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ESSA: What Does it Really Mean for Your EL Program

As state and school district leaders prepare for the roll-out of the Every Student Succeeds Act, Teddy Rice, Ellevation’s co-founder and in-house policy wonk, provides practical takeaways regarding the impact on ELL Programs this coming school year. 

This session has been designed to educate ELL professionals on four specific implications: 

1) School Accountability 
2) Extended Monitoring 
3) Emphasis on Effectiveness 
4) Quality Professional Development

You can find the slides here for reference. 

During the webinar, Teddy answers many important questions, including the ones below.

Q: Is the option for schools to opt out of including monitored students in sub-group reporting made at the SEA or LEA level?
The key question is, “how effective is our EL programming?” Whether there is a state level requirement that you include the monitored students to determine that judgment, or whether it’s at the LEA level, either way you’re going to want to know that information for your own program sake. LEAs have important obligation to evaluate their ELL data, both including and excluding monitored students.

Q: Any recommendations for what should be included in professional development plans for bilingual teachers?
 Whatever PD that you invest in, bilingual programs, dual languages programs, etc will be particularly in focus for ESSA and the state monitors in your respective states. If I were running bilingual programs in a school district, I would be putting more energy into understanding effectiveness of bilingual and dual language than anything else. In part because, there's a lot of excellent literature and research that supports the effectiveness of biliteracy and bilingual programing on the other hand, it's a big district investment. People are going to be under the microscope to show effectiveness and that this in fact does work. Whatever you do, make sure you’re really putting parameters around it so that you can measure the effectiveness of your program.

Q: Any important information regarding ELLs with disabilities?
If you look at the topic of effectiveness and look at what is required of Title III programs, there is now a lot of requirements and support for tracking ELL subgroups. This goes into effectiveness because one of the things people realize is that "ELL" is a really broad group, including ELLs that are long-term, dual identified and also have an IEP, arrived in country with interrupted formal education. It’s very important that districts track at a great level of depth the performance of their ELLs, not only at that high level but each those sub groups. It’s quite important that everyone in the district understand and can evaluate quickly how ells with IEPs performing relative to other categories. Same would be true for LTELs, SIFE students, etc.