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Principals Discuss English Learner Roadmap Implementation

Statewide Training Benefits Multilingual English Learners

Large group of people posing

A group of school leaders from across the state met at SCOE in January to discuss the progress of the EL RISE! partnership.

The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) actively promotes a sense of belonging for every student, family, educator, and employee, and is a recognized champion for English learners. SCOE runs the popular USA Learns website. It was built to help adults learn English and prepare for U.S. citizenship. SCOE’s Multilingual Education Leadership Network (MELN) supports local educational agencies as they build capacity to support multilingual-English learner students. SCOE also offers language exams and recognizes high school students countywide through the Seal of Biliteracy program.

Last month, SCOE hosted a group of school leaders from across the state to discuss the progress of the EL RISE! partnership (English Learner Roadmap Implementation for System Excellence), a grant-funded initiative to help implement the California English Learner Roadmap Policy. As part of the participation in the EL RISE grant, one to two districts were selected for the implementation and these districts invited the lead school principals to participate in the meeting. The school administrators discussed the challenges they’ve faced, shared effective strategies and lessons learned, and reviewed their experiences leading the statewide reform.

Feedback was positive, with one participant, Lindsey Lilley, Ed.D., from Elk Grove USD, mentioning that she appreciated “learning from others and reflecting on how we are supporting our multilingual students.” A similar forum for district superintendents will be held this April. A final report about the accomplishments of EL RISE! is expected to be released in June, including case studies and recommended next steps.

About the EL RISE! Partnership

EL RISE! involves regional leaders who are facilitating training for local schools and districts to help them meet the needs of multilingual-English learner students across the state. Support includes professional learning for those in a variety of education roles, including information on developing local implementation plans.

The goal is for educators to better understand how to build a system that recognizes English learners as assets, creating more inclusive and responsive school cultures and building sustainable systems. The effort is being led by Californians Together, a statewide coalition focused on improving schooling for English learners by promoting equitable educational policy.

The Sacramento and Yolo County Offices of Education are the leads for the Northern Region of California. As a regional county lead, SCOE convened a cross-departmental team representing 15 departments from across the organization to build a common understanding of the English learner policy and how they can best provide services responsive to the needs of English learners within their context. The teamwork acknowledges that it takes the whole system to make systemic change.

SCOE EL RISE! Contributions

SCOE was selected in 2020 to be one of four regional “anchor” partners (from a total of 20 county offices of education participating) in the three-year EL RISE! partnership. It trained more than 900 educators on the EL Roadmap Policy in the first two years of the partnership, including preschool through high school staff, administrators, superintendents, board members, and parents. A variety of topics have been covered in a series of more than 130 training sessions. Training materials, modeling, samples, and videos were provided so that participants could share them with others at their schools and districts.

Feedback has been positive with participants reporting that they now understand the policy better and know how to implement strategies that support English learners by leveraging their home language(s). “Thank you for this well-planned series of workshops and all the resources. I think parents will find it all very meaningful and affirming” one participant commented. “I appreciate walking away with the tools in hand, ready to go,” said another.

About the CA English Learner Roadmap Policy

In 2017, the State Board of Education created the California English Learner Roadmap Policy to improve education for the more than 1 million English learners who attend school in California. The policy is meant to help English learners from early childhood through grade twelve attain high levels of English proficiency, master grade-level standards, and have opportunities to develop proficiency in multiple languages.