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How might we train ELL Specialists 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.
Amy O'Connor Stolpestad, M.Ed. serves as the Director of the ELM Project at Hamline University. She is a licensed K-12 ESL teacher and experienced teacher educator. After earning her Masters of Education degree at the University of Minnesota, she went on to teach elementary ESL in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Public School districts. Stolpestad began her work in teacher education at the University of Minnesota in 2004, where she taught a course for mainstream teachers titled Working with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners in the Mainstream. Most recently, Stolpestad worked in educational non-profit, serving as a program director and executive director. During this time, she gained extensive experience writing, managing, budgeting for, and reporting on private, corporate, and government grants. Stolpestad is currently working on a doctorate degree in Organizational Change and Leadership at the University of Southern California.
Michelle Benegas, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Her TEDX Talk entitled Confessions: New Teacher of Newcomers tells of her early experiences teaching ESL to Minnesota’s newcomer population. In addition to her work in ESL teacher preparation, she is also the principal investigator of the ELM (English Learners in the Mainstream) Project, a US Department of Education funded initiative that seeks to ensure that all teachers are prepared to meet the needs of English learners through ESL teacher leadership.
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