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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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S2/E12: Reading and Writing, Motivation, Family Engagement and More with Larry Ferlazzo

Highest Aspirations

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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 7, 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 8, 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 1, 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 4, 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 6, 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 9, 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 3, 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 2, 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 1, 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 9, 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 2, 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 9, 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 7, 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 6, 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
S5/E13: English Learners and STEM in Remote and Hybrid Learning Environments with Dr. Stephen Fleenor
What are some of the affordances we can leverage to engage English learners in STEM classes in remote and hybrid learning environments? How might we make synchronous meetings more engaging to promote growth in content area knowledge, language skills and collaborative work? What are some tools and strategies we can use to incorporate effective visuals, manipulatives and other supports in remote environments? We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with Dr. Stephen Fleenor. Stephen is a scientist-turned-educator who is inspired by the principles of sheltered instruction and growth mindset, particularly in the service of English learners. In 2014, Stephen earned his PhD in Developmental Neurobiology and sought to empower the next generation of thinkers as a high school science teacher at a Title I school in San Antonio. He has developed innovative approaches to working with ELs and economically disadvantaged students, and has presented his ideas across various districts, as well as at regional conferences. A central component of Stephen’s pedagogy is student ownership of personal growth throughout the school year. This approach has been particularly effective in promoting language and content acquisition for ELLs, and under his leadership his department closed the gap in EL performance on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) in Science. In 2017, Stephen was awarded the Edgewood ISD District Teacher of the Year Award and the KENS5 ExCEL Award, and went on to serve as a science instructional coach for Edgewood ISD.  In addition to his PhD from Oxford, Stephen holds an M.Ed. in School Leadership from the University of the Incarnate Word and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin.  Stephen lives in San Antonio with his wife, a fellow educator. You can learn more about the work Stephen is doing by visiting Seidlitz Education's Upcoming Events page.  Also, check out his new Visual Non-Glossary website here. Finally, 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.
46:16
September 15, 2020
S5/E12: Managing Implicit Bias in EL Education with Megan Fuciarelli
What is implicit bias and what does it mean for teachers of multilingual students? How can educators take steps to recognize their own implicit biases so they can better serve students? How can weaving cultural responsiveness into curriculum and pedagogy create more opportunities for communication and collaboration? We discuss these questions and much more with Megan Fuciarelli. Megan Fuciarelli is a retired superintendent of schools with over 20 years of experience in the social justice realm. Now residing in Michigan, Fuciarelli has spent the bulk of her career in the Chicago area. As the Executive Director & Principal Consultant of US 2 , she works with a team of like-minded individuals whose primary goal is to help Unite Society through equity and inclusion work. Throughout her career, she has presented for local, state, national, and international audiences in the areas of Bias, Cultural Consciousness, Equity & Inclusion, and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. She is very proud of her work with Teaching Tolerance as a contributor and the author of the Critical Practices Webinar Series. Fuciarelli has also been featured as a TEDx Speaker discussing the idea of “When Implicit Bias Becomes Explicit”. Megan is a passionate advocate for social justice and  a continual learner - having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, a Master of Arts in Teaching & Learning degree with a concentration in Reading, a Master of Education degree with a concentration in Organizational Development & Leadership, a certification in English as a Second Language, and completed the certification program for Urban School Leadership at Harvard. Finally, 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.
44:12
September 9, 2020
S5/E11: The Power of Perseverance with Vicky Saldala of Broward County, FL
We catch up with ESOL Director Vicky Saldala to discuss Broward County's Parent University program, differentiating for the wide spectrum of English learners, leveraging staff diversity, 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.
35:42
September 8, 2020
S5/E10: "All Hands on Deck" with Juan Corona and Maribel Taboada of Maywood, IL
Director of ELs Juan Corona and Assistant Superintendent Maribel Taboada discuss implementing remote communication strategies for students and families, providing teachers with real time data for their ELs, planning for differentiated instruction 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.
27:21
September 4, 2020
S5/E09: "We Want to See Our Kids" with Lynmara Colón, Director of EL Programs and Services, Prince Willam County, VA
Lynmara Colón provides an update on differentiation, thriving in a virtual environment, learning to love new teaching strategies and more. Prince William County Public Schools is the second largest district in Virginia and serves almost 92,000 students, 25% of whom are English learners. While most students will go back to remote learning, English learners and other vulnerable student populations will be given access to some in school learning opportunities. 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.
30:55
September 2, 2020
S5/E08: Setting and Tracking Goals for English Learners in a Remote Environment with Carolyn Grenz
How does increasing efficiency through the use of technology allow for more collaboration between EL specialists and content teachers? What are some best practices for involving students in goal setting and tracking and how might we implement processes to make it happen? How can educators continue meeting with students, families and other stakeholders to document progress in a remote setting? We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with Carolyn Grenz. Carolyn currently serves as Title III Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for the Hillsboro School District in Oregon. Prior to joining the Hillsboro School District as a middle school Spanish and English learner (EL) teacher, Carolyn taught Spanish at The Dalles Middle School and English to adult immigrants at Columbia Gorge Community College. As a seasoned educator, Carolyn strives to ensure that the educational experience of ELs is future and asset-oriented, with high aspirations for success. She asserts that effective classrooms draw upon students’ internal strengths, rather than their deficits, which allows them to focus on their goals and to be equipped to navigate through complex concepts, think analytically, and communicate ideas effectively in both social and academic situations to remain competitive in our global society. If you are interested in learning more, you can email Caroyln at grenzc@hsd.k12.or.us. Finally, 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.
30:15
September 1, 2020
S5/E07: Diversity Conquers Adversity with Dr. Adrian Johnson, Superintendent of Hearne ISD, TX
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Adrian Johnson talks about how his roots as an ESL / Migrant teacher has informed his work as Superintendent of Schools at Hearne ISD, a rural district in central Texas.  Dr. Johnson and his team recently deployed “Hearne Online”, a remote learning initiative designed to serve all students in the district as they transition back into school. We talk about Hearne’s success in connecting with families, supporting teachers, empowering diversity, 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.
39:33
August 31, 2020
S5/E06: Making Remote and Hybrid Environments Work For English Learners with Dr. Karen Gregory and Dr. Gretchen Oliver
How might tried and true theories of learning help us navigate the uncertainties of remote and hybrid learning models? How can backwards design help teachers spend more time providing support and feedback to students in remote environments? How might we strike the appropriate balance between synchronous and asynchronous learning when planning interpersonal, interpretive and presentational communication activities? We discuss these questions and much more in our second conversation with Dr. Karen Gregory and Dr. Gretchen Oliver from Clarkson University in New York. We released our first interview in March 2020 as schools began closing as a result of the global pandemic. We are grateful to bring Karen and Gretchen back to find out what they have learned since then and what they are planning as they prepare new and experienced teachers to work with English learners. Gretchen Oliver is the Assistant Director of TESOL programs and an Assistant Professor in the Education Department at Clarkson University, Capital Region Campus, in Schenectady NY. She has prior experience as a K- 12 French teacher and taught English as Foreign Language in Grenoble, France. Dr. Oliver's research focuses on teaching STEM to English learners, teacher education and professional development, and ESOL-focused leadership practices. Karen Gregory is the Director of TESOL programs and an Assistant Professor in the Education Department at Clarkson University, Capital Region Campus, in Schenectady NY. She has prior experience as a K- 12 Spanish and ENL teacher. Dr. Gregory's research focuses on content instruction for English learners, teacher professional development, and whole school improvement. You can learn more about the work that Karen and Gretchen are doing by visiting the Clarkson University TESOL website.
48:10
August 25, 2020
S5/E05: The Affordances of Remote Learning with Rowena Mak, EL District Coordinator at Saddleback Valley USD, CA
EL District Coordinator Rowena Mak discusses the challenge of satisfying the needs of all families, the affordances of remote learning for students and teachers, and much more. Saddleback USD is a TK-12 school district in Southern California with almost 5,000 English learners. Schools will begin the year in a fully remote environment before giving families a choice to enroll in a hybrid model when it is safe to do so. To watch the entire "In This Together" docuseries, visit our new channel here. 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.
29:50
August 19, 2020
S5/E04: The Diverse Spectrum of English Learners with Broward County Director of Bilingual/ESOL Vicky Saldala
Bilingual / ESOL Department Director Vicky Saldala highlights the challenge of families who cannot be home to support their children's’ learning, the importance of understanding students’ needs, the new face of professional development, and more. Broward County Public Schools is the sixth largest district in the country and the second largest in Florida, with 32,500 ELs representing 147 different languages. Students will start the year with remote learning through the first quarter while the district evaluates the situation on the ground.  To watch the entire "In This Together" docuseries, visit our new channel here. 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.
37:50
August 19, 2020
S5/E03: Everyone Gets a Seat at the Table with Lynmara Colón, Director of EL Programs and Services, Prince William County, VA
Director of EL Programs and Services Lynmara Colón discusses the challenge of providing clear and effective communication among all stakeholders, the new opportunities that remote learning has provided for professional learning, and more. Prince William County Public Schools is the second largest district in Virginia and serves almost 92,000 students, 25% of whom are English learners. While most students will go back to remote learning, English learners and other vulnerable student populations will be given access to some in school learning opportunities.  To watch the entire "In This Together" docuseries, visit our new channel here. 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.
32:43
August 19, 2020
S5/E02: Start Strong, Finish Stronger with Dr. Adrian Johnson, Superintendent of Hearne ISD, TX
Dr. Adrian Johnson talks with us about providing equitable access to services and instruction for students without internet access, creating safe in-person opportunities for ELs and their families to get the information they need in their home languages, and more. Hearne ISD is located in Robertson County, TX just north of Texas A&M University. The district is 95.5 economically disadvantaged and faces unique challenges due to its rural location. Schools will start the first 4-8 weeks in a fully remote environment while monitoring the situation on the ground.  To watch the entire "In This Together" docuseries, visit our new channel here. 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.
38:52
August 19, 2020
S5/E01: Planning for Three Scenarios with ELL Director Juan Corona and Assistant Superintendent Maribel Taboada
Director of English Learner Language Learners Juan Corona and Assistant Superintendent Maribel Taboada talk with us about the challenge of maintaining strong connections with families and community, the advantages of planning for remote, hybrid, and in person scenarios, and more. They come to us from Maywood District 89, a public elementary school district outside of Chicago, IL serving 5,000 students from preschool to 8th grade. 1,400 of their students are English learners, 90% are minority, and 60% come from low income families. After planning for all three scenarios, District 89 will start the year fully remote.  To watch the entire "In This Together" docuseries, visit our new channel here. 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.
40:56
August 19, 2020
S4/E36: Special Encore Episode: Online Learning for English Learners with Dr. Gretchen Oliver and Dr. Karen Gregory
What affordances does online learning provide that traditional classes may now? How might online learning help English learners keep learning regardless of what back to school plans look like around the country? What tech tools can teachers use to help support English learners if they are not able to come to school? We discuss these issues and much more with Dr. Gretchen Oliver and Dr. Karen Gregory of Clarkson University on this special episode of Highest Aspirations. Gretchen Oliver is the Assistant Director of TESOL programs and an Assistant Professor in the Education Department at Clarkson University, Capital Region Campus, in Schenectady NY. She has prior experience as a K- 12 French teacher and taught English as Foreign Language in Grenoble, France. Dr. Oliver's research focuses on teaching STEM to English learners, teacher education and professional development, and ESOL-focused leadership practices. Karen Gregory is the Director of TESOL programs and an Assistant Professor in the Education Department at Clarkson University, Capital Region Campus, in Schenectady NY. She has prior experience as a K- 12 Spanish and ENL teacher. Dr. Gregory's research focuses on content instruction for English learners, teacher professional development, and whole school improvement. This episode was originally released on March 17, 2020.  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. 
46:15
July 21, 2020
S4/E35: Rethinking Conferences and Hierarchical Professional Development with Rebecca Raab
How have recent events changed the way educators access professional development? Are the days of giant annual conferences destined to be replaced by less formal, town hall style meetings? What does this mean for professional organizations that spend so much time planning for large conferences?  We discuss these questions and share some great reading suggestions around race, equity and language learning with Rebecca Raab. Rebecca is President of Virginia TESOL and a doctoral candidate at Virginia Tech researching the induction and mentoring experiences of new ESOL and bilingual teachers in U.S. public schools. Her passion is seeking innovative ways to support teachers and reduce attrition in the ESOL/bilingual field. As a former K-12 ESOL teacher in Virginia and North Carolina, she struggled to find support as an itinerant teacher and ultimately left the field (twice). You can read about her attrition story here: A Statistic’s Five Years. These challenges led her to where she is today—supporting teachers. To contact Rebecca, email her at rebecca.raab@vt.edu. For more information about VATESOL, please visit www.vatesol.com or email vatesol@gmail.com. Also, check out their blog, VATESOL Together. If you are interested in joining their Summer Book Club (they are reading The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez), sign up here: bit.ly/vatesolreads. Be sure to stay in touch with VATESOL on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to participate in their exciting upcoming events!
48:03
July 7, 2020
S4/E34: Beyond Compliance: How Streamlining Workflows Helps Teachers Spend More Time With Students, with Thomas Johnson
How is the relationship between EL Specialists and content teachers similar to that of a driver and a mechanic? Why is it so important to question old habits when it comes to completing compliance-related tasks? What are some ways we can increase collaboration and capacity while also streamlining workflows like meetings and monitoring forms?  We discuss these questions and much more with Thomas Johnson, ELL Coordinator at Fredericksburg City Schools in Virginia. Thomas and his team have discovered some great ways to maximize efficiency so they can spend more time working with students and their families. They hope to continue improving workflows to help increase impact on their English learners using the many lessons learned during the time that schools were closed due to the Covid-19. You can connect with Thomas by sending him an email at tjohnson@cityschools.com. For more information and free resources to help engage English learners and their families from wherever they are, visit Ellevation Distance Learning at distance.ellevationeducation.com.
39:32
June 23, 2020
S4/E33: Asset Based Learning Through a Pandemic: A Student's Perspective with Ellevation Scholarship Winner Isabella De Souza
This episode is part of a series profiling our Ellevation Take the Pledge Scholarship winners. Each year, we award five $2,000 scholarships to deserving English learners so they can pursue a higher education. One of this year’s winners is Isabella De Souza, a graduating senior from Milford, Massachusetts. Isabella will be studying nursing and Spanish at the University of Massachusetts Lowell this fall. She is passionate about being multilingual, an asset which she hopes to use to help her community through a career in medicine. During our conversation, Isabella talks about what it was like to learn English in school after growing up in a household that only spoke Portuguese, why some English learners like her gravitate to STEM courses, what an asset-based approach to teaching looks like from the student perspective, how she navigated being a senior during the pandemic, and more. Isabella’s responses to our questions serve to remind us that we should always look to our students when designing learning experiences, whether they are remote, blended, or in person. It is easy to see why she was selected as one of our 2020 scholarship winners. For more information and free resources to help engage English learners and their families from wherever they are, visit Ellevation Distance Learning here: https://distance.ellevationeducation.com/
39:51
June 16, 2020
S4/E32: Reimagining EL Education: Professional Learning for Teachers of ELs in a New Educational Landscape with Christina Lo
What affordances does a forced entry into virtual learning offer for professional development? How can professional learning opportunities focused on language and content also integrate family engagement, social-emotional learning and more? How might districts maintain strong learning experiences for teachers while also facing budget cuts as a result of the pandemic? We discuss these questions and much more with Christina Lo. Christina is an energizing, reflective leader who serves with passion and dedication. As an educator and central office leader, she brings more than 14 years of experience to the profession. Currently serving as the Supervisor of English Learner Instruction for Prince William County Public Schools, she supports school administrators and teachers as they work with culturally and linguistically diverse students. Christina holds a master’s degree in intercultural studies and TESOL with endorsements in ESL, Spanish and administration. She is passionate about curating and providing high quality professional development that builds the capacity of each participant, no matter their title or role. For more information and free resources to help engage English learners and their families from wherever they are, visit Ellevation Distance Learning here: https://distance.ellevationeducation.com/
37:47
June 9, 2020
S4/E31: Reimagining EL Education: Leveraging Our Shared Experiences to Improve the Future of EL Education with Laura Grisso
How might partnerships with families, community organizations, and city officials create more equitable learning opportunities for English learners? Why is it so important for schools to understand the varied experiences of remote learning for students and their families? How can we leverage this opportunity to offer more relevant and flexible professional learning opportunities for teachers?  We discuss these questions and more in our conversation with Laura Grisso, Executive Director of Language and Cultural Services at Tulsa Public Schools in Oklahoma. In her current position, she works with the local schools and community leaders to support the growing population of diverse students and families around the city, including English learners, immigrant and refugee students, multilingual students and Native American students.  In Tulsa Public Schools, Grisso led the implementation of the first one-way dual language classes in the state of Oklahoma. In November 2013, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Bilingual Education Hall of Fame.  Grisso has also served as the National Liaison and Vice-President of the Oklahoma Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages association and locally with the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations (COHO) and the Greater Tulsa Hispanic Affairs Commission education committee.  Grisso is passionate about social justice and working collaboratively to ensure educational equity for diverse student groups. She is grounded in her belief that all students bring unique talents and perspectives to the learning experience. She prioritizes language and culture and believes those are the keys to the core of self and must be valued in the learning community. For more information and free resources to help engage English learners and their families from wherever they are, visit the Ellevation Distance Learning Website here.
28:47
May 26, 2020
S4/E30: Reimagining EL Education: Professional Learning and Family Engagement to Support the Whole Child with Lynmara Colón
What can districts do to support educators with relevant professional learning to help mitigate learning loss associated with school closures?  Why might family engagement be more important than ever and what can schools do to establish and strengthen relationships? How do we use this experience to emphasize the importance of taking a true whole child approach?  We discuss these questions and much more with Lynmara Colón, Director of English Learners at Prince Williams County Public Schools, VA. Lynn also brings the perspective of a teacher, assistant principal, and principal—positions she has held since joining education in 2003. As principal of an elementary school in 2014, she served over 1,000 students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade and was able to increase reading engagement by leading a culture of literacy, personalized learning, and collaborative learning teams.   This is Lynn's second appearance on the Highest Aspirations podcast. You can find her first episode titled "Run Schools Like Disney" here. You can find more information on the how Prince Williams County Schools is supporting home learning on this comprehensive website. For more information and free resources to help engage English learners and their families from wherever they are, visit the Ellevation Distance Learning Website here.
31:46
May 19, 2020
S4/E29: Reimagining EL Education Series: Sarah Ottow on Mindset, Quality vs. Quantity, Backward Design, and More
How might school closures result in a shift toward quality rather than quantity when educating our English learners and how can we sustain that effort moving forward? Why should empathy-building and perspective-taking be first and foremost when designing learning experiences for vulnerable student populations? How might we elevate the role of the EL Specialist while also bringing content teachers on board to serve English learners and their families? We discuss these questions and more on this edition of our Reimagining EL Education series, featuring Sarah Ottow, Founder and Director of Confianza. Sarah has over twenty years of experience in teaching, training, and coaching for English language learner success. As a professional development specialist, her work focuses on improving cultural understanding, communication, and collaboration. She enjoys working in public and private schools, non-profit organizations, and corporations across the US and internationally, teaching learners from pre-K to adults. Sarah founded Confianza in 2015.  Sarah is also the author of The Language Lens for Content Classrooms: A Guide for K-12 Educators of English and Academic Language Learners published by Learning Sciences International. You can find a variety of useful articles and blog posts on Confianza's blog. For more information and free resources to help engage English learners and their families from wherever they are, visit our Ellevation Distance Learning website.
32:17
May 12, 2020
S4/E28: Reimagining EL Education Series: Conor Williams on the Power of a True Whole Child Approach and More
On this episode of our Reimagining EL Education series, we reconnect with our friend Conor Willams of The Century Foundation to talk about finding a path toward a better future for English learners as a result of this crisis. While he acknowledges that no one has all the answers, Conor provides some powerful insight about the importance of taking a whole child approach to distance and brick and mortar education, the challenge of linguistic isolation as a result of social distancing, the value of strong social relationships, and more.  In response to the many questions he was fielding from educators, advocates, and other stakeholders, Conor started an EL Virtual Learning online community of practice for educators, administrators, researchers, and policymakers to share ideas and best practices for supporting English Learners at a moment when many schools are closing.  If you are interested in joining the forum, please contact Conor via email at williams@tcf.org. You can also follow him on Twitter at @conorpwilliams and find much of his work in The 74 Million.  For more information and free resources to help engage English learners and their families from wherever they are, visit the Ellevation Distance Learning website.
32:55
May 6, 2020
S4/E27: Reimagining EL Education Series: Lori Villanueva - Superintendent of Coalinga-Huron Unified School District, CA
On this edition of our Reimagining EL Education series, we talk with Lori Villanueva, Superintendent of Coalinga-Huron Unified School District in California's Central Valley.  She and her staff created an inspirational music video to share with students and families during school closures. The video has had a resounding effect on boosting morale, making connections, and keeping the lines of communication open in the school community. We also discuss what the future of EL education might look like in the face of learning loss, budget constraints, and technology challenges. Superintendent Villanueva points to strengthening partnerships with families and meeting students where they are as key elements of success moving forward.  For more information and free resources to help engage English learners and their families from wherever they are, visit our Ellevation Distance Learning website. 
22:01
April 29, 2020
S4/E26: The Value of Transparency, Trust, and Community During the Pandemic and Beyond with Daniela Anello
On this edition of our Look for the Helpers series, we bring in Daniela Anello, Head of School at DC Public Charter School. Daniela talks about how her school is maintaining communication with the community they serve during the pandemic.  She also highlights why it is so important to embrace vulnerability and learn from mistakes during this time. Finally, she describes why the tenets of transparency, trust, and community are so important as we move through this crisis and beyond. You can find all of the resources we mention in the episode on our Look for the Helpers short video series. If you'd like to join us on our Look for the Helpers series to share your story with the ELL Community, go to bit.ly/ELLHelper. For more information and free resources to help engage multilingual learners from wherever they are, visit Ellevation Distance Learning.
27:02
April 17, 2020
S4/E25: Connecting with English Learners Visually and Synchronously with EL Specialist Teri Fisch
On this edition of our Look for the Helpers series, we speak with Teri Fisch, an EL Specialist in Homer, Illinois. Teri talks with us about her plans to provide more visual interactions with her students via Zoom and other tools. We also discuss what the future may hold for EL educators, students, and families in her district and beyond as we move past this school closures. Finally, Teri highlights some of the positives she is observing - especially when it comes to independent student writing.   You can find all of the resources we mention in the episode on our Look for the Helpers short video series. If you'd like to join us on our Look for the Helpers series to share your story with the ELL Community, go to bit.ly/ELLHelper. For more information and free resources to help engage multilingual learners from wherever they are, visit Ellevation Distance Learning.
17:02
April 16, 2020
S4/E24: A Two Tier Approach to Distance Learning with Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Ruben Diaz
On this edition of our Look for the Helpers series, we speak with Ruben Diaz, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at Parlier Unified School District, a rural community in the Central Valley of California. Parlier is an agricultural community with a high percentage of English learners. During our conversation, Ruben talks about why his district has taken a 2 tier approach to roll out distance learning, beginning with reading and writing before going to speaking and listening. We also highlight how Parlier created an efficient drive-through device pick up system, complete with translated agreement contracts and bar codes to scan letters and devices. Finally, we discuss how this disruption may cause positive changes in education moving forward. You can find all of the resources we mention in the episode on our Look for the Helpers short video series. If you'd like to join us on our Look for the Helpers series to share your story with the ELL Community, go to bit.ly/ELLHelper. For more information and free resources to help engage multilingual learners from wherever they are, visit Ellevation Distance Learning.
24:30
April 13, 2020
S4/E23: Interactive Conversations for ELs in Distance Learning Environments and More with Sara Hamerla
On this edition of our Look for the Helpers series, we bring in Sara Hamerla, Administrator of English Language Learners at Waltham Pubic Schools, just outside Boston, Massachusetts. During our conversation, we talk about how we might overcome challenges around keeping students engaged in conversations in a distance learning environment, how we might avoid the possibility of an extended summer slide for English learners, why this might be a good time for PD, and more. You can find all of the resources we mention in the episode on our Look for the Helpers short video series. If you'd like to join us on our Look for the Helpers series to share your story with the ELL Community, go to bit.ly/ELLHelper. For more information and free resources to help engage multilingual learners from wherever they are, visit Ellevation Distance Learning.
27:41
April 10, 2020
S4/E22: Distance Learning for English Learners in Rural Districts with Richele Dunavent
On this edition of our Look for the Helpers series, we speak with Richele Dunavent, an ELL Specialist in Henderson County, North Carolina. Henderson County is a rural district with a high population of English learners speaking a wide variety of languages. We discuss how Richele’s school is providing WiFi access, devices, and instructional materials to their English learners with an eye toward equity. We also highlight some positive developments, like how this crisis has resulted in increased communication with families and school- based teams. You can find all of the resources we mention in the episode on our Look for the Helpers short video series. If you'd like to join us on our Look for the Helpers series to share your story with the ELL Community, go to bit.ly/ELLHelper.   For more information and free resources to help engage multilingual learners from wherever they are, visit Ellevation Distance Learning.
20:58
April 9, 2020
S4/E21: Engaging English Learners with Comprehension Activities at Home with Hugo Cancel
On this edition of our "Look for the Helpers" series, we speak with Hugo Cancel, a paraprofessional at Spring Lake Elementary School in Florida. Recognizing that paper-based packets that were being sent home during school closures were a good start, but not quite adequate to help students improve listening comprehension skills, Hugo began recording lessons and uploading them to YouTube. He has begun sending the videos directly to families with a private link so they can access the instructional materials they need. Hugo lives in the community he serves, and his passion for family and community engagement fuels the learning opportunities he is creating for his students during this crisis. Hugo was also profiled for his outstanding work in the Orange observer "Influencer of the Week" series. You can find that article here. For more information and free resources to help engage multilingual learners from wherever they are, visit Ellevation Distance Learning. If you'd like to join us on our Look for the Helpers series to share your story with fellow educators, go to bit.ly/ELLHelper.  You can find all of the resources we mention in the episode on our Look for the Helpers short video series.
14:31
April 7, 2020
S4/E20: Supporting Multilingual Learners in Bilingual Content Classes with Juan Arroyo
On this edition of our "Look for the Helpers" series, we catch up with Juan Arroyo, a middle school bilingual math teacher in Union City, New Jersey. We talk about how Mr. Arroyo and others are working to provide equitable learning opportunities to all students, regardless of their language and socioeconomic status. We also highlight tools and strategies to engage students in blended and online learning activities that will continue to be useful, even when schools re-open. For more information and free resources to help engage multilingual learners from wherever they are, visit Ellevation Distance Learning.  If you'd like to join us on our Look for the Helpers series to share your story with fellow educators, go to bit.ly/ELLHelper.  You can find all of the resources we mention in the episode on our Look for the Helpers short video series.
18:58
April 6, 2020
S4/E19: Sharing Resources While Adapting to Changes with Valentina Gonzalez
On this edition of our Look for the Helpers series, we bring in Valentina Gonzalez to discuss the best ways to share resources and information with fellow educators during school closures. We also talk about the value of constantly pivoting as things change so quickly and embracing our vulnerability as we are forced to try new ideas. If you'd like to join us on the Look for the Helpers series to share your story with fellow educators, go to bit.ly/ELLHelper. You can find all of the resources we mention in this episode and others on our Look for the Helpers short video series.  Valentina is an educational consultant working with educators across the nation to support English learners. She works with schools and districts to provide professional learning experiences that are tailored to meet the needs of the participants. Valentina specializes in creating presentations that are engaging and interactive. Valentina started her journey as an educator in 1997 as a third grade language arts teacher in Katy, Texas. She has served as an educator in many capacities since then including teaching second, third, and fourth grades. After leaving the classroom, she worked as an ESL Instructional Support Specialty Teacher on her campus serving and co-teaching in first-fifth grade classrooms. As a district leader, she has served as a facilitator for campuses and as a professional development specialist. Currently, Valentina shares her time a delivering professional development and writing.
18:03
April 2, 2020
S4/E18: Providing Newcomers with Equitable Access to Services During School Closures with Elizabeth Leone
On this episode of our Look for the Helpers series, we talk with Elizabeth Leone about what she is doing through her school and community to ensure her most vulnerable students and their families have access to critical educational services. We also discuss why access to technology at home is so important to maintain educational equity, particularly for the newcomers who Elizabeth serves.  If you'd like to join us on our Look for the Helpers series to share your story with fellow educators, go to bit.ly/ELLHelper.  You can find all of the resources we mention in the episode on our Look for the Helpers short video series. Elizabeth Leone 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. 
18:26
April 1, 2020
S4/E17: VirtuEL and Other Flexible Professional Learning Opportunities for EL Educators with Carol Salva and Tan Huynh
On this episode of our Look for the Helpers series, we talk with Carol Salva and Tan Huynh about how educators can access high quality professional development from wherever they are while schools remain closed. We highlight VirtuEL, a free annual online conference for teachers of language learners featuring live breakout sessions, panels and keynote speakers. Carol and Tan have facilitated VirtuEL for the last three years and make all content available to anyone interested in using it.  During our interview, Carol and Tan also announce this year's VirtuEL date and keynote speaker! If you'd like to join us on our Look for the Helpers series to provide information or stories to fellow educators, go to bit.ly/ELLHelper.  You can find all of the resources we mention in the episode on our Look for the Helpers short video series.
34:05
March 31, 2020
S4/E16: Adapting to Changing Learning Environments with Ellevation Cofounders Jordan Meranus and Teddy Rice
We catch up with Ellevation's cofounders Jordan Meranus and Teddy Rice to talk about the challenges they are seeing, how Ellevation is adapting to best serve English learners, and what long-term school closures mean for educational equity. If you'd like to share your story on Highest Apirations, go to bit.ly/ELLHelper. You can find more resources on our Look for the Helpers short video series. 
14:32
March 30, 2020
S4/E15: Providing Equitable Support to ELs and Families During School Closures with Katie Frances
How might we provide equitable instructional resources and services to English learners and their families? What can we do to support families who may not have internet access or adequate devices? What are some tools that teachers can use to keep English learners engaged? We discuss these questions and more with Katie Frances. Katie is a certified EL teacher in Fayette County, KY. She spent her first 8 years as a mainstream classroom teacher working with diverse groups of students. She currently teaches at Northern Elementary School where she and her teammate Jamie Combs service over 150 English Language Learners.  Follow Katie on Twitter here.  
27:18
March 27, 2020
S4/E14: Supporting ELs and Families Through School Closures in Rural Communities with Kelly Aldinger
How do we ensure that English learners and their families in rural communities have access to services that schools normally provide? What are educators doing to overcome the challenge of providing students with food when transportation is a challenge? How are schools addressing equity issues in areas where internet and device access is not widely available? We discuss these questions and more in our conversation with Kelly Aldinger. Kelly is a K-3 English as a New Language teacher in a small, rural district called Elba Central Schools, halfway between Rochester and Buffalo, NY.  She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching ESOL from Clarkson University  Kelly is a a passionate advocate for educational equity and inclusion and would love to connect with others who are similarly motivated!  Find her on Twitter! This episode is part of the Highest Aspirations "Look for the Helpers" series. If you'd like to share your story, go to bit.ly/ELLHelper. You can access all the resources that Kelly mentioned on out Look for the Helpers channel.
16:04
March 26, 2020
S4/E13: Actionable Tips on Supporting Teachers and Students Through School Closures with Dr. Yolanda Rios and Gretta Rogne
How can teachers and tech staff continue to collaborate to support English learners while schools are closed? Why might this be a good time for teacher professional development and how might schools implement systems to support it? What are some key resources that educators can use right now to help support their English learners? We discuss these questions and more with Dr. Yolanda Rios and Gretta Rogne of New Caney ISD in Texas. Dr. Rios has over 14 years experience in bilingual education and currently serves the New Caney ISD community as the Director of Multilingual by providing services for students and families of English Learners and Immigrants/Migrant students. This role has allowed her to provide educational access to students who are learning English by providing resources and training teachers on strategies to help their students succeed.  Gretta Rogne is the Director of Digital Learning. Over the course of her 13 year career, she has worked as a classroom teacher as well other educational roles. Her role is critical to support teachers and students as they transition to remote learning environments. This episode is part of the Highest Aspirations "Look for the Helpers" series. If you'd like to share your story, go to bit.ly/ELLHelper.
26:20
March 25, 2020
S4/E12: Lessons on Remote Learning From Colleagues Abroad with Tan Huynh
What can we learn about online learning from EL educators who have been doing it for over 8 weeks now? Why is backwards planning so important when designing online lessons? How might we go about striking the appropriate balance between synchronous and asynchronous strategies to ensure equitable access to instruction?  We discuss these questions and much more with Tan Huynh. Tan (@TanELLclassroom) 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 appeared on the podcast to discus collaboration with content teachers in Season 2 - you can find that episode here.
22:47
March 24, 2020
S4/E11: Online Instruction Tips for ELs and More with Vanessa Colón
This episode is part of our "Look for the Helpers" series. If you'd like to share your story, take 2 minutes to fill out this form.  What are some strategies and resources teachers can use right now to help reach English learners while schools are closed? How might we sustain communication with teachers, families, and other stakeholders? Are there any silver linings to this very difficult situation? We discuss these questions and much more with Vanessa Colón, EL Coordinator at International Leadership Texas. Over the course of her 16 years in education, Vanessa has served English Learners as a bilingual teacher, district ELL specialist, campus administrator, and district EL coordinator. As life-long learner, she is currently pursuing a doctoral degree from Texas A & M – Commerce in Supervision, Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in Bilingual Education. As an EL advocate, she has presented at numerous local and state conferences, such as BEAM and TexTESOL. Vanessa Colón is also a contributing author in the Handbook of Research on Pedagogies and Cultural Considerations for Young English Language Learners. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her two children & husband and spending quality time with family, friends & a good book or podcast! During our 18 minute conversation, Vanessa shared some great resources. You can access all the links and see them in action on this 4 minute video.
20:12
March 23, 2020
S4/E10: "Look for the Helpers" with Andrea Barnett and Laurie Johnson from Springdale Public Schools, AR
This is the first episode of our “Look for the Helpers” series on the impact of coronavirus related school closures on English learners. During this challenging time, we believe it is more important than ever to amplify educators’ voices. For that reason, we are inviting anyone who works with English learners to share their stories on Highest Aspirations. Whether you have tips on keeping students and their families engaged, minimizing the social or academic impacts of social distancing, providing food and other necessities to vulnerable populations, or anything else, we want to hear from you. To participate, just go to bit.ly/ELLHelper, take 2 minutes to fill out the form, and we’ll get back to you to set up a time to talk. On our first episode of “Look for the Helpers”, we talk with Laurie Johnson and Andrea Barnett from Helen Tyson Middle School in Springdale, Arkansas. Springdale has a large ELL population and serves mostly Spanish and Marshallese-speaking ELL families.  With Marshallese being a language that does not have much in the way of translation support, Springdale’s English Language Development teachers, Instructional Facilitators, and Specialists are going above and beyond to help students and families who may be severely affected by social distancing. Feel free to contact Andrea and/or Laurie by email if you would like to learn more about what they are doing... abarnett@sdale.org ljohnson5@sdale.org
20:14
March 18, 2020
S4/E9: Reading Refuges - Curating Culturally Relevant Books for English Learners and Their Families with Hermenegildo Paulo
Why is reading culturally relevant books such an important part of language acquisition? What can educators do to make sure students have access to relevant and engaging reading materials - both at home and at school? How can providing access to books for immigrant families help promote educational equity?  We discuss these questions and much more with Hermenegildo Paulo, an inspirational educator and recent English Learner now working in Portland Public Schools in Maine. An educator and English Language Learner himself, Mr. Paulo cares deeply about overcoming inequities that impact the English Language Learner student population and their families. A native of Angola, Mr. Paulo is a passionate math educator who instructed students in kindergarten through college in classrooms of sometimes more than 80 students.  During his decade of math instructional experience in Angola, he strived to use best practice and initiate new programs to develop supportive relationships with his students and their families. Upon moving to the US, Mr. Paulo knew that his only way back into a classroom was through proficiency in English, a language that he did not speak. Starting in early 2017, he worked tirelessly to learn English, and found himself back in a classroom less than a year after moving across the world. Mr. Paulo holds a post-graduate certificate in Education Management from the Catholic University of Brasilia and a Bachelor's in Math Education from Instituto Superior de Ciências da Educação de Luanda in Angola.  Now he works supporting English Language Learners and their families as a Language Acquisition Technician and Interpreter at Reiche School in Portland, ME. He is excited to share information about his new program, Reading Refuges, which helps overcome home literacy inequity. Mr. Paulo works with students and their families to curate a home library, complete with first language and English books. Books are then placed into storage crates, with a seat on top of them, so children have a portable, comfortable place to enjoy a good book at home.
46:46
March 10, 2020
S4/E8: Educator of the Month Series with Dr. Geniene Delahunty of Boone County Schools, KY
How can Newcomer Academies help immigrant students get off to a good start in on their academic journeys? Why is community and family engagement so important and how can educators implement strategies that work? How do we go about streamlining EL programs while also mitigating concerns around change management? We discuss these questions and in the first in a series of episodes featuring Ellevation Educators of the Month, an award program we kicked off on October of 2019 to recognize and celebrate educators who go above and beyond in supporting the needs of their multilingual students. In this episode, we speak with Dr. Geniene Delahunty of Boone County Schools in Kentucky. Geniene was nominated by her colleague Kathy Hammonds, who is also featured in this episode. Dr. Geniene Delahunty is the Director of Language Learners at Boone County Schools, KY. Geniene has been working in education for 18 years and is still as passionate about serving the needs of students as she was on day 1. Being born and raised in South Africa lends a unique perspective to her life and educational career. She is dedicated to equity in education, and addressing differences - not barriers (for example ‘language’). Active on Twitter (@geniened) to connect with other educators and community leaders, Geniene is always eager to learn. Geniene and her husband adopted 4 boys from Taiwan (at ages 7, 10, 12 and 13). W