather information on their multilingual learners, specifically the learning they may have done in languages other than English? How can teachers who aren’t comfortable speaking languages other than English facilitate and support their students’ learning in their home languages? What techniques can educators use to provide feedback to their students in the most meaningful and supportive way?  We discuss these questions and more in these questions in Part 2 of our 2 part series with Dr. Margo Gottlieb, author of the new book “Classroom Assessment in Multiple Languages” and co-founder and lead developer for WIDA at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison. For Margo’s full bio and a blog post with takeaways from our two part series, visit ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
29:15
August 24, 2021
S7/E1: Assessment, Agency, and Equitable Opportunities for Multilingual Learners with Dr. Margo Gottlieb (Part 1)
How might new approaches to assessment create more equitable opportunities for multilingual learners? In what ways could local and professional accountability help motivate teachers to encourage students’ home language use? Why is it so important that relationships and a deeper understanding of our students be at the center of how we design and analyze assessments?  We discuss these questions and more in these questions in Part 1 of our 2 part series with Dr. Margo Gottlieb, co-founder and lead developer for WIDA at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Starting her career as an elementary school teacher and bilingual coordinator, she served as the longstanding director of assessment and evaluation at the Illinois Resource Center.  In addition, she has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Santiago, Chile and has keynoted, presented, and consulted in over 21 countries and almost every state in the U.S. In recent years, Margo’s scholarship has focused on designing language development standards frameworks, co-constructing linguistically and culturally sustainable curriculum, promoting student agency through assessment as, for, and of learning, and evaluating language education policy in K-12 settings. Over her career, Dr. Gottlieb has published more than 90 articles, monographs, handbooks/ guides, encyclopedia entries, and chapters as well as authored, co-authored, or co-edited over 30 books on language standards, academic language use, and classroom assessment. As everyone, the worldwide pandemic forced her to pivot; as a result, she has actively participated in podcasts, webinars, blogs, and has even learned how to tweet. Besides co-authoring Beyond Crises with Debbie Zacarian and Margarita Calderón, Margo’s most recent books include Assessment in Multiple Languages: A Handbook for School and District Leaders and its companion, Classroom Assessment in Multiple Languages: A Handbook for Teachers (Corwin, 2021). Throughout her educational career Margo has been a staunch advocate and warrior for multilingual learners. You are welcome to contact her at margogottlieb@gmail.com or @margogottlieb. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
28:41
August 17, 2021
Season 7 Trailer
Welcome back to Highest Aspirations, an education podcast that focuses on how we can help maximize impact on multilingual learners.  If you’d like to join us on the podcast or if you have an idea for a topic or guest, we want to hear from you. Take less than a minute to fill out our form at bit.ly/haptopics.  As always, if you’re looking for great resources and ideas to help support multilingual learners, subscribe to Highest Aspirations wherever you get your podcasts. If you have feedback, please consider leaving us a review on whichever platform you are using to listen. You can find more free resources such as podcast episode highlights, blog posts, and more at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. You can join the community there to get a weekly email with fresh content you can use and share with others. We’ll be coming to you with new episodes every Tuesday from now until the end of the year. In the meantime, good luck preparing for the new school year - it is certainly an exciting time to be an educator!
02:44
August 10, 2021
S6/E21: Season Finale - Looking Back and Moving Forward with Steve Sofronas
Welcome to our season wrap up episode - and what a season it was. We’ve released 49 episodes and covered so many topics since August of 2020 - definitely a record for the 3 and a half year history of Highest Aspirations. For our season finale, we thought we'd take some time to reflect on what we’ve learned through so many rich conversations with our incredible guests. We’ll also talk about some of our plans for the start of the new school year. In a bit of a role reversal, I handed the interview mic over to my colleague Haley Sandifer, Ellevation’s Marketing Coordinator. A big part of Haley’s role is collaborating with me to create, edit, and share our free ELL Community content - including the Highest Aspirations podcast. Before joining Ellevation, she worked as a Communications Fellow through Leadership for Educational Equity at a parent advocacy group in Denver, CO. She originally became interested in education during her time with Teach for America teaching first grade in Richmond, CA. We have really enjoyed sharing these episodes with you over the past year, and hope you found the conversations to be beneficial or entertaining in some way. Highest Aspirations will return with weekly new episodes in the fall - in the meantime, feel free to submit any guests or topics that you hope to hear next season, and listen back to any episodes you may have missed. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
43:27
June 15, 2021
S6/E20: Supporting Refugee Students and Uplifting Communities with Rebecca Masters
What supports can a designated immigrant/refugee program provide for students and families that go beyond what a typical school or district may be providing? After the past year of interrupted learning, what can we learn from educators who have worked with SIFE students and newcomers - particularly when it comes to social-emotional needs? How are refugees actively benefiting or improving the communities they are in, and in turn how can community partnerships play a vital role in supporting refugee students and families? We discuss these questions and much more with Rebecca Masters. Rebecca Masters is a Senior Youth Coordinator for New American Pathways, an Atlanta based nonprofit with the mission of Helping Refugees and Georgia Thrive. Their vision is for new Americans in metro Atlanta to become successful, contributing, and welcomed members of Georgia’s communities. They fulfill these goals by offering the most comprehensive, fully integrated continuum of services targeted to meet the specific needs of refugees and other immigrants in Georgia. Our conversation with Rebecca focuses on educational services that supplement the amazing work schools are doing to support their newcomers. Special thanks to Julie Allen of International Community School in Clarkston, GA for introducing us to Rebecca. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
31:16
June 08, 2021
S6/E19: Overcoming Trauma and Finding the Strength and Capability of Newcomers with Dr. José Luis Zelaya
How does trauma that migrant children experience manifest in the classroom, and what impact does it have on their ability to communicate and develop relationships at school? What can educators who do not share the lived experiences of their students do to best support them, and why is better representation so crucial? How can those entering higher education or other realms where they may be underrepresented or experience imposter syndrome draw motivation and support from their community? We discuss these questions and much more with Dr. José Luis Zelaya. Dr. Zelaya is a Dreamer born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. At 13 years of age, he was obligated to flee Honduras and embark on a journey to the United States as an unaccompanied minor. He fled Honduras after living for many years as a street child in absolute poverty and violence levels. After a dangerous 45-day journey, he was found in American soil by immigration officers and months later reunited with his mother and sister in Texas. With the help of his mother, he enrolled in school, and like so many of our students,, he started to build a new life in this country. A graduate of Texas A&M University Department of Education and the CEO of Dr. Zelaya Educational Consulting LLC. At Texas A&M, Dr. Zelaya pursued a bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies, a master’s in education in Curriculum and Instructions, and a Doctorate in Urban Education. He attributes each of his academic accomplishments to his family, mentors, and community who have supported his dreams of educational progress. As you’ll hear in our conversation, Dr. Zelaya is also an inspirational example of the grit, tenacity and adaptability that so many migrant students bring to our schools and communities. It was a privilege to talk with him on Highest Aspirations - I won’t soon forget our conversation. We hope you enjoy it as well. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
46:51
June 01, 2021
S6/E18: Preserving and Valuing Heritage Languages with Environmental Linguist K. David Harrison (Part 2)
Welcome back to the second episode in our two-part series with Professor K. David Harrison. Make sure to check out part one on Anchor or wherever you listen to podcasts, and visit our community page to find our key takeaways from the whole conversation, resources and more. How are languages inextricably connected to other aspects of society and what does that mean about preserving and valuing them? What strategies can educators of multilingual students use to incentivize their students to help keep their home languages thriving - even while they are drawn to use English as the language of record? How have globalization, technology, and emotional connections all played a vital role in preserving and valuing languages? We discuss these questions and much more with K. David Harrison, Professor of Linguistics & Cognitive Science at Swarthmore College and National Geographic Society Explorer. David Harrison is a linguist, author and advocate for the documentation and revitalization of endangered languages. He is currently serving as Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Professor of Linguistics at Swarthmore College. Since 2007, Harrison has been affiliated with the National Geographic Society, co-directing their Enduring Voices Project and providing cultural expertise for expeditions, publications and web-content. His early career research focused on Tuvan and other Turkic languages of central Siberia and western Mongolia. More recently, he has been engaged in fieldwork in India, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, and Vanuatu. His research explores the sounds, lexicon, grammar, and cultural knowledge found in the world’s languages. In his laboratory at Swarthmore College, Harrison works with students and speakers of minority and endangered languages to create Talking Dictionaries and other digital tools. Harrison co-starred in Ironbound Films’ Emmy-nominated 2008 documentary film The Linguists, bringing attention to efforts to preserve dying languages. He also serves as director of research for the non-profit Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages. His work has been awarded funding from the NEH, NSF, Microsoft Research, National Geographic Society, and private donors. Harrison has authored several books and lectures widely on the value of linguistic and cultural diversity. Our listeners will also be happy to know that Harrison began his career as an ESL teacher, which is how our interview begins. This is part 2 of a 2 part series. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
28:02
May 25, 2021
S6/E17: Preserving and Valuing Heritage Languages with Environmental Linguist K. David Harrison (Part 1)
How are languages inextricably connected to other aspects of society and what does that mean about preserving and valuing them? What strategies can educators of multilingual students use to incentivize their students to help keep their home languages thriving - even while they are drawn to use English as the language of record? How have globalization, technology, and emotional connections all played a vital role in preserving and valuing languages? We discuss these questions and much more with K. David Harrison, Professor of Linguistics & Cognitive Science at Swarthmore College and National Geographic Society Explorer. David Harrison is a linguist, author and advocate for the documentation and revitalization of endangered languages. He is currently serving as Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Professor of Linguistics at Swarthmore College. Since 2007, Harrison has been affiliated with the National Geographic Society, co-directing their Enduring Voices Project and providing cultural expertise for expeditions, publications and web-content. His early career research focused on Tuvan and other Turkic languages of central Siberia and western Mongolia. More recently, he has been engaged in fieldwork in India, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, and Vanuatu. His research explores the sounds, lexicon, grammar, and cultural knowledge found in the world’s languages. In his laboratory at Swarthmore College, Harrison works with students and speakers of minority and endangered languages to create Talking Dictionaries and other digital tools. Harrison co-starred in Ironbound Films’ Emmy-nominated 2008 documentary film The Linguists, bringing attention to efforts to preserve dying languages. He also serves as director of research for the non-profit Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages. His work has been awarded funding from the NEH, NSF, Microsoft Research, National Geographic Society, and private donors. Harrison has authored several books and lectures widely on the value of linguistic and cultural diversity. Our listeners will also be happy to know that Harrison began his career as an ESL teacher, which is how our interview begins. This is part 1 of a 2 part series. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
24:40
May 18, 2021
S6/E16: Beyond Cognates: Leveraging Multilingual Capital to Promote a Love of Languages with Dr. Sonia Soltero
How can we combat an “English-only” approach in education and what is the importance of calling out cross linguistic connections for English learners? What is “metabilingual awareness” and how does it inform how we understand and develop language? How should equity be considered, both for students enrolling in dual language programs and in the recruiting and retaining of multilingual educators? We discuss these questions and much more with Dr. Sonia Soltero. Dr. Soltero is Professor and Chair of the Department of Leadership, Language, and Curriculum, and former Director of the Bilingual-Bicultural Education Graduate Program at DePaul University in Chicago. Soltero has numerous publications on bilingual education, English Learners, and Latino Education having been involved with dual/bilingual education for more than thirty years as a dual language teacher, university professor, professional developer, and researcher. Soltero has extensive background in design and implementation of dual language and bilingual programs and has worked with school districts as well as bilingual universities across the US. During the episode, we mention that Highest Aspirations will be featuring teacher shout-outs submitted by listeners from now through the end of the school year. If you would like to participate, you can record a short audio message on your phone or computer and email it to haley.sandifer@ellevationeducation.com. For more information on recording and submitting your message, check out our blog post. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away. Finally, the 2021 Ellevation Scholarship is still accepting applications through the end of the week - if you are interested in the application, visit this page to learn more and apply.
45:02
May 11, 2021
S6/E15: Parent-Driven Programs and Empowering EL Families with Francisco Meza and Elba Solis
What unique challenges and opportunities do parent-driven mentor programs pose for EL students and families? How can schools and districts create mission aligned programs that support ongoing goals while offering new opportunities? What existing district programs and community partnerships can schools tap into in order to create a more robust and sustainable parent outreach program? We discuss these questions and more with Francisco Meza and Elba Solis of Whittier Union High School District in Southern California. With the help of other educators, parents and community members in their district, Francisco Meza and Elba Solis have created a successful parent mentor program that helps families of English learners become more involved with helping the district achieve their goals while simultaneously providing them with valuable learning opportunities. As you’ll hear in the interview, the program has provided great value for all who have been involved...and it is replicable in other districts who are trying to do similar things. During the episode, we mention that Highest Aspirations will be featuring teacher shout-outs submitted by listeners from now through the end of the school year. If you would like to participate, you can record a short audio message on your phone or computer and email it to haley.sandifer@ellevationeducation.com. For more information on recording and submitting your message, check out our blog post. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away. Finally, the 2021 Ellevation Scholarship is still accepting applications - if you are interested in the application, visit this page to learn more and apply.
38:05
May 04, 2021
S6/E14: What English Learners Need To Thrive | A Policy Perspective with Rosario Quiroz Villarreal
How does “toxic stress” for students in the intersection of immigration and education manifest itself, and what are the long term effects it can have if not addressed? What are the most pressing concerns that educators have about their English learners as a result of the pandemic and what do they need to support them? How can educators, policy makers and community organizations contribute to an environment that allows English learners and their families to thrive in an academic setting? We dig into these questions and more with our guest, Rosario Quiroz Villarreal. Rosario Quiroz Villarreal is a policy entrepreneur at Next100 focused on increasing educational equity for immigrant students and students of color, including by removing the systemic barriers their families face when seeking opportunity. She has written numerous articles centering and celebrating the lived experience of immigrants and advocating for policy solutions to challenges. Among other projects, she has worked with a diverse coalition of immigration and education advocates to draft a toolkit for K–12 educators that prepared them to support their students, families, and colleagues when the DACA decision came down from the Supreme Court. Rosario has worked on social justice issues and with youth throughout her career. She spent five years as a bilingual educator, teaching in public and charter school settings in Texas and New York. She was recognized as a Champion of Change by the Obama administration for her work with immigrant English learner students. Rosario also worked with the Boys and Girls Club of Henderson County, North Carolina, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health in NYC, and Momentum Alliance in Portland, Oregon. As you’ll hear in our conversation, her passion for this work stems from lived experiences, thorough research and valuable time in educational settings. During the episode, we mention that Highest Aspirations will be featuring teacher shout-outs submitted by listeners from now through the end of the school year. If you would like to participate, you can record a short audio message on your phone or computer and email it to haley.sandifer@ellevationeducation.com. For more information on recording and submitting your message, check out our blog post. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away. Finally, the 2021 Ellevation Scholarship is still accepting applications - if you are interested in the application, visit this page to learn more and apply.
50:34
April 27, 2021
S6/E13: Data-Driven Instruction and Building Student Agency with Pam Burgreen
What tools can we provide teachers to help make their instruction as efficient and effective as possible - particularly as we transition between remote, hybrid and in person settings? How can we give quality formative assessments in a virtual, hybrid and in person settings to gauge student progress, especially for ELs? What strategies for front-loading academic vocabulary and building opportunities for student agency will best support and engage our English learners? We discuss these topics and more with Ellevation’s own Pamela Burgreen. Pam was a high school math teacher in New York City and Long Island for 10 years. After leaving the classroom, Pam worked on middle and high school math curriculum and assessments before starting with Ellevation in early 2020. As you’ll hear in our conversation, Pam brings multiple perspectives into the conversation around English learners and math.  During the episode, we mention that Highest Aspirations will be featuring teacher shout-outs submitted by listeners from now through the end of the school year. If you would like to participate, you can record a short audio message on your phone or computer and email it to haley.sandifer@ellevationeducation.com. For more information on recording and submitting your message, check out our blog post. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away. Finally, the 2021 Ellevation Scholarship is still accepting applications - if you are interested in the application, visit this page to learn more and apply.
42:15
April 20, 2021
S6/E12: Understanding Lived Experiences and Trauma in the School Setting with Dr. Edith Treviño
What effects do we see on educators from the second-hand trauma that they experience in the classroom? How can teachers best support their students to share their lived experiences and how can teachers respond when they do? Are there ways that the responses to trauma that immigrant children face can inform our response to the trauma students and teachers experienced during the pandemic? We discuss these questions and more with Dr. Edith Treviño, known by her colleagues as Dr. ET. Dr. ET served as a bilingual and ESL specialist for Region One in Edinburg TX for two years. Her time at Region One was spent empowering 37 districts, universities, and charter schools in sheltered instruction, educational technology,ESL, Bilingual, and innovation for all teachers and students. Dr. ET has empowered educators at the local, state, and national level. Dr. ET is co-author to “The Death of My Mexican Name" published by Rethinking Bilingual Education. Dr. ET’s research is focused on Teacher perceptions of Mexican Immigrant students’ lived experience with border violence on the Texas-Mexico Border. ET holds a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Bilingual Studies from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, a Master of Education degree from Sul Ross State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. During the episode, we mention that Highest Aspirations will be featuring teacher shout-outs submitted by listeners from now through the end of the school year. If you would like to participate, you can record a short audio message on your phone or computer and email it to haley.sandifer@ellevationeducation.com. For more information on recording and submitting your message, check out our blog post. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away. Finally, the 2021 Ellevation Scholarship is still accepting applications - if you are interested in the application, visit this page to learn more and apply.
34:15
April 13, 2021
S6/E11: Adding Tools to EL Teachers' Toolboxes with Dr. Adrian Johnson
What data can be used to measure learning loss in English learners, and what long term impacts are most pressing? How is tech being used to accelerate learning for ELs and empower students to continue their learning outside of class? How can building out a robust STEM program motivate students to develop foundational skills? We discuss these questions and more with Dr. Adrian Johnson, Superintendent of Schools in Hearne ISD in Texas. Dr. Johnson is regular contributor to Ellevation’s ELL Community. He has appeared on the In This Together docuseries as well as other episodes of Highest Aspirations. Dr. Johnson brings the important perspective of how rural school districts are working to best support their English learners. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away. During the episode, we mention the 2021 Ellevation Scholarship - if you are interested in the application, visit this page to learn more and apply.
38:15
April 06, 2021
S6/E10: 33 Languages, One Community | Family Engagement and More with Julie Allen
What family engagement strategies are most effective in linguistically diverse communities? How might we empower families and siblings to help support EL student outcomes? How might recent policy changes impact schools with significant refugee or immigrant populations and inform the future of education? We discuss these questions and more with Julie Allen, current Principal/CEO of the International Community School. She has worked in education, specifically serving low-income and historically oppressed communities, across Metro Atlanta for oven ten years. Ms. Allen believes that all students deserve an education that will allow them to live choice-filled lives, and she is committed to leading this charge in her current role. You can read her full bio in the blog version of this episode. As you’ll hear in the episode, there is a lot we can learn from schools like International Community Schools.  If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
36:44
March 30, 2021
S6/E09: Academic Language Instruction | Everyone is a Math Learner with Kristian Lindsey
How can the challenges that teachers continue to face in remote classrooms lead to positive changes - particularly when it comes to facilitating discussions and practicing language? How can teachers set their English learners up for success, both with accessing academic vocabulary and creating lower-stakes entry points of participation for students? What tools, lessons and takeaways from this year will be key in informing instruction and addressing where students are when we are back in the classroom? We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with Kristian Lindsey, a middle school math teacher and interventionist who works with a linguistically diverse group of students at Lively Middle School in Austin, TX, a city she has called home for almost 30 years. You can find additional resources and episode takeaways on our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away. During the episode, we mention the 2021 Ellevation Scholarship - if you are interested in the application, visit this page to learn more and apply.
46:09
March 23, 2021
S6/E08: Supporting English Learners in Making Adequate Academic Progress with Vicky Saldala
What steps can we take to strategically support English learners through learning loss while also prioritizing social and emotional well-being? What approach can districts take with professional development to support educators in identifying learning loss and teaching language development in this environment? How can schools use this experience with distance and remote learning to reimagine in-person learning in the fall? We discuss these questions and much more with Vicky Saldala, Director of the Bilingual /ESOL Department for Broward County Public Schools in Florida.  Victoria B. Saldala is a veteran educator with 32 years of extensive experience developing, executing and supporting academic programs to meet the diverse needs of language learners. In her current position as the Director of the Bilingual/ESOL Department for Broward County Public Schools, Mrs. Saldala is directly responsible for coordinating all curriculum and compliance support for the English for Speakers of Other Languages Program, the Dual Language Program, and the World Languages Programs. In addition, her team is responsible for district Interpretations/Translations. She works collaboratively with the community to ensure non-English speaking families receive support and information through the International Welcome Center. Mrs. Saldala holds a Master of Science in Reading Education, a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, certification in Principal Leadership, and an endorsement in English for Speakers of Other Languages. Mrs. Saldala was recognized as the 2016 Latino Administrator of the Year by the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) for her commitment to Latino students and the community in addition to various local recognitions.  If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to join our ELL Community while you’re there so you get weekly resources, strategies and tips from that you can use right away.
34:58
March 16, 2021
S6/E07: Using Routines to Meet the Urgent Needs of Our Students with Grace Kelemanik and Amy Lucenta: Part 2
What strategies can educators use in remote environments to increase learning capacity and promote student agency? What similarities and differences can we draw between what a language rich classroom looks and sounds like in-person versus virtually? How can routines support teachers and students when we transition back to in-person settings and begin to address “unfinished learning”? We discuss these questions and more in part two of our two-part series with Grace Kelemanik and Amy Lucenta, co-founders of Fostering Math Practices and authors of the book Routines for Reasoning.  We brought Grace and Amy back to Highest Aspirations to talk about how things have changed since we talked in January, 2020 - just before the pandemic. Grace Kelemanik comes to us with more than 30 years of mathematics education experience. As a frequent presenter at national conferences, she meets and continues to support countless math educators on their journey as thinking facilitators. She has served as an urban high school math teacher, Education Development Center Project Director, and extensively supports new and pre-service teachers through the Boston Teacher Residency program. In an interview posted on their website, Grace addresses a familiar setting in our classrooms: “English Learners come into our classrooms expected to learn mathematics, which is new to them, in a language that is new to them, in a culture that is new to them.” Today, you will walk away with routines that support these learners. In fact, these routines will provide a structure for all of your students to get down to the business of discussing, defending, communicating, connecting and reflecting on the learning of mathematics. Most recently, Amy Lucenta served as a secondary mathematics Clinical Teacher Educator for the Boston Teacher Residency Program. Her experience spans K-12, teaching both middle and high school, then extending into elementary as a math coach. Her passion for helping struggling learners focus on developing the standards for mathematical practice is evident in the book and in our conversation, where she continues to explore how to develop mathematical thinkers through establishing routines that lead to success. Ellevation is committed to keeping you informed and inspired with resources to help you support your English learners. If haven't done so already, we invite you to join the ELL Community here.
34:36
March 09, 2021
S6/E06: Using Routines to Meet the Urgent Needs of Our Students with Grace Kelemanik and Amy Lucenta: Part 1
How can incorporating routines into remote learning reduce stress and uncertainty for students while also supporting language development and discourse? What are some strategies that provide English learners with opportunities to develop mathematical thinking in remote and hybrid learning environments? How has the unfinished learning caused by the pandemic shifted teachers’ mindsets, and what COVID Silver Linings have surfaced? We discuss these questions and more in part 1 of our 2 part series with Grace Kelemanik and Amy Lucenta, co-founders of Fostering Math Practices and authors of the book Routines for Reasoning. We brought Grace and Amy back to Highest Aspirations to talk about how things have changed since we talked in January, 2020 - just before the pandemic. Grace Kelemanik comes to us with more than 30 years of mathematics education experience. As a frequent presenter at national conferences, she meets and continues to support countless math educators on their journey as thinking facilitators. She has served as an urban high school math teacher, Education Development Center Project Director, and extensively supports new and pre-service teachers through the Boston Teacher Residency program. In an interview posted on their website, Grace addresses a familiar setting in our classrooms: “English Learners come into our classrooms expected to learn mathematics, which is new to them, in a language that is new to them, in a culture that is new to them.” Today, you will walk away with routines that support these learners. In fact, these routines will provide a structure for all of your students to get down to the business of discussing, defending, communicating, connecting and reflecting on the learning of mathematics. Most recently, Amy Lucenta served as a secondary mathematics Clinical Teacher Educator for the Boston Teacher Residency Program. Her experience spans K-12, teaching both middle and high school, then extending into elementary as a math coach. Her passion for helping struggling learners focus on developing the standards for mathematical practice is evident in the book and in our conversation, where she continues to explore how to develop mathematical thinkers through establishing routines that lead to success. Ellevation is committed to keeping you informed and inspired with resources to help you support your English learners. Join the ELL Community here. 
27:04
March 03, 2021
S6/E05: Promoting Bilingualism While Healing "La Herida Abierta" with Dr. Carolina Lopez
How are educators reaching English Learners and bilingual students in a border district during a pandemic, both in addressing immediate needs for support and in looking ahead at the impact of learning loss on the future of instruction? What techniques can educators use to identify different types of bilingual learners and evaluate the effectiveness of their program and instruction? How might we transform the subtractive model of schooling that is rooted in generations of an “English only” mentality to celebrate bilingualism and encourage students to take pride in their native dialect? We discuss these questions and much more with Dr. Carolina Lopez. Carolina Lopez is in her twentieth year in education and is a Bilingual and ESL Strategist at Weslaco ISD, located in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas .  Prior to serving as the Bilingual and ESL Strategist, she served as the Secondary English Language Arts & Reading Strategist.  She has a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Bilingual Education, a Master of Education in Reading, and a Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a Specialization in Bilingual Studies.  She is a Texas certified Reading Specialist, Master Reading Teacher, and Principal. She taught for sixteen years at the elementary, secondary, and post secondary level. In 2016 she was named the Texas Association for Bilingual Education Secondary ESL Teacher of the Year.  She is also a published author in the NABE Journal of Research and Practice. She has served on numerous committees at the state level to address the needs of English learners and currently serves on the Texas Education Agency Assessment Educator Advisory Committee. As you’ll hear in our conversation, Dr. Lopez is a fierce advocate for bilingual education in a region that has struggled with a fixed mindset on English only programs - something which she sees as part of a larger issue she refers to as “la herida abierta”, or the “open wound”, which she believes educators can help to heal. Ellevation is committed to keeping you informed and inspired with resources to help you support your English learners. If you’d like access to more information and resources, join the ELL Community here - it's free!  
45:04
February 23, 2021
S6/E04: Addressing EL Learning Loss - Why a Cookie Cutter Approach Won't Work
How can districts, schools and educators identify and mitigate areas of Covid related learning loss among English learners? What is the role of professional learning in helping educators support English learners in content and language instruction as we trend toward more widespread in person learning? How can we be prepared to meet individual students where they are given the widespread disruption caused by the pandemic? We discuss these questions and much more with Lynmara Colón. Lynn has been a frequent contributor to Highest Aspirations as well as the In This Together docuseries. She has led Prince William County’s efforts to continue serving their English learners through the changes caused by the pandemic.  These students represent 124 countries and 149 languages. In this conversation, we talk about her team’s efforts to address learning loss among their most vulnerable students. Ellevation is committed to keeping you informed and inspired with resources to help you support your English learners. Ellevation is committed to keeping you informed and inspired with resources to help you support your English learners. If you’d like access to more information and resources, join the ELL Community here - it's free!
38:31
February 16, 2021
S6/E03: Engaging English Learners in Math Instruction in a Year Like no Other with Steven Mendoza
What strategies can we use to help students overcome the significant challenges associated with learning in a remote environment? How can we implement tried and true strategies like sentence stems, anchors of support, choral reading and others to help strengthen English learners academic language skills? How might teachers use newly acquired skills to help strengthen EL instruction as we transition back to school? We discuss these questions and more with Steven Mendoza. Steven teaches 7th grade mathematics at Burnet Middle School in Austin, Texas, where he was selected as Teacher of the Year in 2018. 70% of students at Burnet are English learners and 95% are economically disadvantaged, which was one of the reasons Steven decided to work there. A common theme in Steven’s classroom is “Be Respectful and Do Your Best”. He instills this mantra in his students and points to these traits as necessary to the success of their future endeavors, whether this means going to college, contributing to the workforce, or simply being a valued citizen that sets a positive example for others. Steven is also works with a team of teachers that encourages sharing ideas and expertise to best serve their students. He is an active participant in his math team’s professional learning community where he helps create lessons that not only teach math concepts, but also seek to inspire student engagement and learning. As you’ll hear in our interview, Steven is passionate about helping his students succeed, honest about the challenges he and his colleagues are facing and proactive about putting his students' needs front and center. Ellevation is committed to keeping you informed and inspired with resources to help you support your English learners. If you’d like access to more information and resources, join the ELL Community here - it's free!
44:50
February 10, 2021
S6/E02: Simple Tech Strategies Can Be Lifelines for English Learners, with Katie Gardner
What can we learn from educators who have worked with English learners in hybrid learning models from the beginning of the pandemic? How can we use free built-in accessibility tools on devices to personalize learning for students? What are some simple strategies and tools we can implement to incorporate speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in both synchronous and asynchronous lessons? We discuss these questions and much more with Katie Gardner Katie is an Elementary English as a Second Language Teacher in Salisbury, North Carolina. She is an Apple Distinguished Educator, PBS Digital Innovator, LEGO Master Educator, National Geographic Certified Educator, Writereader / Seesaw / Buncee Ambassador and a National Board Certified Teacher in English as a New Language. She has a passion for creating blended learning lessons to engage early learners and support second language acquisition. Katie has been a featured presenter or workshop leader at National early learning, technology, and ESL conferences. You can follow Katie on Twitter at @gardnerkb1 and/or email her email at gardnerkb@rss.k12.nc.us. Also check out her Edutopia article, Using Technology to Support Young English Language Learners in a Hybrid Classroom. Ellevation is committed to keeping you informed and inspired with resources to help you support your English learners. If you’d like access to more information and resources, join the ELL Community here - it's free!
42:25
February 02, 2021
S6/E01: The Benefits of Teacher Driven Professional Learning with Betsy Pegler
How can we go about converting top down approaches to professional learning to more relevant and engaging teacher centered sessions? What is the EdCamp model and how can it help structure professional learning opportunities to support teachers working with diverse groups of learnings? How can establishing relationships with community organizations help  schools better serve their students and staff? We discuss these questions and much more with Betsy Pegler, Administrator of Special Programs in the Rio School District in Southern California. Pegler began teaching in 2007 in a neighboring district; one she had attended as a school-age child. She taught sixth, fifth, first, second, and fourth grade. By 2012, she was an administrator for expanded learning, after school programs, and supplemental educational services. Pegler also began her affiliation with Computer Using Educators (CUE, Inc) at this time and continues to serve as Director-at-Large for Gold Coast CUE, Ventura County CUE affiliate, as well as planning committee member for EdCampRio, EdCampVC, and Skoolcade, where she collaborates with local educational leaders and learners to inspire and share inspiring educational practices. She soon promoted to Assistant Principal and then transitioned to LA County as Principal in Canyon Country, Sulphur Springs Union School District, serving a richly diverse population. “I always found Rio to be a place of exciting creativity, collaboration, and connections to learners and leaders within and beyond the community.” Pegler found a way to transition “home” with a position in the Rio School District. The past few years with Rio have connected Pegler with a very different model of learning, collaborative and flexible professional development, and rich community connections expanding beyond city, county, state and country perimeters. Pegler holds a Bachelor of Arts in multiple subjects and Master of Arts in educational leadership from CSU Channel Islands. A Ventura County resident, Pegler is grateful to serve her hometown community and continue to champion for what needs to thrive in schools and communities. Ellevation is committed to keeping you informed and inspired with resources to help you support your English learners. If you’d like access to more information and resources, join the ELL Community here - it's free! Links: Gold Coast CUE: https://www.goldcoastcue.org/about-gccue/board Rio Thrive Conference 2020: https://sites.google.com/rioschools.org/thrive-2020/home Twitter: @bmeyring
45:05
January 19, 2021
S5/E28: "A Radical Approach" to Family and Community Engagement with Babatunji Ifarinu and Stephanie Brown-Bryant
How many times have you heard the expression “take an asset based approach to EL education”? We’ve certainly used the term on many occasions here on Highest Aspirations.  But what does it really mean and what might we learn from school leaders working in Clarkston, GA - a community that has been called “the most diverse mile in America” and “the Ellis Island of the South”? How does a “radical approach” to family and community engagement enhance outcomes for students in diverse communities? We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with Assistant Principal Babatunji Ifarinu and Principal Stephanie Brown-Bryant from Indian Creek Elementary School in Clarkston, Georgia - a highly diverse community just outside of Atlanta.  As always, we are committed to keeping you informed and inspired with resources to help you support your English learners. If you’d like to find more information or contribute to this series, go to ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. You can subscribe to Highest Aspirations wherever you listen to podcasts so you know when new episodes are released. As always, thanks for listening. Stay safe and take care of each other. Guest Bios Babatunji Ifarinu is the Assistant Principal at Indian Creek Elementary School. He has been working with a wide variety of students since 1997. He was formerly a sheltered social studies teacher in which he delivered instruction to immigrant and refugee students.  He was also an ESOL Academic Data Coach at a Middle School that has a student population that is more than a third English language learners. As an ELL Success Facilitator in one of the largest and most diverse school district in Georgia, he has facilitated workshops to improve instruction for culturally and linguistically diverse students. His workshops and seminars have been delivered at the district level and at local schools. Tunji provides energetic professional learning sessions that leaves participants with practical and tactical strategies for facilitating success for students. As an ELL Success Facilitator in one of the largest and most diverse school district in Georgia, he has facilitated workshops to improve instruction for culturally and linguistically diverse students. His workshops and seminars have been delivered at the district level and at local schools. Tunji provides energetic professional learning sessions that leaves participants with practical and tactical strategies for facilitating success for students. Stephanie Brown-Bryant has served as an educator for 25 years.  Currently, Mrs. Brown-Bryant is the Principal at Indian Creek Elementary in Clarkston, Georgia.  She was raised in Camilla, Georgia where she graduated from Mitchell-Baker High School went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Middle Grades Education from Valdosta State University.  Her passion for lifelong learning led her to earn two computer science degrees, certifications in leadership and teacher support as well as her gifted endorsement.  Additionally, she is a doctoral candidate at Piedmont College with STEM as her content focus. Mrs. Brown-Bryant balances her life with her husband of more than 20 years and two teenage sons. Her diverse instructional experiences include more than 20 years of service in the DeKalb County School District.  Her leadership at Indian Creek Elementary prepares approximately 1000 students to be College and Career Ready through enriching and engaging educational opportunities.  Mrs. Brown-Bryant believes education removes barriers and provides hope.  It is a privilege to help build our future and a nurturing, quality education for our students is the best investment one can give!
53:51
December 16, 2020
S5/E27: A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction with Rachel Ruffalo, Malane Morales-Van Hecke and José Franco
How might we make math instruction more equitable for all students? Why is it so important for educators to recognize how their biases and beliefs affect their ability to deliver equitable instruction to English learners? How might we infuse language and culture into existing curriculum so they are a part of content instruction rather than a separate element? We discuss these questions and much more with Rachel Ruffalo, Malane Morales-Van Hecke and José Franco, who all played important roles in developing A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction, which provides resources and guidance to support Black, LatinX and Multilingual students. The Pathway offers guidance and resources for educators to use now as they plan their curriculum, while also offering opportunities for ongoing self-reflection as they seek to develop an anti-racist math practice. The toolkit “strides” serve as multiple on-ramps for educators as they navigate the individual and collective journey from equity to anti-racism. Rachel Ruffalo is the Director of Educator Engagement at Ed Trust-West, where she leads engagements with school districts through a multi-year process that involves a mixed-methods research study to identify opportunity gaps and systemic inequities and a closely facilitated planning process to develop actions that address the root causes of the inequities. Malane Morales-Van Hecke is a Program Coordinator for the Los Angeles County Office of Education’s Multilingual Academic Support Unit in the Curriculum and Instruction Division. She currently works with the MAS Unit team providing technical assistance and professional development in support of Los Angeles county’s districts and charter schools as part of the county office and state-wide systems of support. José Franco serves as Director of WestEd’s Math Pathways & Pitfalls, which focuses on enriching students’ mathematical comprehension and academic language development in tandem. He advocates for teachers to orchestrate mathematics discussions that enhance student voice and identity. As always, we are committed to keeping you informed and inspired with resources to help you support your English learners. If you’d like to find more information or contribute to this series, go to ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. You can subscribe to Highest Aspirations wherever you listen to podcasts so you know when new episodes are released. 
55:39
December 10, 2020
S5/E26: Encore Episode: Using Project Based Learning Strategies to Reach English Learners with Elizabeth Leone
As schools rapidly shift from in-person, hybrid and fully remote instructional settings, there has been a renewed interest in adopting project based learning (PBL) strategies to keep students engaged through all the changes. To address this topic, we have re-released our interview with Elizabeth Leone, a passionate advocate for English learners and expert practitioner of PBL in highly diverse classes. Whether you are looking to incorporate small elements of PBL or you are hoping to go all in, this interview will help get you started. How does project based learning support the diverse language skills of English learners? What is the sustained inquiry process and how can it serve as a first step toward increased student communication and collaboration? How can project based learning enhance cultural responsiveness and help support English learners as assets to our school communities? We discuss these questions and much more with Elizabeth Leone. Elizabeth is an ESL teacher and Project-based Learning (PBL) coach in Manchester, New Hampshire. She teaches in a sheltered instructional settings for newcomers from all over the world. She completed her Masters in TESOL and her undergraduate studies in Elementary Education. Elizabeth is passionate about making learning more equitable and attainable for all students, especially those with limited or interrupted formal education (SLIFE). She uses project-based learning as a way to meet learners where they are with their language skills and rapidly streamline their education to get them into mainstream classes. Using PBL strategies, she is able to simultaneously work on language acquisition, content education, and 21st century skills in a way that keeps them motivated to learn. If you would like to know more about PBL for ESL, feel free to contact Elizabeth by email at eleone@mansd.org or follow her class blog on Instagram @ms.leone.ell.squad
45:47
December 01, 2020
S5/E25: "In This Together" Panel Discussion
This episode is the culmination of our “In This Together” docuseries, where we follow 5 EL program directors from around the country to explore the challenges they face and how they’re overcoming them. Listen as our 5 panelists discuss how they are supporting their English learners in remote, hybrid and face to settings, what they are planning for the second half of the school year, how they are taking advantage of silver linings they’ve uncovered along the way and more. As always, we are committed to keeping you informed and inspired with resources to help you support your English learners. If you’d like to find more information or contribute to this series, check out our ELL Community page at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. Remember you can subscribe to Highest Aspirations wherever you listen to podcasts so you know when new episodes are released. Also please consider leaving us a review on Apple podcasts - this helps us get the word out about this free resource for educators.
59:19
November 17, 2020
S5/E24: Assessing Student Progress and Differentiating for Success with Vicky Saldala and Melissa Cabrera
What are some ways to address the challenge of differentiating for a wide variety of learners in both language learning and content mastery as we shift between in remote, hybrid and face to face instructional settings? How might we go about measuring student progress over the course of this academic year and what data should we be examining to ensure equitable access to instruction moving forward? How can we keep English learners motivated to learn in such rapidly evolving educational environments? We discuss these questions and much more in our fourth episode with ESOL Director Vicky Saldala and Cooper City High School Literacy Coach Melissa Cabrera from Broward County Public Schools in Florida. This episode is part of our "In This Together" docuseries, where we follow the triumphs and challenges of a cross section of EL program directors as they strive to deliver equitable experiences for students this school year. You can find all episodes (video and audio) on our "In This Together" channel. You can also find free tools to help ensure your English learners and their families receive equitable access to instruction and services on our Equity in Action page.
44:35
November 09, 2020
S5/E23: Balancing Logistics and Best Practices with Juan Corona, Director of English Learners at Maywood District 89, IL
How are EL students and their teachers doing now that the back to school season has transitioned into what is normally a very busy time of the year? What can EL educators do to prepare for upcoming state assessments? How is collaboration between EL Specialists and content teachers evolving as schools begin to assess student progress since the start of the school year?  We discuss these questions and much more in our latest conversation with Juan Corona, Director of English Learners at Maywood District 89, just outside of Chicago, IL. This episode is part of our "In This Together" docuseries, where we follow the triumphs and challenges of a cross section of EL program directors as they strive to deliver equitable experiences for students this school year. You can find all episodes (video and audio) on our "In This Together" channel. You can also find free tools to help ensure your English learners and their families receive equitable access to instruction and services on our Equity in Action page.
33:06
November 02, 2020
S5/E22: Reading and Writing with English Learners with Dr. Melinda Miller and Valentina Gonzalez
How might we expand on the workshop model for reading and writing to ensure English learners have the accommodations they need to learn? What is the role and responsibility of teachers during shared, guided, and independent reading and writing times?  How can well-designed reading and writing activities help build learning communities and allow teachers to get to know their students better? We discuss these topics and much more in our conversation with Valentina Gonzalez and Melinda Miller, authors of the new book “Reading and Writing with English Learners”, available now on the Seidlitz Education website. Valentina Gonzalez (@ValentinaESL) has worked in public education for 21 years, serving as a classroom teacher, an ESL co-teacher and pull-out teacher, a district ESL facilitator and a district professional development specialist for English learners. She has appeared on Highest Aspirations to discuss the workshop model for reading and writing, sharing resources during remote learning and more. Valentina has been asked to present at the state and national levels. She earned her Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Houston and her Master’s in Leadership and Administration from Lamar University. Dr. Melinda Miller (@DrMelindaMiller) is a full professor who has been teaching at Sam Houston State University since 2001. She currently teaches at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels. This is her first time appearing on Highest Aspirations. She previously taught public school in the classroom and as a Reading Specialist for 11 years. After completing an undergraduate degree in Education at the University of Texas, she received her Master’s degree in Reading from Sam Houston State University and her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M University.
01:03:05
October 27, 2020
S5/E21: Encore Episode: Back to Basics Isn't Boring With Jana Echevarria
How might a back to basics approach help EL educators ground themselves in practices that can provide the most impact for the students they serve? What are some of the pitfalls of constantly searching for "the next new thing" and how can we avoid them? How might we help bridge the gap between research and practice when vetting, implementing, and assessing educational tools and practices? We discuss these questions and much more with Dr. Jana Echevarria. Jana is a Professor Emerita at California State University, Long Beach.  She started out teaching in special education, but also taught in elementary, middle, and high school in general education, special education, ESL, and bilingual programs. She is a founding researcher of the SIOP Model,  and her research over the years has focused on effective instruction for English learners, including those with learning disabilities. Jana has presented her research in the U.S. and internationally, including at Oxford University (England), Wits University (South Africa), Harvard University (U.S.), Stanford University (U.S.), University of Barcelona (Spain), and South East Europe University (Macedonia) where she was a Fulbright Specialist. In 2016, she was honored to be inducted into the California Reading Hall of Fame. Many of our listeners will also recognize her as the co-author of the highly regarded book, Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners: The SIOP® Model. As always, you can find more information and resources discussed in this episode on Ellevation's ELL Community.
46:29
October 20, 2020
S5/E20: Addressing Learning Loss with Assessment Data, Teacher Input and Effective Workflows with Rowena Mak
How are school districts implementing remote, in person and hybrid models all at the same time? What impact is this having on teachers, students and families they serve, particularly as it pertains to educational equity? What are some ways we can effectively identify and mitigate learning loss among English learners? We discuss these questions and much more with Rowena Mak, District Coordinator, Services for English Learners at Saddleback Valley Unified School District in California. This episode is part of our "In This Together" docuseries, where we follow the triumphs and challenges of a cross section of EL program directors as they strive to deliver equitable experiences for students this school year. You can find all episodes (video and audio) on our "In This Together" channel. You can also find free tools to help ensure your English learners and their families receive equitable access to instruction and services on our Equity in Action page. Please consider leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. This will help us continue bringing you the best topics and guests on Highest Aspirations.
35:23
October 13, 2020
S5/E19: Making Quality Time on Learning Count with Dr. Adrian Johnson
Dr. Adrian Johnson, Superintendent of Schools at Hearne ISD in Texas, talks about how his district is taking a gradual approach to bringing students and teachers back to school buildings, what they have learned about school community exposure to COVID, making the most of quality time with students and more. This episode is part of our "In This Together" docuseries, where we follow the triumphs and challenges of a cross section of EL program directors as they strive to deliver equitable experiences for students this school year. You can find all episodes (video and audio) on our "In This Together" channel. You can also find free tools to help ensure your English learners and their families receive equitable access to instruction and services on our Equity in Action page. Please consider leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. This will help us continue bringing you the best topics and guests on Highest Aspirations.
49:47
October 09, 2020
S5/E18: Adapting to Rapidly Evolving Educational Environments with Melissa Cabrera and Vicky Saldala
High School Literacy Coach Melissa Cabrera joins ESOL Director Vicky Saldala to discuss how she and her students are dealing with changes in learning environments, why differentiating and grouping students is still a challenge, how they are identifying and coping with learning loss and more. Melissa and Vicky's transparency and willingness to discuss difficult topics provide listeners with the information and inspiration they need to work through challenges together. This episode is part of our "In This Together" docuseries, where we follow the triumphs and challenges of a cross section of EL program directors as they strive to deliver equitable experiences for students this school year. You can find all episodes (video and audio) on our "In This Together" channel. You can also find free tools to help ensure your English learners and their families receive equitable access to instruction and services on our Equity in Action page. Please consider leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. This will help us continue bringing you the best topics and guests on Highest Aspirations.
46:35
October 07, 2020
S5/E17: Lesson Planning to Promote Social Justice and Dismantle Systems of Oppression with Dr. José Medina
How is lesson planning directly related to dismantling or supporting systems of oppression? Why is it so important to recognize that approaching education from a monolingual lens has not served many of our students and what can we do to change it? How does the C6 Biliteracy Instructional Framework help educators design learning opportunities that are culturally supportive rather than culturally destructive? We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with Dr. José Medina. Dr. José Medina is the founder and Chief Educational Advocate for Dr. José Medina: Educational Solutions. Prior to establishing the boutique consulting firm, Dr. Medina served as Research Scientist and Director of Dual Language and Bilingual Education at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) in Washington, DC. José provides dual language technical assistance, professional development, and job-embedded support to dual language programs across the United States and globally. He is a former dual language school principal and district leader who has also served as an administrator, educator, and advocate at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Dr. Medina is a co-author of the third edition and widely-used Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education and creator of the C6 Biliteracy Instructional framework, which we discuss during this interview. Dr. Medina is also a member of Ellevation's Instructional Advisory Board.  You can learn more about Dr. José Medina on his website and by following him on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. 
54:07
October 06, 2020
S5/E16: A Team Approach to Equitable EL Instruction with Juan Corona and Maribel Taboada
From Maywood District 89, IL, Director of ELs Juan Corona and Assistant Superintendent Maribel Taboada discuss building a culture of collaboration between EL specialists and content teachers, planning for a hybrid model, overcoming technology issues and more. This episode is part of our "In This Together" docuseries, where we follow the triumphs and challenges of a cross section of EL program directors as they strive to deliver equitable experiences for students this school year. You can find all episodes (video and audio) on our "In This Together" channel. You can also find free tools to help ensure your English learners and their families receive equitable access to instruction and services on our Equity in Action page. Please consider leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. This will help us continue bringing you the best topics and guests on Highest Aspirations.
39:45
September 30, 2020
S5/E15: Relationship Building and EL Instruction: We Can Do Both, with Lynmara Colón
Prince William County Director of EL Programs and Services Lynmara Colón discusses professional development, the power of productive struggle, her district's plans organize a summit to support EL education in a hybrid environment and more. This episode is part of our "In This Together" docuseries, where we follow the triumphs and challenges of a cross section of EL program directors as they strive to deliver equitable experiences for students this school year. You can find all episodes (video and audio) on our "In This Together" channel. You can also find free tools to help ensure your English learners and their families receive equitable access to instruction and services on our Equity in Action page. Please consider leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. This will help us continue bringing you the best topics and guests on Highest Aspirations.
34:58
September 28, 2020
S5/E14: Encore Episode: Co-planning, Co-teaching and Collaboration for EL Instruction with Andrea Honigsfeld and Maria G. Dove
How do we go about creating successful co-teaching and co-planning partnerships to support English learners? What are some protocols that co-teaching and co-planning pairs should have in place to help mitigate any conflicts that may arise between co-teachers? How can school leaders support and amplify the practice to maximize impact on students? We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with Andrea Honigsfeld and Maria G. Dove. Together, they have co-authored five best-selling Corwin books, including their most  recent, Coteaching for English Learners: A Guide to Collaborative Planning, Instruction, Assessment, and Reflection (2018). Andrea Honigsfeld, EdD, is Associate Dean and Professor in the Division of Education at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, New York. She directs a doctoral program in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities. Before entering the field of teacher education, she was an English-as-a-foreign-language teacher in Hungary (Grades 5–8 and adult) and an English-as-a-second-language teacher in New York City (Grades K–3 and adult). She also taught Hungarian at New York University. She was the recipient of a doctoral fellowship at St. John’s University, New York, where she conducted research on individualized instruction and learning styles. She has published extensively on working with English language learners and providing individualized instruction based on learning style preferences. She received a Fulbright Award to lecture in Iceland in the fall of 2002. In the past twelve years, she has been presenting at conferences across the United States, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates. She frequently offers staff development, primarily focusing on effective differentiated strategies and collaborative practices for English-as-a-second-language and general-education teachers. Maria G. Dove, EdD, is Associate Professor in the Division of Education at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, New York, where she teaches preservice and inservice teachers about the research and best practices for developing effective programs and school policies for English learners. Before entering the field of higher education, she worked for over thirty years as an English-as-a-second-language teacher in public school settings (Grades K–12) and in adult English language programs in Nassau County, New York. In 2010, she received the Outstanding ESOL Educator Award from New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (NYS TESOL). She frequently provides professional development for educators throughout the United States on the teaching of diverse students. She also serves as a mentor for new ESOL teachers as well as an instructional coach for general-education teachers and literacy specialists. She has published articles and book chapters on collaborative teaching practices, instructional leadership, and collaborative coaching.
48:47
September 22, 2020