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.
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.
S9/E9: Collaborative Support for Multilingual Learners with Disabilities with Dr. Sara Kangas
This interview is episode 9 from Season 9 of Highest Aspirations, a podcast from Ellevation where we engage in important conversations about the most rapidly growing student demographic in the United States - English Language Learners. What impacts have we seen on recent policy changes to reclassification or exiting of ELs with disabilities? How can schools prioritize collaboration and improve their current processes for determining reclassification for SPED ELs? What strategies can we use to ensure that these students are integrated into general education classrooms without compromising on learning in a supportive, language rich environment? We discuss these questions and much more with Dr. Sara Kangas, who returns to HA after joining us back in 2018 to discuss how schools are accommodating English Learners with disabilities and the impacts that EL and disability status have on reclassification or exiting. We sat down to catch up with Dr. Kangas and learn about the latest challenges facing students and how schools can employ a collaborative approach in addressing inequities. Dr. Sara Kangas is an associate professor in the College of Education at Lehigh University. She is an applied linguist whose research focuses on the school-age population of multilingual learners (MLs) with disabilities. Using ethnography and interpretive policy analysis, Dr. Kangas investigates opportunity to learn for MLs with disabilities, with particular attention to the ways in which education policies, school structures, and ideologies affect their everyday learning experiences. Grounded in interpretivist and critical frameworks, her research seeks to promote social justice through advocating and expanding the learning opportunities and educational rights of MLs with disabilities. Dr. Kangas has published in top-tier journals such as the American Educational Research Journal, Teaching and Teacher Education, and TESOL Quarterly, among others. Her scholarship has received the James E. Alatis Prize (2018), TESOL Award for Distinguished Research (2015), and the Wilga Rivers Memorial Graduate Student Award (2015). Dr. Kangas earned her Ph.D. in Education with a concentration in applied linguistics at Temple University. Subscribe to the show here: https://open.spotify.com/show/0W4CYdurgYRIwFGif3H6Qk For additional episodes, blog posts and free resources relating to multilingual education, visit our community page: https://ellevationeducation.com/ell-community. Visit our EL Community page for episode resources, related content and more.
November 29, 2022
S9/E8: How to Cultivate a Sense of Belonging for Immigrant-origin Students with Jessica Lander
What are the essential elements of success for learning communities to support immigrant students? How can incorporating storytelling into the classroom be used to build empathy and understanding for both students and educators? What are examples of innovative programs or collaborative approaches that are successfully improving outcomes for newcomers and immigrant students? We discuss these questions and much more with Jessica Lander. Jessica Lander is an award-winning teacher, writer and author. She teaches history and civics to recent immigrant students in a Massachusetts public high school and has won numerous awards for her teaching, including being named a Top 50 Finalist for the Global Teacher Prize in 2021, presented by the Varkey Foundation and being named a MA Teacher of the Year Finalist in 2022, presented by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Jessica writes frequently about education policy and teaching. She is the author of Making Americans: Stories of Historic Struggles, New Ideas, and Inspiration in Immigrant Education, a coauthor of Powerful Partnerships: A Teacher’s Guide to Engaging Families for Student Success and the author of Driving Backwards. Download the episode transcript here. Subscribe to the show here: https://open.spotify.com/show/0W4CYdurgYRIwFGif3H6Qk For additional episodes, blog posts and free resources relating to multilingual education, visit our community page: https://ellevationeducation.com/ell-community.
November 15, 2022
S9/E7: Giving Teachers What They Need to Support Multilingual Learners with Renae Skarin
What challenges are teachers facing with the curriculum often provided by their district regarding multilingual learner instruction? What role do stakeholders such as content creators, educational leaders, and community advocates play in improving curriculum? Where are we already seeing positive changes in inclusive curriculum and how can we replicate them in other states and districts? We discuss these questions and much more with Renae Skarin, Renae Skarin is senior director, content, at the English Learners Success Forum, a collaboration of researchers, teachers, district leaders, and funders working to improve the quality and accessibility of instructional materials for English learners. She works with leading educational experts to design and implement a process for reviewing and providing feedback to curriculum developers on the strength of supports for ELs. Prior to joining the ELSF, she worked at Understanding Language, Stanford University, where she was a researcher, professional developer, curriculum developer, and project manager for projects specializing in issues of equity and accessibility for diverse learners and has a strong background in second language teaching and teacher education both in the U.S. and abroad. Download the episode transcript here. Subscribe to the show here: https://open.spotify.com/show/0W4CYdurgYRIwFGif3H6Qk For additional episodes, blog posts and free resources relating to multilingual education, visit our community page: https://ellevationeducation.com/ell-community. Visit our EL Community page for episode resources, related content and more.
November 03, 2022
S9/E6: Ensuring Refugees and Newcomers Receive the Education They Deserve with Jo Napolitano
What are some flawed perceptions of immigrant and refugee students and how can these impact the education they receive? What policies or district practices have been barriers to newcomer or immigrant students receiving the full extent of education promised to them by law? How is “moving students through” the education system without adequate support or learning such a major missed opportunity for both them and their communities? We discuss these questions and more with the author of “The School I Deserve” Jo Napolitano, who spent nearly two decades reporting for The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Newsday before winning a Spencer Education Fellowship to Columbia University in 2016 in support of her reporting on immigrant youth. Her first book, The School I Deserve: Six Young Refugees and Their Fight for Equality in America, will be published by Beacon Press in Spring 2021. Napolitano has reported on many topics throughout her award-winning career, including crime and science. But education remains her primary focus, and for good reason: It was the only means through which she would escape poverty. Born in Bogota, Colombia, Napolitano was abandoned at a bus stop by her birthmother when she was just a day old. Placed in an orphanage, she nearly died of starvation before she was adopted by a blue-collar family from New York. She was raised by a single parent and is a first-generation college graduate having earned her bachelors from Medill at Northwestern University. She believes no child’s life should be left to chance. Download the episode transcript here. Subscribe to the show here: https://open.spotify.com/show/0W4CYdurgYRIwFGif3H6Qk For additional episodes, blog posts and free resources relating to multilingual education, visit our community page: https://ellevationeducation.com/ell-community. Visit our EL Community page for episode resources, related content and more.
October 18, 2022
S9/E5: Using ESSER Funds to Support Multilingual Learners with Rosario Quiroz Villareal and Cici Matheny
What parameters do districts have for spending ARP ESSER funds, specifically relating to multilingual learners? How are some districts already using these funds to offer high impact supports for their language learners? What guidance can we offer educators who want to advocate for their district to include and even prioritize this population of students in their ESSER fund spending plans? We discuss these questions and more with Director of Policy and Advocacy Rosario Quiroz Villareal and Policy Analyst Cici Matheny of TNTP. As you’ll here in our conversation, rosario and Cici have spent a lot of time learning about best practices for using ESSER funds and they have a lot of valuable information to share. Rosario Quiroz Villarreal is director of policy and advocacy focused on multilingual learners and immigrant students at TNTP, an organization with the mission of ending the injustice of educational inequality by providing excellent teachers to the students who need them most and by advancing policies and practices that ensure effective teaching in every classroom. Rosario got her start in policy through Next100, a startup think tank created for—and by—the next generation of policy leaders. Her orientation to education started with multilingual learners, as a bilingual educator in Texas and New York, and as a multilingual learner herself. Cici Matheny is a policy analyst at TNTP and holds a master’s of public administration from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College, City University of New York. She worked with middle, high school and college students for eight years at a sports-based afterschool program in New York City before pivoting to education policy. At TNTP, she researches policy issues across the country impacting the teacher workforce and student outcomes in the wake of the pandemic. Subscribe to the show here: https://open.spotify.com/show/0W4CYdurgYRIwFGif3H6Qk For additional episodes, blog posts and free resources relating to multilingual education, visit our community page: https://ellevationeducation.com/ell-community. Visit our EL Community page for episode resources, related content and more.
October 04, 2022
S9/E4: Unpacking the Relationship Between Literacy and Math with Diane Kue
What does research show about the importance of literacy skills when solving math and specifically word problems? How can educators prioritize and build in academic conversations into their classroom routines? What can teachers do to marry math and language so that multilingual learners can engage with the content more deeply? We discuss these questions and much more with Diane Kue, an educational author, speaker, and consultant with eighteen years of teaching and instructional leadership experience. Her new book, Solved: A Teacher’s Guide to Making Word Problems Comprehensible applies practical, research-supported, strategic instructional approaches to equipping learners with life-long skills applicable beyond the classroom. She has presented locally to school campuses and districts, regionally for ESC and TexTESOL, and nationally for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. To download the full episode transcript, click here. Visit our EL Community page for episode resources, related content and more.
September 20, 2022
S9/E3: Implementing Sustainable Professional Development with Leticia Trower
What are some positive outcomes from the uptick in Virtual PD that came out of the pandemic? How can administrators roll out professional development in a way that is both sustainable and sustained? In what ways can educators take an asset-based approach in how they speak about their students, specifically multilingual learners? We discuss these questions and much more with Leticia Trower. Leticia has been passionate about language her entire life. She began her career in education as an elementary ESL teacher, and the majority of her work over the last twenty years has focused on language learners, professional learning for educators, and/or equity. She is currently Director of Professional Learning at Margarita Calderón & Associates, and a doctoral candidate in the Diversity and Equity in Education program at the University of Illinois. Her research interests include the impact of professional development in K-12 schools and the relationship between teachers’ language, beliefs, and practices. Find the episode transcript here. For all of our community blog posts, podcasts, and additional resources visit our EL Community page.
September 06, 2022
S9/Bonus Episode: Meet Yerahm and Bryan, Two Recipients of the 2022 Ellevation Scholarship
This interview is a bonus episode from Season 9 of Highest Aspirations, a podcast from Ellevation where we engage in important conversations about the most rapidly growing student demographic in the United States - English Language Learners. We got a chance to speak with Bryan Fernandez and Yerahm Hong, two recipients of the 2022 Ellevation Scholarship. Both of these students were enrolled in an EL program at some point during their K-12 education, and are currently freshmen at USC and UPenn, respectively. On this episode, we will highlight some experiences they had throughout their educational journeys to get to this point, and what advice they would give educators of multilingual learners. Subscribe to the show here: https://open.spotify.com/show/0W4CYdurgYRIwFGif3H6Qk For additional episodes, blog posts and free resources relating to multilingual education, visit our community page: https://ellevationeducation.com/ell-community. Visit our EL Community page for episode resources, related content and more.
August 30, 2022
S9/E2: Embracing Spanglish as Translanguaging in the Classroom with Alexandra Medrano
How can educators shift their practice from tearing down students for translanguaging or using “Spanglish” to building this up? How can tactics like co-teaching and professional learning opportunities be leveraged to support multilingual students and create more equitable classrooms? What can educators do to incorporate their students’ entire linguistic repertoire and validate their experiences in the classroom to build confidence? Spanglish has historically been discouraged in both English and Spanish classrooms across the US. However, by discrediting this blended language we are not allowing students to use their entire linguistic repertoire. Not only is Spanglish, which is the blending of word parts from both Spanish and English, a significant part of many heritage Spanish speaking students’ identities, it is a valuable form of translanguaging. To explore this topic in depth, we spoke with Alexandra Medrano, a teacher in Colorado who shares her journey from discouraging to celebrating Spanglish in her classroom. She also highlights other strategies she uses to create a more supportive and welcoming learning environment. Alexandra (Alex) Medrano was a founding team member of DSST: Conservatory Green High School, a public charter school in North East Denver. The school is now in its fifth year, and her role has changed from founding Spanish teacher to Senior Academy Dean of Culture and instructional coach. For the last three years, she was the campus Multilinigual Education program coordinator, ensuring that emerging bilinguals receive effective instruction in their content courses by monitoring English proficiency data, analyzing gaps between emerging bilingual and monolingual students, and leading professional development to staff about the best practices to support emerging bilinguals. Additionally, she co-taught English language development integrated history courses, with explicit language instruction. Alexandra is a 2013 Colorado Springs Teach for America alumni and has earned a master's in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity from CU Boulder. This is her tenth year in education. For additional episodes, blog posts and free resources relating to multilingual education, visit our community page: https://ellevationeducation.com/ell-community Find the full episode transcript here. Visit our EL Community page for episode resources, related content and more.
August 23, 2022
S9/E1: Crafting Content, Language, and Culture Learning Targets with Dr. José Medina
What are culture learning targets and why are they critical for creating non-oppressive learning environments? How can individual teachers lesson plan in a way that can disrupt the status quo of a monolingual centric approach to learning? How can educators support their multilingual learners in making cross-linguistic connections and fostering a practice of metalinguistic awareness? Welcome back to Season 9 of the Highest Aspirations podcast, a show where we explore how we can help make an impact on our nation’s highest growing student demographic multilingual learners. Our first guest of the season is Dr. José Medina. Dr. 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. To download the full episode transcript click here. For episode recap and resources, additional multimedia content and exclusive community webinars and toolkits, visit www.ellevationeducation.com/el-community
August 09, 2022
S8/E13: Creating Intentional Opportunities to Improve Listening Comprehension with Paul Hernandez and Theresa Blanchard
Why is it necessary to explicitly teach and foster listening skills, specifically for language learners? What tools and activities can be used to practice listening in a culturally responsive and engaging way for all students? What do authentic conversations and listening comprehension activities sound like, and how can educators more effectively encourage these in their students? Those topics and much more with Theresa Blanchard and Paul Hernandez from Sanger Unified School District in California - two educators who have designed and implemented successful strategies to help their students succeed in a variety of ways. Find the full episode transcript here. Visit our EL Community page for show notes, additional resources, multimedia content and much more. As always, thanks for listening to Highest Aspirations. The conversation continues when Season 9 begins in August, but every episode from Season 1-8 is available for you anywhere you get your podcasts. Enjoy the summer!
June 21, 2022
S8/E12: Providing Equitable Assessments to Identify Gifted English Learners with Dr. Jack Naglieri
What are some of the biggest obstacles for multilingual learners in many widely used intelligence tests? How can assessments be altered to more accurately test thinking rather than language skills or content knowledge? As more students are identified as gifted and talented with more accurate testing, how can teachers begin to better support these students? We discuss these questions and much more with Dr. Jack Naglieri. Dr. Naglieri is widely known for his efforts to increase participation of traditionally under-represented students in gifted education. He is currently a Senior Research Scientist at the Devereux Center for Resilient Children and Emeritus Professor of Psychology at George Mason University. You’ll find multimedia resources - including a transcript of this episode, accompanying blog posts, videos, collaboration opportunities, and more - on our learning community. For episode resources and additional content visit our EL Community page. Find the full episode transcript here.
June 07, 2022
S8/E11: Helping Newcomers Cross the Finish Line: Graduation and Beyond with Pamela Broussard
What vital roles do social and cultural capital play in determining the opportunities available to new arrivals? How can peers be leveraged to help newcomers cross the we/them divide while growing academically? What does it mean for new arrivals to “cross the finish line” and what are a few key steps educators can take to help them get there? We discuss these questions and much more with Pamela Broussard. Pamela Broussard is a passionate keynote speaker, presenter, and high school New Arrival Center teacher from Houston, Texas. She has more than 30 years of teaching experience ranging from elementary to master's degree prep courses. She has taught Regular Ed., Special Ed., ESL/EL/ML, SLIFE, and New Arrivals. She has taught in the USA and abroad. In addition to teaching, she is Rotary International Peace Fellow. She has traveled to more than 35 countries including working in Afghanistan for seven years. She has spent time in: refugee camps, war zones, orphanages, trash heaps, and human trafficking zones. These experiences and trainings have given her a wealth of experience with Social Emotional Learning, Cultural Responsive Teaching, and Trauma-Informed Teaching. When she's not teaching, you can find her with hands covered in paint, glue stuck to her fingers, and collage supplies across her desk doing art. You’ll find multimedia resources - including a transcript of this episode, accompanying blog posts, videos, collaboration opportunities, and more - on our learning community. For episode resources and additional content visit our EL Community page. Find the full episode transcript here.
May 24, 2022
S8/E10: The Role of Teacher Identity in Culturally Responsive Instruction with Tanji Reed Marshall
How can concepts like “teacher identity” and “learning leader” transform how educators show up in the classroom? What is the difference between directive and generative scaffolding, and how can one be significantly more constructive for ELs? What roles can deep culture, identity, and instructional power play in crafting more equitable teaching styles? We discuss these questions and much more with Tanji Reed Marshall, who was highly recommended by our friend Jeff Zwiers form Stanford Graduate School of Education. Tanji Reed Marshall, Ph.D., is the director of p-12 practice, leading Ed Trust’s Equity in Motion assignment analysis work. Prior to joining Ed Trust, Tanji worked in the Office of Academic Programs at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University to prepare the school of education’s accreditation with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Before that, she supported prospective secondary English teachers who were working to obtain licensure through the school of education. You’ll find multimedia resources - including a transcript of this episode, accompanying blog posts, videos, collaboration opportunities, and more - on our learning community. For episode resources and additional content visit our EL Community page. Download the full episode transcript here.
May 10, 2022
S8/E9: An Inside Look into the 7 Steps to a Language Rich Classroom with Author John Seidlitz
How does the teaching outlined in his book 7 Steps to a Language Rich classroom help bridge the gap between research and practice? What outcomes or impact has John and his team seen on student performance in classrooms where the 7 steps methodology has been implemented? What would John say to educators who may be interested in trying the 7 Steps but may have lingering questions about the potential loss of agency or the level of fidelity needed to effectively implement? On this episode, we bring back our friend John Seidlitz to catch up on the work he has been doing for the newest version of his well known 7 Steps to a Language Rich Classroom book. It is always great to connect with John but the interview you’re about to hear is just one part of our exploration of this topic. You’ll find multimedia resources - including a transcript of this episode, accompanying blog posts, videos, collaboration opportunities, and more - on our learning community. For episode resources and additional content visit our EL Community page. Find the full episode transcript here. John Seidlitz is an independent educational consultant and the author of Sheltered Instruction Plus: A Guide for Texas Teachers of English Learners; Navigating the ELPS: Using the New Standards to Improve Instruction for English Learners; and a contributing author for The SIOP® Model for Teaching History-Social Studies for English Learners. He is the co-author of numerous publications including the 7 Steps to Developing a Language-Rich Interactive Classroom®. Mr. Seidlitz has been a member of the SIOP® National faculty and guest lecturer for many regional and national language development conferences. He taught social studies and ESL, served as a secondary ESL program coordinator, and held the position of education specialist at ESC Region 20 in San Antonio, Texas. In 2005, Mr. Seidlitz founded Seidlitz Education which is dedicated to the mission of Giving Kids the Gift of Academic Language™.
April 26, 2022
Bonus Episode: Meet 2021 Ellevation Scholarship Recipient Shreya Rohatgi
How can relationship building and interpersonal connection play a vital role in English learners developing a love of reading? What can educators do to encourage students to move outside of their comfort zone at school, especially when it comes to reading academic content? How can providing students with leadership opportunities enhance learning and inspire students to think in new ways? We discuss these questions and more with Shreya Rohatgi, a first-year college student at the University of Oklahoma who earned one of Ellevation’s scholarships last year. Shreya is a biochemistry major with a minor in psychology. She is also intentionally taking classes that invoke her creative side, which she feels is an important part of a well-rounded education. She is also a member of the Presidents Leaders Club, where she has been lucky to be part of what she calls patchwork of people whose individual talents and experiences come together to create something powerful. We caught up with Shreya in the middle of our application period for Ellevation’s 2022 scholarship. We hope our conversation with her inspires you to encourage your students to apply. We’ll accept applications through May 12th and you can find all the information you need on our Community page. You can also find multimedia resources - including a transcript of this episode, accompanying blog posts, videos, collaboration opportunities, and more - on our learning community. As always, thanks for listening to Highest Aspirations.
April 18, 2022
S8/E8: Why Decoding Isn’t Enough for Literacy: The Path Toward Comprehension with Dr. Kathy Escamilla and Dr. Sue Hopewell
What is the relationship between decoding and comprehension when reading, and why is it important for educators to prioritize both? Why are key literacy resources like school librarians or educational media specialists and classroom libraries growing scarce and what are the consequences? How can listeners begin to take steps on a micro and macro level to improve flawed education policies that are impacting multilingual learners? We discuss these questions and much more with Dr. Kathy Escamilla and Dr. Sue Hopewell. For episode resources, additional content and much more visit our EL Community page. Find the episode transcript here. Dr. Kathy Escamilla is a Professor Emerita of Education in the Division of Equity, Bilingualism and Biliteracy at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She held the Bob and Judy Charles endowed chair in this division. Dr. Escamilla’s research focuses on issues related to the development of bilingualism and biliteracy for Spanish-speaking emerging bilingual children in US schools. Her research has also examined assessment practices for emerging bilingual learners. Sue Hopewell is the Director and Co-Founder of Literacy Squared® and an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the division Equity, Bilingualism and Biliteracy in the School of Education. Her research focuses on issues of language, culture, equity, and identity especially as they impact, or are affected by, bilingualism and the related literacy practices at the elementary school level
April 12, 2022
S8/E7: Student's Perspective: Challenges that US Born Children of Immigrants Face with Rachel Lim, Iliana Perez and Falmari Rojas (Part 2)
We are back with part two of our series exploring the challenges that US born children of immigrants. In part one of the series we spoke with sociologist, author and professor Dr. Joanna Dreby about the work she has done in this space. This week we hear from three undergraduate and graduate students who understand this experience firsthand and worked with Dr. Dreby on her research. These interviews will give listeners a powerful firsthand look at how they can better serve these students in their schools. For more episode resources and takeaways, plus additional content on other topics in multilingual education, visit our EL Community Page. Watch Falmari’s full interview or read the transcript here. Watch Rachel’s full interview or read the transcript here. Watch Iliana’s full interview or read the transcript here.
April 05, 2022
S8/E6: Sociologist's Perspective: Challenges that US Born Children of Immigrants Face with Joanna Dreby (Part 1)
How are the challenges and experiences of English learners born in the US different than those who have recently arrived and why is so important for educators to understand them? In what ways does family members’ citizenship status and fear of deportation or separation affect these students? What kinds of social-emotional supports can educators leverage to help support these students in the classroom, and what policy changes can they advocate for at a local level? We discuss these questions and much more in a special two-part series with University of Albany professor and author Dr. Joanna Dreby and three of her former and current students who are also English learners born in the US. In this episode, Dr. Dreby shares her experience and expertise in working with students who have grown up as children of immigrants. As you'll hear in our conversation, the challenges they face stretch well beyond learning English. All too often, these students find themselves growing up far too quickly as a result of their parents’ immigration status and lack of familiarity with the US educational system. They are often put in positions where they are expected to act as adults in their homes, their communities, and even in the court system. The trauma all this creates has a direct impact on social-emotional and academic progress, and forces many of these students to question their identities. Check back next week for part two featuring three of her graduate students, and visit the EL Community page for episode takeaways, resources and more! Find the full episode transcript here. Dr. Dreby’s research explores family dynamics under conditions of increased globalization, with specific expertise on international migration, gender, and children. She is author of two award-winning books Divided by Borders: Mexican Migrants and their Children (University of California Press 2010) and Everyday Illegal: When Policies Undermine Immigrant Families (University of California Press 2015), and the award-winning article "The Burden of Deportation on Children in Mexican Immigrant Families" (Journal of Marriage and Family 2012). She is co-editor of the volume Family and Work in Everyday Ethnography (Temple University Press 2013). Dr. Dreby has published more than 30 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters on a range of topics including child care fatalities, transnational families, gender and generational relations in families, work-family balance, and the impacts of immigration enforcement policies on children. In 2017, Dr. Dreby was a Fulbright Scholar to Costa Rica and she received a Fulbright-Garcia Robles Grant in 2004-2005 for field research in Mexico. Her research on children and youth has been funded by the Foundation for Child Development (2009-2012), and her current project titled “the Aftermath of Immigration Enforcement Episodes” is funded by the Russell Sage Foundation (2019-2022). She uses a variety of qualitative methods, emphasizing ethnography, comparative research and in-depth interview techniques. She has a background in social services and retains interest in community based work. Dr. Dreby received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2007.
March 29, 2022
S8/E5: Identifying and Supporting Gifted and Talented Multilingual Learners with Marcy Voss
Here are some questions we discuss in this episode with our guest Marcy Voss. Why are multilingual learners so often overlooked and underrepresented in gifted and talented programs in schools? How can educators better identify the many gifted English learners, and adopt an asset-based approach moving forward? What are some strategies teachers can use to support language needs without compromising the depth and complexity of the content and instruction? We discuss these questions and more with Marcy Voss. Marcy is an Educational Consultant who has recently retired after 36 years in public education. During her career, Marcy taught elementary and middle school students, as well as coordinated Gifted and Special Programs in several districts. As Special Programs Coordinator for Boerne ISD, Marcy helped develop and implement their Two-Way Dual Language Program. Marcy currently serves as an ELL Coach, curriculum writer, and staff development trainer. Her passion is helping ELL students to think at higher levels through the use of differentiated curriculum that incorporates depth and complexity. She is also interested in identifying and serving gifted ELL students. Marcy is the author of the Academic Language Cards which provide activities using sentence stems requiring higher level thinking. Find the full episode transcript here. Visit our EL Community page for episode resources, related content and more.
March 15, 2022
S8/E4: Listening Comprehension, Academic Language, and Culturally Responsive Teaching - How They Fit Together with Monica Brady-Myerov
Given the fact that passive listening is happening all the time at school, why is creating deliberate, high-quality listening exercises for multilingual learners so important? What are some authentic ways to assess listening comprehension that will better gauge ELs’ understanding while also preparing them for important state assessments? How can in-class listening activities help ELs to build background knowledge and master academic vocabulary - two of the biggest hurdles facing language learners? We discuss these questions and much more with our guest Monica Brady-Myerov. Monica Brady-Myerov is a content area specialist in audio and its use in the classroom and an expert in podcasting, fact-based reporting and narrative storytelling. She is a 25-year veteran public radio journalist, and is the founder and CEO of Listenwise, a listening skills company. She is the author of the upcoming book: Listen Wise: Teach Students to Be Better Learners to be released by Wiley in April 2021. The book has personal anecdotes from the author and accessible excerpts from the latest neuroscience of listening and auditory learning, making it a critical resource that will explain why listening is the missing piece of the literacy puzzle. Find the full episode transcript here. Get access to all accompanying episode links, additional resources and much more on our EL Community Page.
March 01, 2022
S8/E3: Using Guided Reading Strategies to Support English Learners with Melanie Sembritski, Wesley Sever and Kelsi Iturralde
What benefits does guided reading offer when compared to more traditional whole group instruction? How can guided reading be used to better support multilingual learners and foster cultural responsive teaching strategies? How can schools and districts design and implement professional learning opportunities to support teachers as they roll out guided learning strategies? What different factors and considerations should happen at a school in order to successfully implement the lesson study model of teaching? We discuss these questions and much more with our guests from Kingsbury Charter Elementary School in California. Joining me are Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Melanie Sembritski, Superintendent Dr. Wesley Sever, and second grade teacher Kelsi Itturralde. You can find their full bios on our show notes and in the accompanying blog post at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity/
February 15, 2022
S8/E2: Internalizing Academic Vocabulary and Increasing Student Engagement with Natalia Heckman
What is the difference between active and passive vocabulary and how does the transfer from one to the other happen? What are some simple yet effective ways that educators can build in opportunities for multilingual learners to internalize and be able to use academic vocabulary in speaking or writing? How can we build students’ confidence in speaking as they develop new language skills in and out of the classroom? We discuss these questions and much more with Natalia Heckman on this episode of Highest Aspirations. Trained in Russia as a technical writer and a translator, Natalia never thought about becoming a teacher, but after her first year in a classroom, she knew that teaching was her calling and her mission. Natalia has taught English and ESOL classes, assisted teachers as a secondary ELA and Social Studies Instructional Coach, and served as an ESL/Bilingual program specialist. She currently pursues her passion for linguistics and education as an educational consultant with Seidlitz Education. The trainings she authored include “Moving ELs forward on EOC Writing” and “Building Better Sentences”. Natalia holds a bachelor’s degree in literature from the University of Houston at Clear Lake and a master’s degree in school administration from Lamar University. Find the full transcript here. Visit our EL Community page to find episode transcripts, resources, takeaways and more.
February 01, 2022
S8/E1: Advancing Equity in Professional Learning for Educators of Multilingual Learners with Silvia Romero-Johnson and Mariana Castro
How might we design and ensure access to equitable professional learning opportunities, specifically to address the unique needs of multilingual learners? What are some tools that can be used to monitor the progress of educators through professional learning and how do we measure its impact on student progress and learning? What are some strategies to design and implement equitable professional learning opportunities that are both introspective and connected to practice? We discuss these questions and much more with Silvia Romero-Johnson and Mariana Castro, authors of the new book, Advancing Equity in Dual Language Education: A Guide for Leaders. One note on the title - Silvia and Mariana define leaders with a wide lens. The information and resources shared in the book and in this episode are relevant and useful for any educator working with multilingual learners - particularly in dual-language programs. We would actually go so far as to say that it is useful for ALL educators. In this interview, we focused on one chapter of the book specifically dedicated to equitable professional learning. You can read access more resources, including a transcript of this episode, on the accompanying blog post on our learning community. Find the episode transcript here. Guest Bios Mariana Castro, Ph.D. is Deputy Director of the Wisconsin Center of Education Research at the University of Wisconsin Madison and a leader and researcher at WIDA, a project with the mission of advancing the academic achievement of multilingual learners. Castro has served the field of education as a science teacher, an ESL and bilingual educator and administrator, as a teacher educator and as a researcher. Her work as a qualitative researcher has focused on issues at the intersection of policy and practice in the education of multilingual learners. Castro’s research on the language practices and language development of multilingual learners has provided a foundation to her work leading the development of language standards for K-12 students and early years, in both English and Spanish. Dr. Silvia Romero-Johnson is currently serving as Director of Bilingual Programs and Instructional Equity in the Verona Area School District in Verona, WI. She has served in the education field in a variety of capacities including: Interim Chief Academic Officer and Assistant Superintendent for the Office of English Learners in the Boston Public Schools in Boston MA. As the Executive Director of the Office of Multilingual and Global Education in the Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, WI, she led the district’s transition from transitional bilingual education to dual language immersion education. She was the principal of Nuestro Mundo Community School, MMSD’s first two-way bilingual immersion charter school.
January 18, 2022
Season 8 Preview
In this episode, we talk about some exciting changes and improvements we have planned for Highest Aspirations. We also preview some of the topics we will be covering beginning with our first episode on January 18th. Learn more and stay up to date by joining our community at bit.ly/getmlresources. You’ll receive our weekly community brief with news and multimedia resources you can use with your colleagues and students right away.
January 11, 2022
S7/E18: The Impact of Teacher Training and Preparation on ML Instruction
The lack of teachers who have the training necessary to effectively support multilingual learners has been plaguing school districts across the country for years. The pandemic has only exacerbated the problem putting multilingual learners at greater risk. Panel members from school districts and organizations around the country came together during our annual Impact Conference to discuss how they are responding to this challenge and the plans they have moving forward. Special thanks to Amaya Garcia from New America for moderating the panel and providing perspective on what the research data is telling us. Thanks also to our panelists - Dr. Yolanda Rios, Alice Solis, Magda Grape, and Jeremiah Lack. This episode was taken from our Impact Conference that took place on December 6, 7, and 9. We will be sharing more resources and content from all Impact sessions on our weekly Community Brief email, which you can get by joining our community here: bit.ly/mllresources. Highest Aspirations will be back in January 2022. Until then, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!
December 14, 2021
S7/E17: High-Quality Dual Language Programs: Recipes for Success with Sandra Medrano-Arroyo (Part 2)
How can we help colleagues, families and community members become advocates for dual language programs? What does it mean to truly embrace biliteracy? Why is embracing bilingualism good for all students? We discuss these questions and more in part 2 of a 2 part series with Sandra Medrano-Arroyo. Sandra Medrano-Arroyo presently works at Ellevation Education as the Dual Language Instructional Content Specialist, where she has spearheaded the creation of two new instructional practices specific to the needs of Dual Language programs. In over 23 years in education, she has served the needs of emergent bilinguals and various sub-groups in a number of roles: teacher, academic coordinator, school director, recruiter, instructional specialist, and program planner. Prior to Ellevation, Sandra served as the Manager of Multicultural Education for the 11th largest school district in the US, overseeing the ESOL program for over 34,000 students, including a two-way dual language prog