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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Supporting Multilingual Learners in Bilingual Content Classes with Juan Arroyo

Highest Aspirations

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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
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
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.
32:16
May 12, 2020
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.
32:54
May 6, 2020
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
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
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
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.
24:29
April 13, 2020
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
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.
20:57
April 9, 2020
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
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
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.
18:02
April 2, 2020
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
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
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
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.  
27:17
March 27, 2020
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
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
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
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.
20:11
March 23, 2020
"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
20:13
March 18, 2020
S4/E10: Online Learning for English Learners with Dr. Gretchen Oliver and Dr. Karen Gregory
If you'd like to share what you are doing to support English learners during this challenging time, take 2 minutes to fill out this form. You can find the blog post version of this episode along with great resource and a special message on our ELL Community. 
46:14
March 17, 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). When not at work Geniene can be found on her 15 acre mini-farm, with ducks; chickens; dogs and her bearded dragon. Kathy Hammonds started her teaching career near her hometown and taught Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade. While working there she attended Union College where she received her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. After a few years, she moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where she taught 3rd and 4th grade as well as serving as a Literacy Specialist and Interventionist. This is where her passion for working with English learners started and grew. She returned to Kentucky to work as a classroom teacher in Boone County, where she now works as an English as a Second Language Teacher in her building. She enjoys working with my teachers every day as a team to support the learning of all students. Her team also works closely with their families and community.
39:56
March 3, 2020
S4/E7: "Enrique's Journey", Immigration, Education and More with Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Sonia Nazario
This is a very special episode of Highest Aspirations, not only because of our well known and highly respected guest, but also because almost all of the questions come directly from our listeners. We’d like to thank everyone who contributed to this episode by submitting questions for Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of Enrique’s Journey and we’d love to keep the conversation going. You can use our voicemail feature to share your comments so we can share them in future episodes.  We also want to offer a special thanks and congratulations to Emily Golightly from Carteret County Schools in Morehead City, NC who is the winner of our drawing to win a copy of "Enrique’s Journey". During our conversation, Sonia and I discuss her inspiration for writing "Enrique’s Journey", how themes in the book connect directly with the students we work with, what we can do to help curb the cycle of violence that force so many to flee countries like Honduras, and much more. For those who may not be familiar with her work, we invite you to learn more by visiting her website at enriquesjourney.com. You can also read her column here. You can stay connected with us by joining our ELL Community at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. There you can leave comments about this episode and others. You can also engage with great content like our short video series, blog posts, and articles. Finally, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. This will help us continue bringing you the best topics and guests on Highest Aspirations.
1:07:14
February 25, 2020
S4/E6: What is Working in Multilingual Education with Dr. Margarita Calderón: Part 2
How does Exc-ELL help teachers better serve their English learners and Dual language learners? How do we go about coaching others when observing classrooms and how does using observation protocols help administrators understand what teaching vocabulary, reading comprehension, and other strategies look like? How might we create a culture of giving and receiving feedback? Plus, we come back to the Seal of Biliteracy to ask how all this work might help more students access it. For more information on Dr. Calderón's expansive work, check out the show notes on Part 1. 
26:59
February 18, 2020
S4/E5: What Is Working in Multilingual Education with Dr. Margarita Calderón: Part 1
On this episode of Highest Aspirations, we feature part 1 of a 2 part series with Dr. Margarita Calderón, former Professor Emerita and Senior Research Scientist at Johns Hopkins University and author of several publications about multilingual education. During our conversation, we address the following questions: Why is it that many students are not receiving the Seal of Biliteracy after being on track for the recognition during their primary school years? How can we ensure that English learners and dual language learners are given the opportunity to engage in rigorous content area courses? Why is focusing on Tier 2 vocabulary, or connectors and transition words, so important to developing reading comprehension skills? How can a whole-school approach to professional development help content teachers infuse academic language into their lessons? Why are we still not seeing the progress we’d like in the areas of reading and writing for English learners and how can we to improve? For the past ten years Dr. Calderón, has been an Expert Consultant for the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights helping States such as Massachusetts and school districts come into compliance. As President of Margarita Calderón & Associates, Inc., Dr. Calderón and her team of 10 Associates conduct comprehensive professional development and coaching on ExC-ELL in many schools, districts, and state-wide Institutes throughout the country internationally (e.g., Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South America).  She was Co-Principal Investigator with Robert Slavin on the 5-Year Randomized Evaluation of English Immersion, Transitional Bilingual, and Two-Way Bilingual elementary programs funded by the Institute for Education Sciences/U.S. Dept. of Education. The Carnegie Corporation of New York funded a five-year empirical study to develop Expediting Comprehension for English Language Learners (ExC-ELL). Its purpose is to train math, science, social studies, language arts, ESL and special education teachers for integrating language, literacy and content in ALL classrooms. Another program, Reading Instructional Goals for Older Readers (RIGOR), was developed for Newcomers with Interrupted Formal Education. She developed the evidence-based Bilingual Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition (BCIRC) program for dual language instruction which is included in the What Works Clearinghouse. Currently, Dr. Calderón collaborates with George Washington University on a Title III five-year grant to implement and further study “A Whole-School Approach to Professional Development with ExC-ELL.” Other research has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education, U.S.Department of Labor, National Institutes of Child Health and Development, TexasEducation Agency, school districts, and State Departments of Education. She collaborated on longitudinal studies with Diane August, Maria Carlo and Catherine Snow on the National Study of Students Reading in Spanish and Transfer of Skills. Dr. Calderón has over 100 publications, including her most recent collaborative work featuring other well known experts in multilingual education, Breaking Down the Wall: Essential Shifts for English Learners' Success. 
35:20
February 11, 2020
S4/E4: Fostering Academic Conversations in Linguistically Diverse Classes with Jeff Zwiers
How do we move the needle from over-scaffolded, over-scripted dialogues to student-generated conversations that leverage academic language? What does a math-based conversation look like in a linguistically and culturally diverse classroom?  Why is it so important for teachers to come together to talk about communication in the classroom and how it fosters learning?  We discuss these questions and much more with Jeff Zwiers. Jeff is a senior researcher at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and the director of professional development for Understanding Language, a research and professional learning effort focused on improving instruction and assessment of English learners and other diverse students. He consults for national and international teacher development projects that promote language, literacy, lesson design, and formative assessment practices. Jeff’s research focuses on developing classroom instruction that fosters high-quality oral language and constructive conversations across disciplines. This is our second episode with Jeff Zwiers. Many listeners will be familiar with his book “Academic Conversations”, which provides Clear ways to support students in developing authentic, meaningful classroom conversation skills. Zwiers' research and work has impacted tens of thousands of classrooms across the country in providing equitable access to grade-level content for all learners, reflective of college-and-career readiness standards.”
41:41
February 4, 2020
S4/E3: Routines for Reasoning: English Learners and Math with Grace Kelemanik and Amy Lucenta (Part 2 of 2)
What does a language rich math classroom look and sound like? How do we get past simple repetition to reach a “harmony of concept and language” for English learners in math classes? How do we move from simply getting the right answer and move toward building metacognitive skills and why is this particularly important for English learners? We discuss these questions and more in part 2 of our 2 part series with Grace Kelemanik and Amy Lucenta, authors of the book “Routines for Reasoning: Fostering the Mathematical Practices in All Students”.
41:48
January 28, 2020
S4/E2: Routines for Reasoning - English Learners and Math with Grace Kelemanik and Amy Lucenta (Part 1 of 2)
How can building routines for reasoning help reduce cognitive load and anxiety for English learners in math classes? How can strategies like Ask-Yourself Questions, Annotation, Sentence Frames and Starters, and The Four Rs help provide equitable access to mathematical thinking? What are some effective ways of teaching students the academic vocabulary necessary to have a seat at the math table? We discuss these questions and more in part 1 of our 2 part series with Grace Kelemanik and Amy Lucenta, authors of the book “Routines for Reasoning: Fostering the Mathematical Practices in All Students”. 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. Grace Kelemanik has 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.” In this episode, we discuss routines that support these learners. 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. You can stay connected with us by joining our ELL Community. There you can leave comments about this episode and others. You can also engage with great content like our short video series, blog posts, and articles. Finally, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. This will help us continue bringing you the best topics and guests on Highest Aspirations.
35:19
January 21, 2020
S4/E1: Making an Impact on English learners with Ellevation Co-founders Jordan Meranus and Teddy Rice
In this episode, we bring you a conversation Ellevation co-founders Teddy Rice and Jordan Meranus.  Jordan and Teddy talk about how Ellevation’s origin story is directly connected to an EL teacher working to maximize impact on her students, how diversity and inclusion contribute to innovation, what organizations like ours need to do to stay connected with schools, and what you can expect from Ellevation in the near future. Plus, they provide a sneak peek into what's coming next from Ellevation! Stay connected with us by joining our ELL Community. There you can leave comments about this episode and others. You can also engage with great content like our Whiteboard Wednesday short video series, blog posts, and articles. Finally, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. This will help us continue bringing you the best topics and guests on Highest Aspirations. If you have ideas, email us at highestaspirations@ellevationeducation.com and we’ll do our best to turn your idea into a future episode.
41:41
January 14, 2020
Season 4 Trailer
How do we ensure English learners experience equitable access to rigorous content in math classes? What can we do to bridge the gap between research and practice in dual language programs? How do we ensure all students learn the academic language necessary to succeed in content classes? What supports do English learners and undocumented students need along the route to college admission? We cover these questions and much more in Season 4 of Highest Aspirations, an education podcast, where we engage in important conversations about our country’s most rapidly growing student demographic - English Language Learners.  We kick off Season 4 with a unique episode featuring Ellevation co-founders Jordan Meranus and Teddy Rice to discuss the past present, and (most importantly) the future of Ellevation. Spoiler alert - you’ll hear an exciting announcement in this episode! Jordan and Teddy are passionate about their work and fun to listen to, so don’t miss that episode when it drops on Tuesday, January 14th. As always, you can find all our free resources, including video series, blog posts, and more at ellevationeducation.com/ellcommunity. While you’re there, go ahead and join the community to get a weekly email with fresh content you can use and share with others.
04:07
January 9, 2020
S3/E21: Advice for EL Students, Teachers, and More with Take the Pledge Scholarship Winner Paola Martinez
As you may know, Ellevation gives five $2,000 scholarships to deserving English learners every year. On this episode, we talk with Take the Pledge Scholarship winner Paola Martinez. Paola graduated from high school in Soledad, California and is currently studying business administration at the University of California Irvine. Like our other scholarship winners, Paola brings an important student perspective to Highest Aspirations. Listeners will appreciate her sincere reflection of her experience as an English learner, as well as the advice she offers for both students and teachers. Paola highlights her experience with Upward Bound, gives some great advice to EL students and teachers, and stresses the importance of reading in her educational journey. Stay connected with us by joining our EL Community. There you can leave comments about this episode and others. You can also engage with great content like our Whiteboard Wednesday short video series, blog posts, and articles. Finally, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. This will help us continue bringing you the best topics and guests on Highest Aspirations. If you have ideas, email us at highestaspirations@ellevationeducation.com and we’ll do our best to turn your idea into a future episode.
29:21
December 17, 2019
S3/E20: The Power and Beauty of Pronouncing Students' Names Correctly with N'Jameh Camara
Have you ever avoided calling someone by name for fear of mispronouncing it? Have you given students nicknames to make it easier for you and fellow students to address them? How can mispronouncing, altering, or altogether changing students’ names affect their personal, educational, and social trajectories? Why is it important to change the narrative around names that some might consider difficult to pronounce and what can we do to begin? We discuss these topics and much more with N’Jameh Camara. N'Jameh Camara is an actor and author currently residing in New York. She is a proud first generation American of Filipina and Gambian roots. Having recently wrapped up the post-Broadway run of JUNK by Ayad Akhtar, she is currently performing in Macbeth at Classic Stage Company directed by John Doyle. She also did a year long run in the principal role of Nettie in the Tony Winning Revival of The Color Purple Broadway Tour, directed by John Doyle. Other credits include the World Premier of X: or Betty Shabazz vs. The Nation by Marcus Gardley, the Off-Broadway run of Julius Caesar and a Bobby and Kristen Anderson Lopez World Premier of Up Here at the La Jolla Playhouse, directed by Alex Timbers. Her voice can be heard on Amazon’s Audible, narrating audiobooks for young adults from Penguin Random House Publishing. For more information, check out the books, “Harbor Me,” “We Rise, We Resist, We Raise our Voices,” “A Peoples’ Future of the United States,” “You Bring the Distant Near,” and Fumbled and Gravity. N'Jameh received her Master of Fine Art from UC San Diego and has taught acting and movement workshops at various universities including Loyola University- New Orleans, UC San Diego, SUNY Oswego, Northern Arizona University and University of Central Missouri. She is a current member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association where she presented on Intersectional Arts Pedagogy in Singapore at the 2017 VASTA conference. As well as acting, N’Jameh enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She has also written and performed a one woman show about a young Maya Angelou, Marguerite to Maya. The show was developed with the Ubuntu Theater Project and was performed at Studio 67 in Oakland, CA, The Alameda Juvenile Detention Hall and the Eugene O'Neill Tao House for New Play Development. Other writing credits include The Monologue Project.
46:19
December 10, 2019
S3/E19: Dyslexia and English Learners with Dr. Kelli Sandman-Hurley
What are some misconceptions about dyslexia and how do they affect English learners? What are some strategies educators can use to help identify dyslexia in English learners? How does family engagement come into play once a student is diagnosed with dyslexia and what challenges might emerge with families of English learners? We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with Dr. Kelli Sandman-Hurley. Kelli Sandman-Hurley, Ed.D. is an author and co-founder of the Dyslexia Training Institute. She received her doctorate in literacy with a specialization in reading and dyslexia from San Diego State University and the University of San Diego. She is also completing her TESOL certification. Dr. Kelli is a certified special education advocate assisting parents and children through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and 504 Plan process. She has training in mediation and also serves as an expert witness in the area of dyslexia. Dr. Kelli is a Past-President of the San Diego Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. She is a dyslexia consultant working with schools to improve services offered to students with dyslexia and training teachers. She co-created and produced “Dyslexia for a Day: A Simulation of Dyslexia,” and she is a frequent speaker at conferences. She is the author of the well-received book, Dyslexia Advocate! How to Advocate for a Child with Dyslexia within the Public Education System. Stay connected with us by joining our EL Community at ellevationeducation.com/elcommunity. There you can leave comments about this episode and others. You can also engage with great content like our Whiteboard Wednesday short video series, blog posts, and articles. Finally, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. This will help us continue bringing you the best topics and guests on Highest Aspirations.
34:19
December 3, 2019
S3/E18: The Evolving Role of EL Teachers with Michelle Benegas
Michelle Benegas, of Hamline University and the ELM Project dropped by to talk about site-based EL teacher leadership, the evolving (and elevated) role of the EL teachers, and how Ellevation is serving as a conduit for conversations about EL progress. Learn more about EL teacher leadership and professional development by listening to our full interview with Michelle and her colleague Amy Stolpestad.
05:36
November 26, 2019
S3/E17: Educational Equity for Multilingual Learners with Dr. Yue Vang of St. Paul Schools
Dr. Yue Vang, Director of the Office of Multilingual Learning at St. Paul Schools in Minnesota stopped by the booth to discuss equity for multilingual learners, a collective approach to EL education, and how the new ESSA regulations might make a positive impact for EL programs
05:30
November 26, 2019
S3/E16: The Collective Responsibility of Educating English Learners with Kristina Robertson of Roseville Public Schools
Kristina Robertson, EL Program Administrator at Roseville Public Schools in Minnesota, chatted with us about the our collective responsibility to educate English learners, how ESSA might helping support teachers who work with ELs, and her favorite features of Ellevation for both administrators and teachers.
07:43
November 26, 2019
S3/E15: New Approaches to Family Engagement with Laura Gardner
Laura Gardner of Immigrant Connections stopped by to discuss the ABC’s of family engagement, looking at EL students holistically, and a new awareness of what it means to create a welcoming environment for EL students and their families. For more on family and community engagement strategies, check out our full interview with Laura. 
05:42
November 26, 2019
S3/E14: Key ESSA Updates with David Holbrook
David Holbrook of TransACT stopped by our booth at the WIDA Conference in Providence, RI to talk about the impact of ESSA on EL programs, shifts from Title 3 into Title 1, and family engagement. You can read David's bio and find his recent contributions on TransACT's website. To learn more about ESSA's impact on English learners, be sure to listen to our full podcast episode David Holbrook and Ellevation's President and co-founder Teddy Rice.
07:49
November 26, 2019
S3/E13: Understanding the Civil Rights of English Learners with Dr. Ayanna Cooper
What are civil rights of English learners and how can schools sometimes unintentionally violate them? How can civil rights issues affect EL reclassification rates, access to advanced courses, and more?  Why do violations happen and how can schools avoid them? We discuss these questions and more with Dr. Ayanna Cooper. Dr. Ayanna Cooper is an author, keynote speaker and advocate for culturally and linguistically diverse learners. She is the author of Creating and Sustaining Equitable Schools with English Learners (in press), co-editor of Black Immigrants in the United States: Essays on the Politics of Race, Language, and Voice (with Ibrahim, in press), and co-author of Evaluating ALL Teachers of English Learners and Students with Disabilities: Supporting Great Teaching (with Staher Fenner & Kozik). Her projects involve providing technical assistance internationally and in the U.S. to State Departments of Education, school districts and non-profit organizations. Dr. Cooper recently returned from an English language Specialist project in Kuwait. She was also recently elected to TESOL's Board of Directors for 2020-2023.
32:42
November 19, 2019
S3/E12: Using Project Based Learning Strategies to Reach Newcomers with Elizabeth Leone
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
45:46
November 12, 2019
S3/E11: 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.
48:46
November 5, 2019
S3/E10: A Conceptual Framework for EL Program Management and Instruction with Adam Howard
How might a conceptual framework help educators better communicate around EL program management, instructional practices, and more? How can using a framework encourage educators to assess their practice and identify where they can improve? What benefits does all this have for multilingual learners? We discuss these questions and much more with Ellevation’s own Adam Howard. Adam is currently a project manager here at Ellevation Education, where he works with school districts across the country to onboard and roll-out a suite of software that manages data analysis, teacher development, and student instruction. He has an extensive background in education, having spent nearly ten years in the English Language Development classroom supporting learners from all over the world. Adam has spent his career focused on integrating 21st-century technology into the classroom, disrupting the outdated, and promoting equitable learning opportunities to empower all students.  His background in educational technology contributed to his development of the SADI model, a conceptual framework that helps educators level set around English learner instruction and program management. The acronym stands for Simplification, Accommodation, Differentiation, and Integration. It is loosely based on the SAMR model, created by Dr. Ruben Puentedura that categorizes four different degrees of classroom technology integration. If you’d like to refer to the SADI model as you listen, you can find it at bit.ly/sadimodel. Be sure to subscribe to Highest Aspirations on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts so you never miss an episode. Also, please consider leaving us a rating and review on iTunes to let everyone know how we’re doing. This will help us get the word out and bring in more great guests. Finally, we love to crowdsource from the community! If you have an idea for a topic or guest for an upcoming episode, please reach out to stevens@ellevationeducation.com.
38:00
October 29, 2019
S3/E9: Profiling the English Learner Experience with Take the Pledge Scholarship Winner Camila Garcia.
How does growing up in a diverse community impact the educational outcome of English learners? What kinds of learning experiences have the most impact on diverse learners? What advice would a recent high school graduate and former English learner give to students facing similar challenges? We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with Take the Pledge scholarship winner Camila Garcia.  Camila recently began studying English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after graduating high school in Beardstown, IL. As we discuss in the episode, Camila is an avid reader, a quality which she believes helped her achieve English proficiency. She is particularly fond of The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak.   Her story is an inspirational reminder of how all students can reach their highest aspirations when provided with the necessary support and opportunities in school. 
19:55
October 15, 2019
S3/E8: Examining Teacher Assessments as Barriers for EL Educators with Dr. Emery Petchauer
What does the research say about the benefits of bringing teachers of color into our classrooms? Are teacher licensure exams creating barriers to enter the teaching profession - particularly for teachers of color? How might alternatives like community based assessments help bring in more aspiring teachers of color? We discuss these questions and much more with Emery Petchauer. Emery Petchauer is an associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University. His research has focused on the aesthetic practices of urban arts, particularly hip-hop culture, and their connections to teaching, learning, and living. He is the author of Hip-Hop Culture in College Students’ Lives (Routledge, 2012), the first scholarly study of hip-hop culture on college campuses, and the co-editor of Schooling Hip-Hop: Expanding Hip-Hop Based Education Across the Curriculum (Teachers College Press, 2013).Dr. Petchauer also studies high-stakes teacher licensure exams and their relationship to the racial diversity of the teaching profession. Theories of social psychology and spatial studies inform this work, as do many years of working individually with preservice teachers to pass these exams. Dr. Petchauer has received teaching awards at both the high school and college levels, including the Board of Trustees Distinguished Teaching Award at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, the nation’s first Historically Black University. His most recent book, Navigating Teacher Licensure Exams offers practical, empirically sourced insights into the high-stakes licensure exams required in most states for teacher certification. This unique resource foregrounds the experiences of diverse preservice teachers, including teachers of color, to understand how they organize their preparation efforts, overcome self-doubt and anxiety, and navigate the high-pressure space of this important testing event. 
30:05
October 8, 2019
S3/E7: Preparing Teachers to Work With Multilingual Learners With Sera Hernandez, Part 2
What is translanguaging and how does it affect language learning and pedagogy? What are the implications of language loss in both school and home environments? What kind of support do teachers of multilingual learners need most as they progress through their careers? We discuss these questions and much more in part 2 of our 2 part conversation with Dr. Sera Hernandez of San Diego State University. Dr. Hernandez teaches university courses on multilingual education, bilingualism, biliteracy, language policy and English language development. Her research focuses on the impact of state and federal language and education policies on language and literacy practices in Spanish and English in schools, homes, and communities across California, the U.S. and internationally. Her work strives to better understand the language and literacy development of emergent bilinguals (i.e., DLLs, ELLs) starting in early childhood and specifically how educational language policies and program models facilitate or undermine language learners’ access to equitable schooling experiences. You can stay connected with us by joining our EL Community at ellevationeducation.com/elcommunity. There you can leave comments about this episode and others. You can also engage with great content like our Whiteboard Wednesday short video series, blog posts, and articles. Finally, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. This will help us continue bringing you the best topics and guests on Highest Aspirations.
23:35
October 1, 2019
S3/E06: Preparing Teachers to Work With Multilingual Learners with Dr. Sera Hernandez
What has changed in bilingual teacher education over the last 5-10 years and how have those changes affected the field? How have policy changes and initiatives like the Seal of Biliteracy affected dual language programs and bilingual education? What are some of the most effective ways of preparing preservice and inservice teachers to work with dual language and English language learners?  We discuss these questions and much more in part 1 of a 2 part series with Dr. Sera Hernandez, Assistant Professor of Dual Language and English Learner Education at San Diego State University. Dr. Hernandez earned her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education with a degree in Language, Literacy, and Culture. With an interdisciplinary academic background, her research bridges the fields of educational linguistics and the anthropology of education to examine the sociocultural, linguistic and political contexts surrounding educational language policies and bilingualism and biliteracy practices in the U.S. and abroad. Her research focuses on the impact of state and federal language and education policies on language and literacy practices in Spanish and English in schools, homes, and communities across California, the U.S. and internationally. Her work strives to better understand the language and literacy development of emergent bilinguals (i.e., DLLs, ELLs) starting in early childhood and specifically how educational language policies and program models facilitate or undermine language learners’ access to equitable schooling experiences. Her research and teaching also involve multiple international programs that examine equity issues around language policies and teacher education, namely in Mexico, the Republic of Palau, and Switzerland. Dr. Hernandez has worked in public K-12 schools and universities for 20 years and has facilitated trainings for over 1,500 teachers and administrators across the U.S. in the OCDE Project GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) model. She is currently a lead trainer for the California Association for Bilingual Education’s Binational Project GLAD model which works with bilingual educators on both sides of the border to foster and build collaborative binational relationships and better schooling experiences for binational students in the U.S. and Mexico as they become bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural.
30:37
September 24, 2019
S3/E05: English Learners and Advanced STEM Courses with Dr. Stephen Fleenor
Why are advanced STEM classes a good fit for many English learners? What strategies can teachers leverage to maximize impact on diverse learners in STEM classes? How might we remove barriers that prevent many English learners from taking advanced classes throughout their academic careers? 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.
41:06
September 17, 2019
S3/E04: Run Schools Like Disney: Equitable Educational Opportunities for All Students with Lynmara Colón
What if schools were run like Disney? How would this philosophy affect the educational experiences of all students, and particularly ELs? What can we learn from Disney about providing access to opportunities that keep students coming back? We discuss these questions and much more with Lynmara Colón, Director of English Learner Programs at Prince Williams County Public Schools in Maryland. Lynn 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. Lynn believes all schools should be run like Disney; providing magical experiences to every student regardless or their background. She now heads the office that provides comprehensive registration services to English learners and immigrant children, including translation and interpretation services, to a school division serving over 90,000 students. These students represent 124 countries and 149 languages. Colón holds two master’s degrees: a degree in curriculum and instruction, and the other in educational leadership. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in education through Old Dominion University.
33:34
September 10, 2019
S3/E03: EL Shadowing as a Catalyst for Change with Dr. Ivannia Soto
How can shadowing EL students help educators, schools, and districts improve their instruction and outcomes? What are some ways we can link quantitative data from assessments with qualitative data gathered while shadowing students? What are the protocols that teachers should use when shadowing students and what action steps should be taken after the experience? We discuss the questions and much more with Dr. Ivannia Soto. Dr. Soto is professor of Education at Whittier College in California, where she specializes in second language acquisition, systemic reform for English language learners (ELLs), and urban education. She began her career in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), where she taught English and English Language Development to a population made of up 99.9% Latinos, who either were or had been ELLs. Before becoming a professor, Dr. Soto also served LAUSD as a literacy coach and district office administrator. She has presented on literacy and language topics at various conferences, including the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), the California Association for Bilingual Association (CABE), the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the National Urban Education Conference. As a consultant, Soto has worked with Stanford University’s School Redesign Network (SRN) and WestEd, as well as a variety of districts and county offices in California, providing technical assistance for systemic reform for ELLs and Title III. Soto is the co-author of The Literacy Gaps: Building Bridges for ELLs and SELs, as well as ELL Shadowing as a Catalyst for Change and From Spoken to Written Language with ELLs, all published by Corwin Press. Together, the books tell a story of how to systemically close achievement gaps with ELLs by increasing their oral language production in academic areas.  Dr. Soto is Executive Director of the Institute for Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching (ICLRT) at Whittier College, whose mission it is to promote relevant research and develop academic resources for ELLs and Standard English Learners (SELs) via linguistically and culturally responsive teaching practices. You can find a full transcription of our conversation and more resources on our blog post about the episode.
50:48
September 3, 2019
S3/E02: From Cuba to Dartmouth (via Miami) with Ellevation Scholarship Winner Melany Quintero
How do students deal with the stigma sometimes associated with English learners and immigrants in our schools and communities? What are some of the main factors that help ensure success for English learners? What can educators do to best support English learners? We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with Take the Pledge scholarship winner Melany Quintero. Melany is a recent high school graduate from Pembroke Pines, Florida, just outside Miami. She is beginning her higher education journey at Dartmouth College this fall, where she is studying Biomedical Engineering. She came to the US from Cuba at age 9 and as you’ll hear in the episode, she attributes much of her English learning to the Hannah Montana series. Melany’s story exemplifies the educational journey of so many English learners across the country. For more information about Ellevation’s Take the Pledge Scholarship for English learners, visit takethepledge.net. You can read the full transcription of our conversation with Melany here.
31:33
August 27, 2019
S3/E01: Using QSSSA to Enhance Classroom Conversations with John Seidlitz
How might we create and nurture a classroom and school culture that encourages respectful conversations where everyone has a chance to participate?  What are some practical ways to increase quality conversations with English learners? What is QSSSA and how might it help engage all students in high quality classroom conversations?  We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with John Seidlitz, founder and CEO of Seidlitz Education.  Seidlitz Education's mission is to support school districts and teachers with increasing academic achievement for English Language Learners. They provide research-based consultations, trainings, coaching, and products with innovative educational tools that focus on ways we can help give students the gift of academic language. We are always looking for user-friendly ways to help teachers give students rich background knowledge and the ability to communicate in academic settings. 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 also been a 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™. You can find a full transcription of our conversation with John Seidlitz here. Be sure to subscribe to Highest Aspirations on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts so you never miss an episode. Also, please consider leaving us a rating and review on iTunes to let everyone know how we’re doing. This will help us get the word out and bring in more great guests.  Finally, we love to crowdsource from the community! If you have an idea for a topic or guest for an upcoming episode, please reach out to stevens@ellevationeducation.com.  As always, you can find more free resources, including our Whiteboard Wednesday short video series, curated news articles, blog posts, and 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.
52:50
August 20, 2019
Season 3 Trailer
What are some strategies that help create a more inclusive classroom environment for multilingual students? How are dual language programs evolving and what supports do schools need to get them off the ground? What if we ran our schools like Disney runs their parks? Why are STEM classes particularly well suited to multilingual learners and how can we ensure they have access?  We cover these questions and much more in Season 3 of Highest Aspirations, an education podcast, where we engage in important conversations about our country’s most rapidly growing student demographic - English Language Learners.  Be sure to subscribe to Highest Aspirations on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts so you never miss an episode. Also, please consider leaving us a rating and review on iTunes to let everyone know how we’re doing. This will help us get the word out and bring in more great guests.  Finally, we love to crowdsource from the community! If you have an idea for a topic or guest for an upcoming episode, please reach out to stevens@ellevationeducation.com.  As always, you can find more free resources, including our Whiteboard Wednesday short video series, curated news articles, blog posts, and 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.  
04:08
August 13, 2019
S2/E20: Collaborating with Content Teachers: Co-Planning and Co-Teaching with Tan Huynh
How might EL Specialists establish and nurture relationships with content teachers who work with ELs? What are some simple strategies that can help make co-planning and co-teaching easier for all  kinds of teachers? How can we encourage content teachers allow their EL students to create as a more effective way of learning. We discuss these questions and much more in this lively conversation Tan Huynh. Tan Huynh (@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. Currently, he and others are preparing for the third annual VirtuEL conference, which is open to anyone for free online on Saturday, June 15th from 9am to noon eastern time. You can find out more about the conference by visiting http://bit.ly/VirtuEL. For more resources from the episode, visit Ellevation's EL Community.
1:03:57
June 4, 2019
S2/E19: Grow Your Own Programs for Bilingual Teachers with Amaya Garcia and Alexandra Manuel
What are “Grow Your Own” (GYO) teacher programs and how are they being deployed to address the bilingual teacher shortage? What can we learn about these programs from those who have experience implementing them? What supports do GYO teacher candidates and schools need to help them thrive? We discuss these topics and much more with Amaya Garcia and Alexandra Manuel. Amaya Garcia is deputy director for English learner education with the Education Policy program at New America. She provides research and analysis on policies and programs related to dual language education, bilingual teacher preparation and career pathways, bilingual education, English language proficiency and early education. Prior to joining New America, Garcia was a policy analyst at the DC State Board of Education and a research associate at the American Institutes of Research. Previously she worked in a variety of research labs conducting studies on topics including school finance, reading comprehension, infant learning and memory and early language development. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland-College Park, a master’s degree in cognitive studies in education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree in English and psychology from the University of Iowa. Alexandra (“Alex”) Manuel has been the executive director for the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) and the first in the nation, WA State Paraeducator Board since February, 2018. Prior to her new role, she served as PESB’s Deputy Director and previously the Director of Educator Pathways. Her experience as a strategic leader has focused on education policy that expanded access to educator preparation and advancing equity to support student success. Over the last several years she has focused on addressing educator shortage and educator diversity in the workforce. Her experience includes resource development, government relations, community engagement, policy development, system change, capacity building and immigrant integration. Alex is focused on providing greater access to the educator workforce by lifting up community assets including language and culture. Alex brings skills as a strategic leader in systems integration and strategic planning, community engagement and change management from her employment and consulting experience in both private and public organizations including Highline College, Seattle University, City of Auburn, the YMCA, City of Seattle, and University of Washington. Alex earned her Bachelor’s degree at George Mason University in Organizational Development and Social Change and her Masters degree in Education from Seattle University.
52:07
May 28, 2019
S2/E18: The Impact of Principals on EL Programs With Professors Madeline Mavrogordato and Rachel White
How do school principals impact EL reclassification rates? Why is it important to consider the underlying spirit of policies that are passed down from above rather than simply looking at compliance? How might leaders create opportunities for school staff to engage in meaningful conversations about EL student success? We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with professors Madeline Mavrogordato and Rachel S. White.  Madeline Mavrogordato is an associate professor of K-12 educational administration in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University . She utilizes quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate how education policies shape outcomes for underserved student populations, particularly immigrants and English learners. In addition, she studies how to develop and support effective school leaders who are prepared to serve students from diverse backgrounds in today’s climate of high stakes accountability and evaluation. Her work is informed by her experience serving as a bilingual teacher in Texas and California. Mavrogordato’s work has appeared in a range of publications including Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Administration Quarterly, and Educational Policy. She currently serves as an associate editor for the American Educational Research Journal.  Dr. Rachel S. White is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Foundations and Leadership Department of Old Dominion University’s Darden College of Education and Professional Studies. Rachel teaches graduate courses in education policy & politics, as well as advanced research design and analysis. Rachel’s research agenda is framed by three areas of interest: 1) issues of power and democratic accountability in local and state education policymaking processes, 2) relationships between institutional structures and education policymaking and implementation, and 3) how school and district leaders come to understand and implement policy in ways that lead to the enactment of social justice for historically marginalized students. As such, Rachel examines the politics of education policy making and implementation, with a focus on the ways in which decisions made by political and educational leaders at the school, district and state level impact K-12 educational experiences of marginalized students.
48:45
May 21, 2019
S2/E17: The Seal of Biliteracy in Washington State - Equity, Access, and Implementation with Angela Davila and Patty Finnegan
How can state level agencies help promote the successful implementation of the Seal of Biliteracy in school districts? Why is it important to track data on who is earning the seal, and how might organizations go about doing it? What are some ways to ensure equitable access to the seal of biliteracy for all students and how are states like Washington providing resources to make that happen? We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with Angela Davila and Patty Finnegan from Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Angela Davila is the WA state World Language Program Supervisor, OSPI.  Previously she coordinated foreign language programs worldwide for the Department of Defense Education Activity in Arlington, VA. She has also served as World Language Curriculum Coach/Developer for the Bellevue School District, World Language Facilitator for the Highline School District, and Spanish teacher in Bellevue and Highline school districts for a total of 26 years. She also directed Language Immersion Camps in five languages at Camp Waskowitz in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains while working in the Highline District.  Patty’s work as a teacher, teacher educator, state-level administrator, and educational researcher continues to be fueled by her passion to serve traditionally marginalized students. She has led professional learning on effective program development and instructional practices for English learners and students with disabilities. Patty serves as Special Projects Program Supervisor with the Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Migrant & Bilingual Education office and facilitates Washington’s K-12 Dual Language Initiative.
42:16
May 14, 2019
S2/E16: Collaboration Between EL and Foreign Language (LOTE) Teachers With Anna Matis (Part 2)
How might ELL and LOTE teachers provide low stress opportunities for output? How is the concept of productive struggle different in the ELL and LOTE classroom and what can these groups learn from each other? What is the role of motivation in language learning and how might cultural input and technology help boost it? We discuss these questions and more in part 2 of our conversation with Anna Matis. Anna Matis is an educational consultant and the product development manager for Seidlitz Education. Her love of language learning stems from childhood experiences as an immigrant and ESL student herself from Budapest, Hungary. Being proficient in multiple languages, she is passionate about second language acquisition for all ages, sheltered instruction strategies, and research pertaining to heritage language learning and long-term ELLs. She has led professional development, coached teachers, and created educational products for both teachers and administrators working with ESL students. She has presented locally and nationally on best practices for quality ESL instruction, as well as effective training strategies when working with English language learners. Anna recently published the book 7 Steps to a Language-Rich, Interactive Foreign Language Classroom for LOTE teachers with John Seidlitz, and also co-authored Boosting Achievement: Reaching Students with Interrupted or Minimal Education. She began her foreign language teaching career as a high school French teacher at Aldine ISD in Houston, TX, and has worked as an ESL Instructional Coach in Round Rock ISD. Anna has an M.A. in Foreign Language Education from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Communication Studies and Art History from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX. She joined Seidlitz Education from Region 13 ESC, where she served a dual role of Bilingual/ESL Specialist and Program Manager for the Bilingual/ESL team. Be sure to subscribe to Highest Aspirations wherever you listen to podcasts so you don’t miss this episode or any of the others we have coming up!
25:57
May 7, 2019
S2/E15: Collaboration Between EL and Foreign Language (LOTE) Teachers With Anna Matis (Part 1)
Do teachers of languages other than English (or LOTE teachers) collaborate enough? What are some ways these educators could learn from one another to help build better language programs for all students? What are some common misconceptions about what it means to be a “good language teacher” and how might understanding them help our students achieve greater language competency? We discuss these questions and much more in Part 1 of a 2 Part conversation with Anna Matis.   Anna Matis is an educational consultant and the product development manager for Seidlitz Education. Her love of language learning stems from childhood experiences as an immigrant and ESL student herself from Budapest, Hungary. Being proficient in multiple languages, she is passionate about second language acquisition for all ages, sheltered instruction strategies, and research pertaining to heritage language learning and long-term ELLs. She has led professional development, coached teachers, and created educational products for both teachers and administrators working with ESL students. She has presented locally and nationally on best practices for quality ESL instruction, as well as effective training strategies when working with English language learners. Anna recently published the book 7 Steps to a Language-Rich, Interactive Foreign Language Classroom for LOTE teachers with John Seidlitz, and also co-authored Boosting Achievement: Reaching Students with Interrupted or Minimal Education.  She began her foreign language teaching career as a high school French teacher at Aldine ISD in Houston, TX, and has worked as an ESL Instructional Coach in Round Rock ISD. Anna has an M.A. in Foreign Language Education from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Communication Studies and Art History from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX. She joined Seidlitz Education from Region 13 ESC, where she served a dual role of Bilingual/ESL Specialist and Program Manager for the Bilingual/ESL team. In Part 2 of our conversation, we’ll talk more with Anna about creating low stress opportunities for language output, the role of motivation in language learning, and the importance of infusing cultural connections into instruction. Be sure to subscribe to Highest Aspirations wherever you listen to podcasts so you don’t miss this episode or any of the others we have coming up!
33:26
April 30, 2019
S2/E14: Eddie Williams and The Newcomers: Profile of an EL Teacher (Part 2)
In the second of a 2 part series, we continue our conversation with Eddie Williams, the teacher featured in Helen Thorpe’s book The Newcomers.  How might teachers handle the draw of smartphones, texting, social media in their classes, particularly when working with English learners and newcomers? What is the appropriate balance between structure and agency when working with English learners? How do effective coaches encourage new teachers to increase their impact without becoming overwhelmed? All that and what Eddie hopes readers will take away from the book.  We pick up right where we left off with a discussion about one of the most common challenges that all teachers face.  For more information about the episode and the resources Eddie recommends, please visit Ellevation's ELL Community. 
26:36
April 23, 2019
S2/E13: Eddie Williams and The Newcomers: Profile of an EL Teacher (Part 1 of 2)
How might an EL teacher and his dynamic newcomers class react to having a journalist embed herself in their classroom for an entire school year? What partnerships might they form to learn more about students and what does this tell us about the resources schools have and do not have at their disposal? What are some of the best things about working with students who come with such a wide array of backgrounds, experiences, and skills? We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with Eddie Williams.  Eddie’s newcomers class at Denver’s South High School was profiled as part of Helen Thorpe’s latest book entitled The Newcomers. In her book, Thorpe describes Eddie by stating,  “He was like a gardener, excited by seedlings. Where others might see students with limitations, or students who were lagging behind their peers, Mr. Williams saw a room filled with kids who had lived through titanic experiences, teenagers who could do anything at all, once they accepted whatever sort of history they had brought with them and grasped the full extent of the opportunity lying ahead. He often told me that he felt lucky to work in a room like this one - a room that spoke of just how big the world was, and how mysterious.”  After speaking with him as a long awaited follow up to last season’s episode with Helen Thorpe, I think this description is far superior to any bio I could provide. Humble, passionate, and thoughtful, Eddie embodies the kind of educator who helps makes a difference in students’ lives by seeing all the assets they bring to our schools and communities.  Eddie and I had a lot to discuss, so this is part 1 of a 2 part series. If you haven’t heard our conversation with Helen Thorpe, you can find it on Highest Aspirations Season 1 / Episode 19 anywhere you listen to podcasts. 
30:54
April 16, 2019
S2/E12: Reading and Writing, Motivation, Family Engagement and More with Larry Ferlazzo
What are some effective and practical ways to differentiate reading comprehension strategies for English learners? How does motivation, relationship building, and autonomy impact student growth? How might family engagement strategies like home visits help provide actionable insight leading to better reading comprehension and perhaps more importantly, a joy in reading? We discuss these topics and much more with Larry Ferlazzo.  Larry  teaches English, Social Studies and International Baccalaureate classes to English Language Learners and mainstream students at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California. He has written nine books, the latest of which is titled The ELL Teacher’s Toolbox (with co-author Katie Hull Sypnieski). He and Katie are presently, editing a series of practical classroom books for Social Studies, Science and Math teachers. They are also preparing a second edition of our The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide.  In addition, he is writing a fourth book on student motivation, Building Intrinsic Motivation in the Classroom: A Practical Guide. Larry has won several awards, including the Leadership For A Changing World Award from the Ford Foundation, and was the Grand Prize Winner of the International Reading Association Award for Technology and Reading. In the past, he has taught courses in the teacher credential program at California State University, Sacramento and the University of California – Davis. Larry also writes a popular education blog, a weekly teacher advice column for Education Week Teacher and semi-regular posts for The New York Times and The British Council. His articles on education policy appear in the Washington Post and in publications such as ASCD Educational Leadership, Social Policy, and Language Magazine. In addition, he hosts a weekly radio show on BAM! Education Radio. Larry was a community organizer for nineteen years prior to becoming a public school teacher - which is where we begin our conversation in this episode.
46:20
April 9, 2019
S2/E11: Deeper Learning for All: A Leadership Perspective with Dr. Carmen Coleman
What are some essential strategies that district leaders should put into place to make sure all students have the ability to engage in deeper learning? How can school leaders and teachers collaborate more effectively to maximize impact on diverse groups of students? What are some ways to strike the appropriate balance between structure and agency when implementing project-based learning practices? We discuss these questions and much more with Dr. Carmen Coleman, Chief Academic Officer of Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky. In 2018, Dr. Coleman launched the “What’s in Your Backpack?” video series, with each episode focusing on a specific aspect of the Backpack of Student Success Skills development. The program focuses on providing students with a backpack full of universal essential skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication. Students fill their virtual backpacks with examples of their work and defend that work during the school year. Dr. Coleman previously served as an associate clinical professor at the University of Kentucky (UK) in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies. She was the program coordinator for the Principal Preparation Program and the director of the Next Generation Leadership Academy. Before joining UK, Dr. Coleman served as superintendent of Danville Independent Schools. Previously, she was director of elementary schools in Fayette County. She began her career in Scott County, where she worked as a teacher and principal. This episode is a follow up to S1/E10, when we spoke with Jefferson County's Donna Neary about "Accelerate to Graduate", her team's project-based learning initiative that helped newcomers graduate before aging out of high school. We were curious to learn more about the role school leadership plays in implementing this kind of program. As you will hear, Dr. Coleman provided us with that and much more!
48:14
April 2, 2019
S2/E10: The Workshop Model for Reading and Writing with Valentina Gonzalez
What is the Workshop approach and how might it help English learners improve their reading and writing skills? What is the appropriate balance between direct instruction and independent student work? How might we implement workshop style activities in classes with diverse groups of learners? We discuss these questions and much more with Valentina Gonzalez. 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. She 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 and fourth grade. 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 as an independent contractor traveling to deliver professional development and working for a school district.   For more information and resources about Valentina and this topic, check out our blog post on Ellevation's ELL Community.
49:32
March 27, 2019
S2/E9: The Latest on Dual Language Programs with Conor Williams
What does the research show about how dual language programs are impacting social and academic gains for students - particularly English learners? How might we promote buy-in to these programs from those who may still be uncertain about them? What role does language learning play in ensuring educational equity and how can dual language programs help?   We discuss these topics and much more with Conor P. Williams. You may recognize the name as this is Conor’s second appearance on Highest Aspirations, and given his expertise and passion for this topic, we were happy to have him back. If you missed his previous episode, I encourage you to check it out - it is the first episode of Highest Aspirations.  Conor is a fellow at The Century Foundation, where he writes about education, immigration, early education, school choice, and work-life balance challenges for American families. He is an expert on American educational inequity, English learner students, dual immersion programs, urban education reform, and the history of progressivism. Williams was previously a senior researcher in New America’s Education Policy Program, a senior researcher in its Early Education Initiative, and the founding director of its Dual Language Learners National Work Group. He has taught postsecondary courses at Georgetown University, George Washington University, and American University. He is a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ State Policy and Research for Early Education (SPREE) Working Group. Williams is a regular columnist at the 74 Million. His work has also been published by the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Washington Post, The New Republic, Dissent, Commonwealth, The Daily Beast, Talking Points Memo, and elsewhere.
41:59
March 19, 2019
S2/E8: District Teams For Effective Family Engagement With Cabarrus County, NC
How might school districts form teams of educators with different skill sets to design and implement effective family engagement strategies? Why is it so important to create a solid action plan for family engagement and how might districts approach this work? How do family and community engagement practices positively affect EL student success in school and beyond?  We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with a great team from Cabarrus County Schools in North Carolina. In our first episode with three guests, we bring in ESL Counselor Stacey Diaz, High School ESL Teacher Emily Francis, and School Social Worker Doug Carr. As you’ll hear in our conversation, each person bring a unique skillset to best support EL students and their families in the district and community. This team based approach one of the key elements of success in Cabarrus and is replicable in other districts. As always, you can find more information on this episode and other important topics by visiting Ellevation's ELL Community.
43:16
March 12, 2019
S2/E7: 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
March 5, 2019
S2/E6: Seal of Biliteracy: Past, Present, and Future With Martha Hernandez (Part 2)
How are districts assessing criteria to achieve the Seal of Biliteracy? What supports are available for teachers with diverse groups of language learners? How can the Seal of Biliteracy help mitigate larger issues, like home language loss and equity in education? We discuss these topics and much more in part 2 of our 2 part series on the Seal of Biliteracy with Martha Hernandez of Californians Together.  If you listened to Part 1, you know that Martha is both well versed and passionate about the history, current state, and future of the Seal of Biliteracy and its impact on language learners of all types.
25:54
February 26, 2019
S2/E5: The Seal of Biliteracy: Past, Present, and Future
How has the Seal of Biliteracy evolved from a California-based grassroots movement to a highly regarded program offered in 35 states and the District of Columbia? How might offering the seal of biliteracy help school districts strengthen their language programs for all learners? What pathways and checkpoints are built into the journey toward the Seal to help guide students toward the ultimate goal of biliteracy? We discuss these topics and much more in Part 1 of our 2 part series on the Seal of Biliteracy with Martha Hernandez. Martha, the oldest of nine children, is a first-generation college graduate and a role model for her siblings who also earned university degrees and are now serving as physicians, teachers, a computer programmer, an organic chemist and a doctor of pharmacy.  She attributes her family’s success to her mother who was an unwavering advocate for her children with a strong belief in the power of public education. Martha’s lifelong support of the United Farm Workers and bilingual education has fueled her commitment to causes of equity and excellence in education especially on behalf of English learners. Her 42 years of public school experience at the classroom, school, district and county levels as well as her involvement in numerous state committees serve her well to advance the vision of Californians Together. As you’ll hear in our conversation, Martha is both well-versed and passionate about the history, current state, and future of the Seal of Biliteracy and its impact on language learners of all types. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, when Martha and I discuss how districts are assessing criteria to achieve the Seal of Biliteracy, supporting teachers with diverse groups of language learners, preventing home language loss, and much more.
27:06
February 19, 2019
S2/E4: Understanding Interpreting in Schools and Community Institutions With Michelle Gallagher
How is interpretation different from translation? When is interpreting necessary and how is it mandated in schools and other community institutions? What are some of the challenges and  pitfalls of “home grown” interpreting services? We discuss these topics and much more in our conversation with Michelle Gallagher. Michelle is the Managing Director of Cross-Cultural Communications, the leading national training organization for educational, social services and medical interpreters with more than 300 licensed trainers in 37 US States, Washington DC, Guam and six other countries. Michelle has more than 15 years of experience in facilitation and management of professional training programs for international audiences. She has taught at the Universidad Europea de Madrid and managed training organizations in Madrid and Maryland. She is also a freelance Spanish interpreter. Michelle received her BA in International Relations from Tulane University and her MBA in Marketing and General Management from the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business. She spent nine years living in Madrid, where she received her MA in Conference Interpreting at the Universidad de Cluny. Michelle has volunteered for Youth For Understanding, an international student exchange program, since 2003 and has served as the Webmaster for the National Capital Area Translators Association, a local chapter of the American Translators Association. Please take our 1 minute survey about the Highest Aspirations podcast and other resources from the ELL Community!
42:33
February 12, 2019
S2/E3: Leadership to Support Equity and Advocacy for All Students - Dr. Terri Bresnahan
How might schools districts design programs that help teachers work with growing numbers of English Language Learners? What role does technology play in helping all students get the services they need? How is equity and advocacy work connected to school leadership? We discuss these topics and much more with Dr. Terri Bresnahan. Dr. Bresnahan began her teaching career in San Bernardino, California where she taught middle school math and Kindergarten/1st grade while earning her master's degree in Educational Technology from Azusa Pacific University. After 4 years in California, she returned to the midwest as a K-5 Computer teacher and technology facilitator while earning her CAS CAS in Educational Leadership. In 2005 she took her first administrative position as Director of Technology in Addison School District 4. She worked there for 5 years while beginning her doctoral degree at National Louis University. In 2010 she accepted the role of Director of Educational Technology in Park Ridge School District 64. In 2014 she was selected as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in Berkeley School District 87 and was named Superintendent the following school year. She has served in that capacity for 4 years and is proud to call Berkeley District 87 her home.
43:51
February 5, 2019
S2/E2: Building Relationships With Immigrant Communities Through Local Cultural Immersion with Laura Gardner
How might we ensure that teachers are equipped with the empathy necessary to work with diverse groups of students? What kinds of professional development experiences are both practical and effective in supporting teachers who may not share the experiences of their students? What are simple steps anyone can take to learn more about cultural and linguistic diversity in their communities? We discuss these questions and much more with Laura Gardner.  Laura has 16 years of experience working in public education, refugee resettlement, and social work.  While in public education, she worked as a district level manager for immigrant family and community engagement as well as a school social worker. Laura also worked for Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS) managing their national technical assistance initiative to federal Refugee School Impact Grantees.  Laura has facilitated professional development on building the capacity of teachers and school systems to engage immigrant families in their children’s education, language access, cultural competency, equity, unaccompanied immigrant children, immigrant family reunification, and refugee resettlement.  Laura holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in Education.       
38:25
January 30, 2019
S2/E1: Meaningful Academic Conversations With Jeff Zwiers
How might we help our English Language Learners engage in quality academic conversations? What supports do teachers of ELLs need to promote these kinds of conversations? How do academic conversations tie into college and career readiness? We kick off Season 2 of Highest Aspirations with these questions and much more in a conversation with Jeff Zwiers. Jeff is a senior researcher at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and the Director of Professional Development for Understanding Language, a research and professional learning effort focused on improving instruction and assessment of English learners and other diverse students. He consults for national and international teacher development projects that promote language, literacy, lesson design, and formative assessment practices. Jeff’s research focuses on developing classroom instruction that fosters high-quality oral language and constructive conversations across disciplines. Many listeners will be familiar with his book Academic Conversations, which provides clear ways to support students in developing authentic, meaningful classroom conversation skills. Zwiers' research and work has impacted tens of thousands of classrooms across the country in providing equitable access to grade-level content for all learners, reflective of college-and-career readiness standards.
44:39
January 23, 2019
Season 1 Finale: Reflecting and Looking Ahead
In this short episode, we recap Season 1 and preview what we have planned for Season 2 - coming in January, 2019. Thanks to all our listeners and guests for your contributions to our first season. On behalf of everyone at Ellevation, we wish you a happy holiday season! Check out all 30 Season 1 episodes wherever you listen to podcasts and discover more great content at https://ellevationeducation.com/ell-community.
03:58
December 12, 2018
S1/E28: School Spotlight: How Nebraska's Lincoln HS Supports Linguistic and Cultural Diversity
How has Lincoln High School designed and implemented systems to foster a welcoming environment for students that collectively speak over 30 different languages? What might schools do to ensure that all students, including ELLs and newcomers, have access to a wide variety of courses? How can home grown “cultural liaisons" help promote family and community engagement while also enhancing the teacher candidate pipeline? We discuss these questions and much more with Maira Méndez Rodríguez of Lincoln High School in Lincoln, Nebraska. As an instructional coordinator, Maira is an appraiser for teachers, test coordinator, and also coordinates parent engagement events. Another important part of her role includes student discipline for ELL students. To meet the needs of this diverse population of students, she works closely with the ELL team made up of a counselor, advocate, bilingual liaisons, teachers and other district staff. As part of her parent engagement role, she and her colleagues have collaborated with liaisons to host informational family nights in the native languages of the parents and guardians of LHS students. Prior to becoming an instructional coordinator, Maira taught Spanish and ELL classes to middle and high school students. Maira decided to pursue administration in hopes of having a greater impact on students’ educational journey beyond her classroom. She believes a strong partnership with the parents of students and the community is an asset in ensuring student success.
40:04
November 29, 2018
S1/E27: Family Engagement Strategies That Work: Home Visits, Site Visits, and More with Jamie Combs
What are some best practices to overcome challenges and ensure successful home visits for families of EL students? How might we set up activities outside of school (in neutral locations) so that families can come together? How can districts use creative funding approaches to pay for these programs? How can educators get started with this important work? We discuss these questions and much more with Jamie Combs. Jamie Combs is a National Board Certified ELL Teacher in her 14th year teaching ELL students at Northern Elementary in Lexington, KY. She also teaches future ELL teachers in ESL Methods courses online for Asbury University in Wilmore, KY. This is the second in a two part series featuring Katie Frances and Jamie Combs, who work collaboratively to maximize impact on ELLs and their families in Fayette County, Kentucky.
30:40
November 21, 2018
S1/E26: EL Student Spotlight: A Conversation With Take the Pledge Scholarship Winner Maria Perez
Where are our Take the Pledge Scholarship winners now? How did their high school experiences prepare them for college life? What have they learned that they can now share with others? In this bonus episode, we speak with Maria Perez, a recent high school graduate from Tulsa, Oklahoma. We discuss her experience as an English Language Learner, the importance of family and teacher support, future plans, and even the profound influence of Don Quijote. Maria was the recipient of one of five $2,000 scholarships that Ellevation awarded to deserving English Language Learners to help them pursue their dream of a higher education. The scholarship is a result of our Take the Pledge initiative. The idea is simple: for each person who takes the pledge to advocate for ELLs, Ellevation adds $1 to the scholarship fund. If you haven’t taken the pledge yet, please visit takethepledge.net and help support students like Maria, who is currently finishing her first semester at the University of Oklahoma.
17:37
November 19, 2018
S1/E25: Sharing Cultural Information With Content Teachers of ELs With Katie Frances
How can EL teachers best learn about the sometimes complicated cultural backgrounds of their students? How might they confront the challenge of ensuring that other teachers and staff also have efficient access to this information? What cultural information is most important for content teachers (particularly those who do not have EL training) and how might EL teachers go about sharing it? We discuss these questions and much 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. We’ll hear from Jamie in our next episode, which focuses on home visits for families of English Language Learners.
35:05
November 14, 2018
S1/E24: Innovative Professional Learning Model for EL Educators with Kristina Soprano
How might we design professional learning opportunities that provide both a quality, personalized learning pathway and a path to licensure to work with English Language Learners? What are some of the advantages of utilizing blended and personalized learning strategies to bring diverse cohorts of educators together around ELL instruction? How can partnerships forged between school districts and local universities help move the needle on professional learning that will ultimately benefit the students we serve? We discuss these questions and more with Kristina Soprano. Kristina is the Director of the ESL Teacher Certification Program at Roger Williams University, University College. Prior joining University College at RWU, Kristina served as an ELL Coordinator for a charter school in MA, and also taught English learners at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Kristina has also enjoyed supporting other educators with developing their knowledge and skills surrounding English learner education. She is an advocate for linguistically responsive and collaborative teaching models that embrace the assets that all learners bring to school.
40:03
November 7, 2018
S1/BONUS: Dispatches from the WIDA Conference: Recorded in Detroit
In this bonus episode, we bring you conversations from the annual WIDA Conference that took place in Detroit. We brought some guests over to our booth talk about ELL instruction, the ELL Community, and the conference itself. Thanks to the following people for joining us: Anna Matis and Carol Salva from Seidlitz Education Amanda Rodriguez and Brandi Smith from Alabaster City Schools, AL Jess Bell from Warren Township, IN Carlota Holder from Enlace Academy, IN Katherine Galvagni from Henderson County Schools, VA
23:29
October 31, 2018
S1/E23: Blended Strategies for Sharing Best Practices in EL Instruction with Bret Gosselin
How might we leverage technology to facilitate collaboration and professional development across educational teams working with ELLs? What are some simple tech tools that can be used to bring people together easily and efficiently? How might we overcome the fear of using new tools to increase collaboration? We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with Bret Gosselin. Bret has been a high school educator serving ELs for thirteen years. During that time he has worked with newcomers through LTELs both as a teacher and a specialist. He is passionate about seeing these students meet with success and loves collaborating with teachers in attaining this shared vision. Bret currently serves as EL Instructional Specialist at Garland ISD in Texas. He is passionate about seeing these students meet with success and loves collaborating with teachers in attaining this shared vision.
35:44
October 31, 2018
S1/E17: Homes: A Refugee Story - with Abu Bark al Rabeeah
In this episode, we speak with Abu Bakr a-Rabia about how how his journey to Canada as a Syrian refugee became a book written by his teacher Winnie Yeung. Abu Bakr talks with us about learning English, adapting to a very different life in Canada, and why it was so important for him to tell his story. Despite the struggles he and his family endured, his message is one of positivity and praise for the human spirit. When asked what advice he would give to teachers, ELL students, and school leaders Abu Bakr began by saying, “I would say it doesn’t matter where they are from or what they went through - they will come through it. All they need is a little bit of time to learn the language. Don’t let news or social media make a fear connection between you or make a bridge between each other. I would say communicate as humans. It is very hard at the beginning for both people - the one who speaks English and the other - because they don’t understand each other. But after they get to know each other more, they will know what the newcomer needs." As you’ll hear in the episode, reading the book Homes: A Refugee Story left a lasting impression on us. For that reason and many more, we were honored to speak with this remarkable young man. Homes: A Refugee Story tells the true story of Edmonton high school student Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, whose family left Iraq in 2010 in search of a safer life. They moved to Homs, Syria — just before the Syrian civil war broke out. As told to Winnie Yeung, Homes tells Bakr’s story of growing up during the Syrian civil war, and ultimately moving with his family to a new home in Edmonton, Canada. It’s a story that’s both heartbreaking and hopeful, about the devastation of war and the enduring love of family — an urgently necessary read for understanding Syria and what it’s like to be a refugee.
28:38
October 17, 2018
Homes: A Refugee Story - Author and ESL Teacher Winnie Yeung
What happens when an ESL teacher helps a refugee student tell his story? How can relating simple, day to day activities in a war-torn country help us understand that people around the world have more similarities than differences? Why is it so important to understand what our students want to do with their learning? We discuss these questions and much more in Part 1 of a two part series about the book Homes: A Refugee Story. Winnie Yeung, an ESL teacher in Edmonton, met Abu Bakr in the fall of 2015. What started as an attempt to help tell this refugee student’s story in a speech turned into a much bigger project, resulting in the publication of the book. "Homes: A Refugee Story tells the true story of Edmonton high school student Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, whose family left Iraq in 2010 in search of a safer life. They moved to Homs, Syria — just before the Syrian civil war broke out. As told to Winnie Yeung, Homes tells Bakr’s story of growing up during the Syrian civil war, and ultimately moving with his family to a new home in Edmonton, Canada. It’s a story that’s both heartbreaking and hopeful, about the devastation of war and the enduring love of family — an urgently necessary read for understanding Syria and what it’s like to be a refugee." (Freehand Books - Interview with Winnie Yeung, about Homes: A Refugee Story: http://www.freehand-books.com/books/homes-a-refugee-story/interview-with-winnie-yeung-about-homes-a-refugee-story) Be sure to listen to part 2 of the series (Episode 22) where we talk with Abu Bakr al-Rabeeah about his experience as a refugee who was given the opportunity to tell his story.
36:19
October 10, 2018
S1/E22: Music, Technology, and ELLs with Sarah Minette
How can making and sharing music bring together diverse groups of students? What skills does an educator need to incorporate tech tools to help students create culturally relevant and academically appropriate products? How can teachers of any subject leverage the power of music and technology nurture strong classroom and school communities? We discuss these questions and more with Sarah Minette. Sarah has taught for 14 years in public schools. She currently teaches a variety of music classes at Minneapolis South High School-a very large and diverse school in the heart of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sarah is in the process of developing as many classes as possible to create multiple access points for students at South to experience music education.
45:35
October 3, 2018
S1/E21: Empowering Refugees and Newcomers - Refuge Coffee
What gaps exist between resettled refugees and their communities and how might we go about bridging them? How can the simple act of spending time with one another in a common space help break down barriers? Why is it so important to move toward an asset based approach with newcomers and what they bring to our communities? In this episode, we are joined by Kitti Murray and Walt Anderson of Refuge Coffee. They talk with us about how Refuge is empowering refugees to use their many gifts to help create a vibrant community in Clarkston, Georgia - a town that has been called the most diverse square mile in the United States. By pursuing their goal to provide employment and job training opportunities to resettled refugees, creating a unique, welcoming gathering place in Clarkston, and telling a more beautiful refugee story to Atlanta, Refuge Coffee is on a mission to bridge the opportunity gap, the hospitality gap, and the awareness gap.
45:44
September 26, 2018
S1/E20: ELLs with Disabilities - Dr. Sara Kangas
How are schools accommodating English Language Learners with disabilities? What are some of the common challenges when working with these students and how might we overcome them? What impacts do EL and disability status have on reclassification or exiting? We discuss these questions and much more with Dr. Sara Kangas of Lehigh University. As an applied linguist, Dr. Kangas researches the educational experiences of English learners (ELs) with disabilities. Focusing on K-12 contexts, she is particularly interested in understanding how schools can create learning environments that support both the linguistic and academic needs of these learners. Dr. Kangas’ research also examines how educational equity for ELs with disabilities intersects with language policies and institutional structures.
33:38
September 19, 2018
S1/E19: Author Helen Thorpe Discusses Her New Book - The Newcomers
In this episode, award winning journalist Helen Thorpe joins us to discuss her most recent book, The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom. The book follows the lives of twenty-two teenagers from around the world over the course of one school year as they land at South High School in Denver, Colorado, in a beginner-level English Language Acquisition class. Many arrive directly from refugee camps, some after having lost one or both parents; together, their class represents a microcosm of the global refugee crisis as a whole. The Newcomers tells the story of what happens during the students’ first year in America, and it follows the journeys of three families in particular—from Iraq, Burma, and the Democratic Republic of Congo—illuminating what life is like in refugee-producing parts of the world. The book was published by Scribner in 2017.
48:03
September 12, 2018
S1/E18: Preparing ELL Teachers to be Teacher Leaders
What opportunities exist for ELL Specialists to work as coaches to help content teachers better serve their English Language Learners? What strategies have proven successful and sustainable for supporting students in the long term? What are some of the obstacles that make this work challenging and how can anticipating them help maximize impact? We discuss these questions and more with Michelle Benegas and Amy Stolpestad, founders of the English Learners in the Mainstream or ELM project at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. Learn more about Michelle and Amy and the resources they recommend during out conversation at https://ellevationeducation.com/podcast/highest-aspirations-s01-e16.
41:12
September 5, 2018
S1/E14: EL Students Create Their Own Podcast with James Housworth
How might a teacher use podcasts as a way to increase language skills of EL students? How can creating podcast episodes help newcomers become engaged contributors to their school communities? How can telling stories about family experiences in this format enhance cultural responsive practices? We discuss these questions and more with James Housworth, creator of the Hidden Voices Podcast. James is a a high school EL teacher in Roseville, Minnesota. He works with both ends of the EL spectrum, teaching newcomer SLIFE students (Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education) as well as advanced LTELs (Long-Term English Learners). James is currently researching the differences between L1 and L2 literacy acquisition to finish his Masters in Education at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
38:14
August 29, 2018
S1/E13: ESSA's Impact on ELL Programs - David Holbrook of TransACT
What are the implications of ESSA on ELL programs and instruction?What specifically are Title 1 and Title 3 administrators going to observe in the coming months? And how about principals and teachers? How is the K-12 world we know going to change in 2018-2019? We discuss these questions and more as Ellevation President and Co-Founder founder Teddy Rice sits down with Dr. David Holbrook of TransACT Parent Notices. We handed over the mic the Teddy - our in house policy wonk - for this episode because he is well-versed in ESSA, which led to a rich conversation with David.
42:20
August 22, 2018
S1/E15: Using Technology to Engage EL Families with Heejae Lim
What are some of the barriers to family engagement in underserved communities? How can using basic technology help educators better engage with families of English Language Learners? How do we go about changing mindsets and perceptions of families who may not have had positive experiences with formal education or those who have limited education in US schools? We discuss these questions and more in our conversation with Heejae Lim. Heejae is the founder and Executive Director of Talking Points, an educational technology company whose mission is to drive student success in low-income, diverse areas through building strong partnerships across parents, schools, and communities. As she mentions in the episode, Heejae was influenced to start the company by her personal experience as a Korean immigrant living in London. We get into that and much more in our conversation.
33:52
August 15, 2018
S1/BONUS: What the Heck is a "Hackathon" with Eric Wong
Many team members here at Ellevation Education recently participated in the company's 5th annual Hackathon. In this bonus episode, Steve sits down with Ellevation's VP of Engineering Eric Wong to learn more about what it is and why we do it.
17:37
August 2, 2018
S1/E12: Canadian Perspective on ELLs with Paula Markus
How do ELL programs and instruction differ in Canada? What supports are in place to help newcomers and their families succeed in their new country? How do educational systems in Canada support diverse populations of students? We discuss these topics and more with Paula Markus, former ESL Coordinator for the Toronto School Board and Sessional Lecturer at the University of Toronto.
47:03
August 1, 2018
S1/E11: ELL Teacher Leadership with Dr. Russell and Dr. Von Esch
How do schools go about identifying and developing EL teacher leaders to help other educators work with culturally and linguistically diverse students? What strategies have been most successful in developing these EL teacher leaders? How do schools create a culture in which EL teachers can lead the way and serve as experts in their field? We discuss these questions as they relate to pre-service programs, professional development, co-teaching models and more in our conversation with Dr. Felice Russell from Ithaca University and Dr. Kerry Soo Von Esch from Seattle University.
40:31
July 18, 2018
S1/E10: Project Based Learning and Newcomers with Donna Neary
How can project based learning strategies help accelerate the learning of ELLs? What kind of community partnerships work best when implementing project based learning in schools? How might teachers facilitate learning outside of the schools in ways that are mutually beneficial to students and community members? We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with Donna M. Neary. Donna teaches high school Social Studies to English learners in Louisville, Kentucky. She is part of a team that piloted the Accelerate to Graduate program at her school. Donna’s role on the team is to teach US History, World History, Exploring Civics, Global Issues, and Humanities. Her concentration on the importance of field trips to student learning is firmly rooted in her experiences guiding tours for students and observing the impact that being in proximity to art, history and authentic artifacts has on development of students critical thinking skills and cognition.
41:23
July 3, 2018
S1/E7: School Leadership Profile: Building Exelencia Academy - Ruben Alonzo
What does it take to build a new school from the ground up in a high ELL demographic area? How do school leadership and mission driven initiatives impact the culture of the school? How does a new school recruit, train, and retain highly qualified teachers to work with underserved populations? We discuss these questions and much more with Ruben Alonzo, Founder of Excelencia Charter Academy in East Los Angeles, California. Ruben talks with us about how his profound personal and professional experiences influenced him to leave Texas and start his own school in Los Angeles. During the conversation, we learn about leadership, planning, professional development, and innovative school models. Just as importantly, Ruben’s contagious passion and dedication to this work serves as an inspiration for anyone who works with underserved communities.
32:40
June 20, 2018
S1/E6: Cultural Responsiveness with Sarah Said
What is cultural responsiveness and how can schools and teachers integrate it into their practice? How do we weave cultural responsiveness into lesson planning, grouping, and assessment? What role does professional development have in ensuring educators are equipped with culturally sensitive strategies? We discuss these questions and more with Sarah Said. Sarah has fifteen years of experience working with English Learners from all parts of the world in the Chicago land area as a teacher, building administrator, and District Level Director of English Learner/Bilingual programs. She sits on the Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education, where she is about to complete the first year of her three year term. Sarah is a regular blogger for ELL Confianza. Her work has also appeared in Ed Week blogs and Mawi Learning. ​
38:05
June 8, 2018
S1/E9: Professional Learning and Much More with Emily Francis
How can ELL stakeholders tap into the power of Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) on Twitter and beyond? What should ELL teachers do to be viewed as experts and advocates in their schools? What resources are most powerful for those just getting started? We discuss these questions and much more with Emily Francis. Emily is an English as a Second Language teacher at W.M. Irvin Elementary School in Concord, North Carolina. She serves students in Kindergarten through fifth grade with various English proficiency levels. Emily’s experience as an English Language Learner inspired her to become an ESL teacher and affords her a deep understanding of the challenges her students must overcome to find success. She serves as a professional development facilitator, motivational speaker, Keynote, ESL PLC lead, cooperating teacher, and mentor to beginning ESL teachers. As a leader, Emily’s focus is to inspire students to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.
39:34
June 7, 2018
S1/E8: SIFE Students and Rigor with Carol Salva
What does rigor mean for students with interrupted formal education (SIFE)? How do we recognize and leverage the experiences newcomers bring to improve the education of all students? Why is it important that educators embrace a mindset that constantly challenges beliefs about students and what they are capable of? We discuss these topics and much more in our conversation with Carol Salva. Carol is a former elementary educator and has most recently taught newcomer English Language Development in both high school and middle school. She is also a consultant with Seidlitz Education, where she specializes in using researched-based sheltered strategies to teach grade-level content to unschooled/under-schooled language learners. With proven success including these students in content area classes, Carol is able to support teachers to make these efforts practical and to the betterment of the general population.
46:44
June 6, 2018
S1/E5: Community Engagement with Anna Leversee of Enroot Education
How do we engage English Language Learners in community programs? What supports are effective in helping immigrant students thrive beyond the school walls? How might we partner with outside organizations to create mutually beneficial programs for communities and newcomers? We dive into these questions and much more as we continue our series on family and community engagement with Anna Leversee. Anna manages the Enroot program in Somerville, MA. Enroot’s mission is to empower immigrant youth to achieve academic, career, and personal success through inspiring out-of-school experiences. A firm believer in quality education for all, Anna is energized by working with people who volunteer their time and talents to make this goal a reality. We chat with Anna about the power of partnering with community organizations to help immigrant youth reach their highest aspirations.
24:56
May 23, 2018
S1/E3: Family Engagement With Stephany Cuevas of Harvard Graduate School of Education
What does the research say about family and community engagement and its correlation with academic achievement? How can school leaders help teachers implement family engagement strategies that work for diverse groups of students? What can schools to to get started with this important work? On this episode, we are pleased to welcome Stephany Cuevas as we continue with our series on family and community engagement. Stephany is a doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research focuses on the relationships mixed-status families and undocumented parents have with systems and structures of higher education; she studies how immigration status and notions of legalization influence and shape families’ perceptions, understandings, and relationships with higher education.
40:52
May 9, 2018
S1/E2: Cooking up Family & Community Engagement for ELLs
How can schools and communities come together to support immigrant students and families? How do we go beyond the open house at school and bring people together in new ways? Renata Germino started the Bridges Through Bread program in Charlottesville, VA to bring a diverse group of people together around a universal topic - food. We chat with her not only about how we can help immigrant families, but also about how they can help us.
29:51
April 25, 2018
S1/E4: Exemplary Dual Language Programs - DC Bilingual
What does it take to run a successful dual language program? How can schools find teachers and resources while also striking the appropriate balance of students who most benefit from these programs? We tackle these questions and more with Daniela Anello, Head of School at DC Bilingual Charter Public Charter School. DC Bilingual has one of the largest percentages of ELLs in the district, but it is also among the 3 highest performing K-5 schools. Join us as we will explore some of the keys to their success.
34:09
April 11, 2018
S1/E1: Talking Dual Language with Dr. Conor Williams
How do we navigate all the buzzwords, acronyms, and definitions of Dual Language learners and programs? What are the benefits to these programs for English Language Learners, Dual Language Learners, and native English speakers? What are the challenges schools and communities are facing in implementing them and how can we begin solving them? We tackle these questions and more as we kick off our series on Dual Language Programs with Dr. Conor P. Williams. Conor is a senior researcher in New America's Education Policy Program where he founded the organization's Dual Language Learners National Work Group in 2014. His work addresses policies and practices related to educational equity, dual language learners, immigration, and school choice. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, U.S. News and World Report, among many others. Before joining New America, Conor taught first grade in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. You can find a full transcription of this episode here.
36:24
March 28, 2018