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ELLCon TX: Recap and Resources

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What do you get when you bring together dozens of ELL educators to discuss ELL program management and instruction? The answer - ELLCon TX.

With partnership from Seildlitz Education and dozens of passionate ELL leaders from 30 Texas school districts, we set out to enhance collaboration among ELL stakeholders.

Setting the Tone

From the early planning stages of ELLCon TX, we knew we wanted to do something different - something that would transcend a typical day of PD and highlight the value of collaboration to overcome challenges. With that in mind, we began our day with spaghetti, marshmallows, tape, and some string.

Much like in a classroom of diverse learners, our opening activity serves as an opportunity for participants to begin building relationships and forming a learning community.  After the winners were crowned, Ellevation CEO and cofounder Jordan Meranus took an opportunity to congratulate our winners and debrief the activity by discussing the importance a sharing experiences and embracing the philosophy of try, refine, improve. Try using the spaghetti tower marshmallow challenge in your next PD event - or in your classroom!

Long Term ELs - Overcoming Barriers

A significant challenge that districts in Texas and beyond are facing is overcoming barriers with long term ELs. During our first session of the day, Ellevation Enterprise Accounts Director Lauren Dill focused on the variety of challenges associated with these students and shared best practices for supporting them. She leveraged the collective knowledge and experience of the room to open a dialogue on what is still needed to improve outcomes for these students. Partipants walked away with resources and actionable strategies to use as they begin the new school year.

Maximizing Progress and Closing the Opportunity Gap: Mindset Matters

We were proud to have Carol Salva with us for the day as a representative of Seidlitz Education, our ELLCon TX partner. Carol led a session focused on the importance of mindset when working with newcomers. A master of telling stories to inform and inspire teachers, she provided authentic student examples and actionable strategies to get participants thinking about the power of mindset in teaching and learning. If you know Carol or follow her on Twitter, you know she loves sharing resources - you can access her materials from ELLCon TX here

ESSA’s Impact on ELLs

One big change that ELL administrators and school leaders will face this year is ESSA’s impact on ELL program management and instruction. While we understand the importance of federal education policies, we also recognize that getting information about them to key stakeholders can be a difficult process. To shed some light on ESSA and ELLs, Ellevation CEO Jordan Meranus led a session on how we believe it will affect our work. While many participants indicated that they did not know a lot about ESSA before the session, they left ELLCon TX feeling empowered by the information that Jordan shared during this session.

Looking Back and Moving Forward

We learned a lot from ELLCon TX, not only through the sessions we attended and the connections we made, but also about the power of bringing together in a blended environment. Not everyone who wanted to come to this free event could make it to Austin on July 24th, but anyone can access the learning we experienced through the enthusiastic tweets by a diverse groups of learners. We encourage you to check out the many contributions by visiting the hashtag #ELLConTX. 

Looking ahead, we will continue to organize in-person ELLCon events around the country, and we hope to see many of you in person. But if you can’t make it, we’ll have you covered during and after our sessions. Where would you like the next ELLCon to take place? Let us know by leaving a comment below!