Beyond Core Expectations: A Schoolwide Framework for Serving the Not-So-Common Learner

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Maria G. Dove, Andrea Honigsfeld & Audrey Cohan

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    Praise for Beyond Core Expectations: A Schoolwide Framework for Serving the Not-So-Common Learner

    “A first-rate navigational manual, both timeless and pragmatic, for assuring college and career readiness for our not-so-common learners!”

    —Barbara MarlerThe Illinois Resource Center

    “Through-out this practical and insightful volume, the perceptive authors provide insights, strategies, and examples of the high impact practices that schools can take to help ensure that all students have access to the more rigorous expectations of the Common Core. Ideally, when implemented with fidelity, these practices will help students not just meet, but exceed expectations.”

    —B.R. JonesWaynesboro, Mississippi

    “Whereas other educators throw up their hands when confronted with responding to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in ways that include diverse learners, Dove, Honigsfeld, and Cohan throw down the gauntlet, making a compelling case for how all learners can be brought along not only to meet the CCSS, but to do so in a way that respects the CCSS’ original intentions. I’m inspired.”

    —Brock BradyUS Peace CorpsWashington, DC 20526

    “School leaders will find the design and layout of the book as a resourceful framework to foster an inclusive academic culture. The ‘promising practices’ and ‘look fors’ within each chapter are extremely critical to assist school leaders in first evaluating building level practices and then providing a model to design a local plan of instruction and assessment. In the midst of this national conversation about school reform and Common Core, Dove, Honigsfeld, and Cohan refocus our attention squarely where it should always remain . . . on the needs of not-so-common learners.”

    —Byron A. BookerAustin-East Magnet High SchoolKnox County Schools, TN

    “This book is a treasure trove of resources for all educators searching for effective strategies for teaching to the diverse needs of students. Through real-life vignettes, the authors provide guidance in developing a framework for success with all learners through a school-wide literacy plan, explicit instruction and scaffolding tailored to students’ needs, collaborative planning and assessment, and an integrated, relevant curriculum aligned with the Common Core Standards. This book will challenge you to examine your current beliefs and practices; and it will inspire you to renew your mission and commitment to the success of all learners, including the academically, culturally and linguistically diverse.”

    —Cecilia CandrevaJohn Street Elementary SchoolFranklin Square, NY

    “Beyond Core Expectations is the perfect companion to Common Core for the Not-So-Common Learner, where one can find a wealth of instructional strategies for English Learners, SIFE (Students with Interrupted Formal Education), students with disabilities, and other diverse learners. Dove, Honigsfeld, and Cohan help educators navigate the current ‘curricular chaos’ surrounding the implementation of the Common Core by outlining a framework for collaborative shared leadership among faculty and administrators to meet the specific needs of all learners. A valuable resource and guide for all educators, Beyond Core Expectations is a must read for school-based and district wide Professional Learning Communities examining best ways to design and integrate curriculum for their not-so-common learners.”

    —Connie DziombackMount Vernon City SchoolsMount Vernon, OH

    “This book clearly identifies the research, the approach, and the uncommon commitment necessary for today’s educators to fully engage their students and communities as partners and participants in achieving academic success for all learners. The book provides the reader with case studies, literature reviews, “toolkit” resources, and step-by-step processes that go beyond the implementation of the CCSS. These research-based processes guide school leaders to be aware and intentional about equity and access opportunities for students who are too often underserved or need to be served differently. The authors don’t stop with presenting the challenge for change; they provide the framework for a new mindset that serves the not-so-common students in not-so-common ways.”

    —Delores Lindsey

    “School administrators are challenged with leading teachers in the use of common core standards with far too few resources. Fortunately, the authors of Beyond Core Expectations present an important resource for school leaders. This book provides a school-wide framework for teaching diverse learners in today’s common core learning environment. Authors present a tangible process for engaging teachers in professional development of peers—a key step toward developing a school climate conducive to common core implementation.”

    —Elfreda V. BlueHofstra University

    “Every school has ‘not-so-common’ learners that deserve a high quality education. We all know who they are, but struggle to create the ideal learning environment such that they flourish. We need a plan, a path, some guidance, or really just some help. We have found that in this book. The authors provide a framework for teaching and learning that leaders can use to guide their schools toward success.”

    —Douglas FisherSan Diego State University

    “In Beyond Core Expectations, Dove, Honigsfeld, and Cohan take systems thinking around the CCSS to heart. The six-stage paradigm shift that is presented allows school systems to work with laser focus around meeting the needs of all students within the rigorous demands of the Common Core. This book also successfully builds upon the Beyond Core series by bringing to life the key shifts that must be made to meet the needs of the not-so-common learner throughout their schooling experience.”

    —Ivannia Sotohittier College

    “With the contribution of Beyond Core Expectations, Dove, Honigsfeld, and Cohan skillfully guide educational leaders and teachers toward a shared, school-wide plan for education that will ensure quality teaching and learning for all students. Their six-component framework is grounded in solid research; each chapter addresses one essential component with links provided to readily accessed tools in the appendix. This much-needed resource leads educators to a purposeful implementation of the Common Core State Standards designed with our diverse learners at the forefront every step of the way.”

    —Leslie GrantUniversity of Colorado, Colorado Springs

    “This book is an amazing resource to teachers, administrators, and teacher educators interested in making the new Common Core State Standards work for all learners. Each chapter targets an important challenge facing schools/districts as they implement the new standards offering research support and practical information that can benefit their efforts regardless of where implementers may be in their journey. Using examples from a variety of school districts from across the nation adds to the readers understanding of the issue and how it could be addressed in their context. However, the focus of this text remains where learning should, on students who need equal access to high standards and offers school leaders ideas for how they can help their teachers be successful in making sure ALL of their students become college and career ready.”

    —Marcia ImbeauUniversity of Arkansas

    “Recognizing that multiple pathways lead to academic success, Dove, Honigsfeld and Cohan offer an inclusive framework for building and supporting equity in schooling. Illustrated by voices from the field and supported by a toolkit, the author team skillfully introduces and elaborates a shared responsibility for learning that is pursued through the lens of Common Core implementation. Keenly aware of the goals of responsive education, key stakeholders, including school leaders, teachers and students, partner in learning together. This important volume complements the teacher-centered books to provide a full compendium on the pursuit of excellence for this growing, robust not-so-common student population.”

    —Margo GottliebWorld-Class Instructional Design and AssessmentWisconsin Center for Education ResearchUniversity of Wisconsin

    “The authors have successfully focused the educational community on student strengths—not weaknesses—while guiding the implementation of the CCSS. They demonstrate a great concern for improving student achievement by highlighting ways to create a rigorous, relevant and engaging curriculum with complete access for ALL learners. Their words clearly reinforce that student engagement is directly linked to successful academic performance and cannot be buried under the concerns of high-stakes testing. This book provides a greater degree of professional development than many of the workshops and coursework offered to date. It is a must read regardless of the number of years spent in classroom—simultaneously offering insight and reinforcement of best practices.”

    —Theresa McDonell-Ganley

    “Beyond Core Expectations is a book that is both timely and an asset to the field. The authors have taken the new Common Core standards and focused on a population that stymies most educators: the not-so-common learner. Teachers who are overwhelmed by the prospect of having to learn new content standards as well as figure out how to apply those standards and expectations to students who have disabilities, are struggling, are English learners, or are from poverty, will want to place this book on their nightstand or school desk within easy reaching distance. Their text is written in a clear and focused format that makes the challenging content accessible and interesting. The ‘at-a-glance’ sections provide the reader with a quick overview of the topics, while the Essential Toolkit pages provide a plethora of checklists and resources for the busy educator. In addition to offering a clear framework for working with these ‘not-so-common’ learners, the authors provide research and a rationale to support each of the proffered components. Perhaps most noteworthy, however, are the ‘promising practices,’ in which the authors share examples and anecdotes of actual schools and districts implementing the various components. These examples bring to light how each aspect of the framework can be concretely implemented; the stories make the text engaging, the content practical, and the strategies obtainable.”

    —Wendy W. MurawskiMichael D. Eisner College of EducationCalifornia State University, Northridge

    Acknowledgements

    We dedicate this book to our respective families who continue to be our greatest source of inspiration and support: Tim, Dave, Jason, Christine, Sara, Meadow Rose, and Gavin Joseph; Howie, Benjamin, Jacob, and Noah; Barry, Jeffrey, Lauren, and Matthew. We also dedicate this book to all educators who work with the not-so-common learner.

    Preface

    We are now beginning to discover that leaders who have deeper and more lasting impact provide more comprehensive leadership than focusing just on higher standards.

    —Michael Fullan (2002)

    Like much of our collective work, this volume is the result of what we have uncovered in the field from our research, observations, and assessment of programs, policies, and practices in K–12 public schools that serve the not-so-common learner. Prompted by the ongoing overhaul of school systems throughout the country and the rapid institution of standards and other reforms for school improvement, our investigations affirm that many school districts have had little time to develop a comprehensive course of action for the instruction of average-achieving students, let alone their diverse populations of youngsters. It appears much of the focus for improvement has been on creating rigorous classroom instruction to increase student achievement. Nonetheless, we contend that a concentration on the enhancement of teaching skills and strategies is not enough.

    Why we have chosen to title this work Beyond Core Expectations is twofold. First, we offer a much-needed framework for the education of diverse learners. This framework not only incorporates recommendations for schoolwide literacy practices, integrated curricula, and broad-based instructional strategies for diverse learners but also integrates ideas for school communities to examine what they collectively value to promote an understanding and respect for the talents and challenges of special student populations. Second, we advocate for the development of a locally developed organizational plan for the teaching of our not-so-common learners that is research based, achievable, and timeless—beyond any current educational reform initiative for school improvement.

    From the onset of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), there are three questions we have invariably been asked by school leaders and their respective faculty in terms of serving students with special needs or linguistically diverse learners:

    • Why must we implement new standards with diverse learners?
    • What curricula—subject matter and topics of instruction—will classroom and content teachers as well as instructional specialists (English as a second language, literacy, special education) employ to support the success of these students?
    • How will teachers assist diverse learners to meet the new benchmarks?

    We contend that all students should be assured the opportunity to become college and career ready and that the creation of these opportunities for all students requires organized and often complex change. For this reason, we believe school leaders must foster a shared understanding of the needs of different populations of students, develop comprehensive, inclusive curricula to support their learning, and provide the time and necessary resources for collaborative teacher practices to take place.

    It is imperative that all curricula be comprehensive, integrated, and incorporate a component for literacy instruction. Students must be able to gather, critically examine, and report information through speaking and writing as well as analyze and synthesize a range of available text and nontext materials through the integrated use of media and technology. Therefore, all teachers should be supported in their efforts to foster students’ reading and writing abilities across the disciplines—essential skills to be college and career ready.

    Unquestionably, teachers must shift their practices from delivering information through teacher-centered instruction—lecturing, chalk talk, and so on—to helping students obtain information through thoughtful reading—learning how to gather data from ever-increasing, complex text—and participating in meaningful interactions and sustained collaborations with peers. In order to meet this challenge, all teachers will need to develop the necessary methods and techniques to engage diverse learners in the application of various strategies for learning. Moreover, professional development must be an ongoing priority for teachers and administrators to better understand and respond to the learning needs of special populations of students.

    Who are the Not-So-Common Learners?

    It is apparent that today’s public schools are attended by students from various cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, having different assessed levels of cognitive and academic ability. In our attempt to identify these youngsters, we hope to better serve them through our advocacy for a schoolwide framework to support their learning needs. As for this, common characteristics and criteria associated with the not-so-common learner include the following:

    • English Learners (ELs). These are students who are either foreign-born immigrants or US-born citizens of immigrant parents, speak a language other than English, and have yet to develop proficient skills (listening, speaking, reading, or writing) in English.
    • Students With Interrupted or Limited Formal Education (SIFE). A subgroup of English learners, these school-aged youngsters often have significant gaps in their education and, on the average, two years or less schooling than their same-age peers.
    • Students With Disabilities. Pupils with special learning needs due to physical and/or intellectual impairments who require special assistance to meet with academic success.
    • Nonstandard English Speaking Children. Often racially and/or ethnically diverse, these US-born students speak a dialect of English in their communities and have yet to acquire standard American English skills.
    • Children of Poverty. Youngsters under the age of 18 whose families have incomes below the US poverty threshold; approximately 16 million of America’s poor are children who are often malnourished, live in substandard housing, and have unequal access to educational opportunities.
    • Struggling Learners. Students who are not performing at grade level in the core subject matters (Dove & Honigsfeld, 2013, pp. 3–4).
    A Framework for Serving the Not-So-Common Learner

    The purpose of this volume—and what sets it apart from other books on the CCSS—is to support administrators and teacher leaders who want to successfully design a framework for the instruction, support, and achievement of diverse learners. We first reflected on the following: What are the best instructional practices needed to facilitate any set of new standards with academically, culturally, and linguistically diverse school populations? Then we found ourselves asking even more questions: How do school communities create a shared vision and mission that simultaneously supports rigorous academic achievement? How do teachers make learning highly engaging and accessible for the diverse learner? What learning objectives are necessary for integrated curricula? What is the research and available evidence that support and showcase best schoolwide practices for the teaching of special student populations? How might all of this be accomplished?

    The answers to these questions—coming from seminal and emerging research, exemplary and promising practices in the field, and our own synthesis of the knowledge base available—resulted in a multistep solution—the development of a framework to support the instruction of academically and linguistically diverse pupils. The framework includes the following six components:

    1. A shared and inclusive vision and mission—first and foremost established for all students—reached through consensus and setting the groundwork for educational equity for our diverse learners through a shared set of values developed for teaching special populations of students

    2. Schoolwide disciplinary literacy that directly focuses on the teaching of academic language and literacy skills across subject areas so that all students can have access to rigorous content, language, and literacy learning opportunities in the core subject areas

    3. Mapping and alignment of an integrated curriculum to ensure that instructional content and practices for academically and linguistically diverse pupils are consistent with standards and appropriate learning outcomes for all students

    4. Collaborative planning, instruction, and assessment among teams of teachers—content-area, ESL, special education, and literacy, among others—to foster the use of teaching and learning strategies as well as assessment practices to make academic material comprehensible for all learners

    5. Explicit instruction to teach literacy and language-learning strategies that develop students’ understanding of their own thinking and learning processes and foster literacy and language development while acquiring content information

    6. Student engagement—actively involving students in the learning process—so they may be better prepared to think critically, work both collaboratively and independently, and remain persistent in their endeavors

    Just as in all of our previous writing, we strongly advocate for diverse learners. We continue to uphold—and strongly believe—the need for establishing a shared vision and mission and building a commitment to schoolwide literacy practices. With these two components in place, the curriculum can be mapped and aligned with educational equity and schoolwide literacy in mind. Next, teachers work collaboratively to plan both instruction and assessment using the curriculum maps. Planning leads to the development of explicit instruction that includes guided practice and collaborative student work—which ultimately fosters high levels of student engagement. An illustration of the framework is depicted in Figure A.

    Each of the six chapters in this volume addresses one of the components of the framework in detail, offering a description of the identified process, a rationale for its implementation, the research that supports its application, and a set of promising practices from schools and districts throughout the United States that further illustrate its benefits. At the end of the volume, the Appendix offers an essential tool kit with templates and checklists that are designed to assist in the implementation of various components of the framework.

    Looking Ahead

    As you thumb through this book, you will recognize some familiar themes and time-honored teaching and leadership practices. You will also recognize a shift—perhaps a subtle move—toward a new paradigm for supporting teachers. Our framework makes a case for shared leadership—a possible change in practice for some school leaders—and the necessary departure from the typical top-down, hierarchal ways to pressure teachers and respond to calls for accountability. This shift in the role of administrators is even more important when teachers are overwhelmingly reporting concerns about their professional evaluations being linked to student performance on high-stakes, standardized assessments.

    We frequently observe multiple initiatives and reforms taking place in education at the same point in time causing unnecessary worries among all stakeholders—teachers, students, administrators, and parents alike. An unintended outcome, noted by each of us as we visit schools, is that with the implementation of new standards and initiatives, instruction is becoming more teacher directed—despite a clear research-based understanding that student-centered learning is crucial for diverse students’ academic success. This type of teaching is of particular concern for beginning teachers or those asked to work entirely from a script or predesigned modules with little or no teacher autonomy, creativity, or spontaneity encouraged.

    As you closely read each chapter in this book, you will notice that as educators, we have strongly embraced the intentions behind the CCSS—high-quality education, clear expectations, core concepts and skills, rigorous instruction, and college and career readiness. That is not to say that we did not have many poignant discussions and acute reservations related to its rollout in districts, its status as a framework for national educational reform, its potential impetus for systematic change, its association with high-stakes assessments, and its ability to meet the needs of diverse learners. As a resolution, we developed a list of nonnegotiable actions—a framework for serving the not-so-common learners—to support teachers and administrators charged with implementing and sustaining instruction based on new standards and initiatives. It is our hope this book will be a critical guide toward developing ongoing systemic support for the teaching and learning of all students.

    Figure A Framework for Serving the Not-So-Common Learner

    Acknowledgments

    A special thank you to all the educators who have been spearheading the Common Core implementation for diverse learners across the United States and have shared their groundbreaking work, successes, and challenges with us. The vignettes featuring promising practices would not have been possible without their diligence and commitment to the diverse learners and their willingness to tell their stories or to allow someone else to report on those successes in this book:

    Chapter 1
    • Dr. Reginald Landeau, Jr., middle-school principal, New York City
    • Dr. Daphne VanDorn, middle-school assistant principal, New York City
    • Connie Bouwman, deputy superintendent Littleton Public Schools, CO
    Chapter 2
    • Greg Fairbank, sixth-grade teacher, Gerald Delgado Kanoon Elementary School, Chicago Public Schools, IL
    • Dr. Robert E. Lee, executive director, Illinois State University’s Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline, IL
    • Tony Sinanis, principal, Cantiague Elementary School, Jericho Public Schools, NY
    • Lisa DeRienzo, literacy coach, Jericho Public Schools, NY
    • Lorraine Tedesco, school library and media specialist, Jericho Public Schools, NY
    • Ron Tucker, superintendent, Bayless School District, MO
    • Christine Prosser, instructional coach, Bayless School District, MO
    • Bob Efken, instructional coach, Bayless School District, MO
    • Shawn Cockrun, director, Missouri Title III Programs, MO
    • Dawn Thieman, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, Bayless School District, MO
    • Debra Cole, instructional specialist, Missouri Migrant Education and English Language Learning, MO
    • Ivy Au, ESL teacher, Denton Avenue School, Herricks Union Free School District, NY
    Chapter 3
    • Patricia Burns, assistant superintendent for curriculum, Mineola Public Schools, NY
    • Patrick McHenry, elementary math coach, Cherry Hill Public School District, NJ
    • George Guy, principal, A. Russell Knight Elementary School, Cherry Hill Public School District, NJ
    Chapter 4
    • Carly Kidder, secondary exceptional children program specialist, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, NC
    • Ann C. Jolly, EC elementary program specialist, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, NC
    • Marianne Haulk, Exceptional Children Program Specialist for Co-Teaching and Inclusive Practices, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, NC
    • Lindsey Fults, LEP committee coordinator, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, NC
    • Katie Burns, Title III resource teacher, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, NC
    • Britni Toukonen, SIOP coach, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, NC
    • Stephanie MacIntosh, district administrator, Sachem Public Schools, NY
    • Jessica Schmettan, district administrator, Sachem Public Schools, NY
    • Dr. Steven Siciliano, former principal, Sagamore Middle School, Sachem Public Schools, NY
    • Patricia Trombetta, principal, Sagamore Middle School, Sachem Public Schools, NY
    • Aristea Lucas, ESL teacher, Sagamore Middle School, Sachem Public Schools, NY
    • Carissa Hagan, ESL teacher, Sagamore Middle School, Sachem Public Schools, NY
    • Danielle Youngs, classroom teacher, Rocky Point Public Schools, NY
    • Nicole Fernandez, ESL teacher, Rocky Point Public Schools, NY
    Chapter 5
    • Maxine LaRaus, professional developer and former ESL teacher, Rockland County, NY
    • Julia Dermody, ESL teacher, Chapel Hill, NC
    • Dr. Thomas Forcella, superintendent, Chapel Hill, NC
    • Consuelo Fusaro, K–6 ESL teacher, Forest Road School, Valley Stream District 30, NY
    • Celine Simpson, teacher, Bentonville High School, Bentonville, AR
    • Jennifer Bradley, teacher, Bentonville High School, Bentonville, AR
    • David Welsher, teacher, Bentonville High School, Bentonville, AR
    • Dr. Janet Penner-Williams, assistant dean for academic affairs, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
    Chapter 6
    • James Cersonsky, labor and education journalist, New York, NY
    • Annette Freeman, principal, Gene George Elementary School, Springdale, AR
    • Heather Cooper, assistant principal, Gene George Elementary School, Springdale, AR
    • Zachary Tautfest, algebra teacher, Skyview High School, WA
    • Dr. Hillary Merk, assistant professor, University of Portland, OR

    Our gratitude goes to Molloy College graduate assistant Taylor Volpe for her technical assistance with the text, and to Dr. Mary Ellen Freeley, associate professor, St. John’s University, NY; Mary Louise (Mel) Haley, principal, Denton Avenue School, Herricks Union Free School District, NY; and Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner, advocate and author, DSF Consulting, VA, for their support for this project.

    We cannot say enough about our editor, Dan Alpert, for his creative thinking, sensitivity, honest feedback, and unwavering support. For this and so much more, we sincerely thank you. We would also like to express our appreciation for the entire Corwin team and especially to Kimberly Greenberg, Cesar Reyes, and Amy Schroller for their work on the manuscript preparation and production process.

    We would like to thank our friends and colleagues at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY, who continually support and encourage our scholarship efforts.

    Last but not least, we would like to thank our families and friends who frequently cheer us on: Your love and support for our work is paramount for us.

    About the Authors

    Maria G. Dove, EdD, is associate professor in the Division of Education at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, New York, where she teaches courses to preservice and inservice teachers on the research and best practices for developing effective programs and school policies for English learners. Before entering the field of higher education, she worked 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 ESL Educator Award from New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (NYS TESOL). She frequently provides professional development throughout the United States for educators on the teaching of diverse students. She also serves as a mentor for new ESL 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. With Andrea Honigsfeld, she coauthored three best-selling books, Common Core for the Not-So-Common Learner, Grades K–5: English Language Arts Strategies (2013), its companion volume, Common Core for the Not-So-Common Learner, Grades 6–12 (2013), and Collaboration and Co-Teaching: Strategies for English Learners (2010), all published by Corwin. The same writing team also coedited Coteaching and Other Collaborative Practices in the EFL/ESL Classroom: Rationale, Research, Reflections, and Recommendations (2012), published by Information Age Publishing.

    Andrea Honigsfeld, EdD, is a professor in the Division of Education at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, New York. She teaches graduate education courses related to cultural and linguistic diversity, linguistics, ESL methodology, and action research. 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. She coauthored Differentiated Instruction for At-Risk Students (2009) and coedited the five-volume Breaking the Mold of Education series (2010–2013), published by Rowman & Littlefield. With Maria Dove, she coedited Coteaching and Other Collaborative Practices in the EFL/ESL Classroom: Rationale, Research, Reflections, and Recommendations (2012) and coauthored Collaboration and Co-Teaching: Strategies for English Learners (2010)—a Corwin bestseller.

    Audrey Cohan, EdD, is a professor in the Division of Education at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, New York. She teaches courses on the foundations of education to both undergraduate and graduate students including change of career teachers. In addition, she teaches science methodology to prospective childhood teachers. Before coming to Molloy College, she was a special education teacher in New York City (self-contained and resource room classes) and an adjunct professor at Hofstra University. She has published on child sexual abuse and effective development practices. With coauthor Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld, she has coedited a five-book Breaking the Mold series on innovative practices (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014).

  • Appendix Essential Toolkit

    Tool #1
    Developing Core Values Checklist
    • Are you developing a set of core values collaboratively—including parents, teachers, students, and school and community leaders?
    • Are the core values grounded in genuine respect for all students, families, and teachers?
    • Is there consensus among stakeholders concerning the concept of equity?
    • Are the values established focused on the learning needs of all students?
    • Are there identified pathways for building the multicultural and multiethnic competencies required for teaching diverse learners?
    • Have you instituted a process to review the combined set of values?
    Tool #2
    CCSS for Academically and Linguistically Diverse Learners: Euity Audit
    ConsiderationQuestions to AskAction Items
    To What Degree . . .
    Role of Special Service Providers (ESL and special education teachers, etc.). . . are Special Service Providers working as experts and consultants and collaborating with general education teachers in implementing the CCSS?
    Instructional materials and curriculum. . . are CCSS-based instructional materials and curriculum appropriate for academically and linguistically diverse learners?
    Professional development

    . . . does professional development focus on preparing all teachers to implement the CCSS for academically and linguistically diverse learners?

    Assessment. . . are all teachers aware of demands of CCSS assessments for academically and linguistically diverse learners, and do they adjust instruction?
    Parent outreach. . . are parents of academically and linguistically diverse learners aware of implications of CCSS and their assessments?
    Teacher evaluation. . . is teacher evaluation for all teachers inclusive of academically and linguistically diverse learners accessing the CCSS?
    Other factors

    Adapted from Diane Staehr Fenner (2013b). (Used with permission.)

    Tool #3
    Steps to Schoolwide Literacy Matrix
    What Steps to Take?How to Get There?
    Establish a shared understanding of the importance of academic language and literacy development.

    • Explore core beliefs about language acquisition and literacy development.

    • Determine if the shared values include proficiency in academic language and literacy.

    • Determine measurable, achievable goals and how to accomplish them.

    Build capacity and sustain teacher learning regarding academic language and literacy development.

    • Provide ongoing professional learning opportunities for all teachers centered on academic language and literacy development.

    • Use academic language and literacy development appropriate for their grade levels and content areas that they teach.

    • Establish literacy teacher leader teams who can offer ongoing peer coaching and in-class support.

    • Build on the often untapped expertise of your reading/literacy/ESL/speech-language teachers and others who can help the entire staff better understand language and literacy development.

    Collaboratively develop, implement, and assess a schoolwide academic language and literacy action plan that is inclusive of all learners.

    • Include all stakeholders in all three phases:

     ○ Create a plan that has shared ownership.

     ○ Roll out the implementation incrementally and with ongoing support.

     ○ Monitor the progress and conduct periodic assessments whether the goals set are met or not.

    • Identify and celebrate exemplary practices as well as barriers for success for others.

    Create and maintain an academic language- and literacy-rich learning environment.

    • Make academic language learning a shared practice (for example, word of the day or idiom of the day).

    • Motivate and engage all members of the school community (students and teachers alike) to participate in authentic literacy experiences every day.

    • Make sure a support system is in place for struggling learners.

    • Use mentor texts in every subject area for students to model.

    • Recognize and practice language and literacy learning as a social and highly interactive process.

    • Make sure language and literacy anchor charts support learning and active participation in a literacy community in every class.

    • Maintain a norm of academic discourse (teachers monitor their own language use and intentionally use an academic register when interacting with their students).

    Tool #4
    Unit and Lesson Quality Review
    I. Alignment to the Depth of the CCSS
      The lesson/unit aligns with the intended purpose of the CCSS:
    • Targets a set of grade-level CCSS ELA/literacy standards
    • Includes a clear and explicit purpose for instruction
    • Selects text(s) that measure within the grade-level text complexity band and are of sufficient quality and scope for the stated purpose (i.e., presents vocabulary, syntax, text structures, levels of meaning/purpose, and other qualitative characteristics similar to CCSS grade-level exemplars in Appendices A and B)
      A unit or longer lesson should
    • Integrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening so that students apply and synthesize advancing literacy skills
    • Build students’ content knowledge and their understanding of reading and writing in social studies, the arts, science, or technical subjects through the coherent selection of texts

    II. Instructional Support
      The lesson/unit is responsive to varied student learning needs:
    • Cultivates student interest and engagement in reading, writing, and speaking about texts
    • Addresses instructional expectations and is easy to understand and use
    • Provides all students with multiple opportunities to engage with text of appropriate complexity for the grade level; includes appropriate scaffolding so that students directly experience the complexity of the text
    • Focuses on challenging sections of text(s) and engages students in a productive struggle through discussion questions and other supports that build toward independence
    • Integrates appropriate supports in reading, writing, listening, and speaking for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band
    • Provides extensions and/or more advanced text for students who read well above the grade-level text band
      A unit or longer lesson should
    • Include a progression of learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time (may be more applicable across the year or several units)
    • Gradually remove supports, requiring students to demonstrate their independent capacities (may be more applicable across the year or several units)
    • Provide for authentic learning, application of literacy skills, student-directed inquiry, analysis, evaluation, and/or reflection
    • Integrate targeted instruction in such areas as grammar and conventions, writing strategies, discussion rules, and all aspects of foundational reading for Grades 3–5
    • Indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation (may be more applicable across the year or several units)
    • Use technology and media to deepen learning and draw attention to evidence and texts as appropriate

    III. Assessment
      The lesson/unit regularly assesses whether students are making reasonable progressions and/or mastering standards-based content and skills:
    • Elicits direct, observable evidence of the degree to which a student can independently demonstrate the major targeted grade-level CCSS standards with appropriately complex text(s)
    • Assesses student proficiency using methods that are unbiased and accessible to all students
    • Includes aligned rubrics or assessment guidelines that provide sufficient guidance for interpreting student performance
      A unit or longer lesson should:
    • Use varied modes of assessment, including a range of pre-, formative, summative, and self-assessment measures

    Adapted from the EQuIP Quality Review Rubric for Lessons & Units: ELA/Literacy Tool

    Tool #5
    Common Core Standard-Based Coplanning Template
    Date:Class:Collaborative Teachers:
    Common Core Standards Addressed
    Learning Objectives (Content/Language)
    Activities/Tasks (Rigor and Engagement)
    Resources and Materials
    Technology Integration
    Accommodations/Modifications
    Assessment Procedures
    Reflections/Special Notes

    Adapted from Dove and Honigsfeld (2013) and Honigsfeld and Dove (2013).

    Tool #6
    Assessing an Integrated, Collaborative Model to Serve Diverse Learners

    Rate the following activities on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 indicating that it never takes place and 5 indicating that it is a most common practice.

    Adapted from Honigsfeld and Dove (2010).

    Tool #7
    Supports During Explicit Instruction for Diverse Learners
    Instructional Support

    • Gradual release of responsibility model

     ○ Explicit teacher modeling

     ○ Guided practice

     ○ Collaborative practice

     ○ Independent application

    • Strategy instruction

    Linguistic Support

    • Use of native language or home dialect

    • Definition of key terms within sentences

    • Modification of sentence patterns

    • Use of redundancy or rephrasing

    • Opportunities to interact with proficient English models

    • Sentence starters and paragraph frames

    • Language frames for oral interaction

    Graphic Support

    • Charts

    • Tables

    • Timelines

    • Number lines

    • Graphs

    • Graphic organizers

    • Outlines

    Visual Support

    • Real objects (realia)

    • Manipulatives

    • Photographs

    • Pictures, illustrations

    • Diagrams

    • Models

    • Displays

    • Magazines, newspapers

    • Videos

    • Multimedia, including Internet

    Interactive Support

    • Whole Class

    • Large-group vs. small-group instruction

    • Learning Centers

    • Learning Stations

    • Pairwork

    • Buddy system

    • Cooperative learning structures (See Kagan)

    Adapted from Gottlieb, M. (2006). Assessing English language learners: Bridges from language proficiency to academic achievement (p. 29). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

    Tool #8
    A Classroom Walkthrough to Observe Diverse Learners’ Engagement
    Learning Environment
    • Classroom is physically comfortable and allows for a variety of group configurations with minimal distractions.
    • Classroom is cognitively stimulating and conducive to learning in a variety of modalities (through listening, speaking, reading, and writing).
    • Instructional resources (technology, equipment, supplies, materials) are varied, reflective of different levels of readiness, and are readily available and utilized in a variety of ways.
    • Diverse learners have a sense of belonging to the classroom community by virtue of where and with whom they are seated and how they interact with their peers.
    Teacher Behavior
    • Establishes purpose with clarity identifying learning targets
    • Establishes high expectations for acquiring content, academic language
    • Creates routines to help students reach learning goals
    • Follows a predictable lesson sequence
    • Offers the necessary structure and scaffold for diverse learners to fully participate
    • Attentive to varied student needs and adjusts instruction based on ongoing formative assessment
    • Monitors levels of engagement and addresses the needs of the students on all levels of academic and linguistic proficiency (from struggling to advanced levels)
    Student Participation in Learning
    • Students make meaningful connections to their prior knowledge or have opportunities to build background knowledge for new learning to take place.
    • Students interact with each other through a range of instructional tasks.
    • Students are intentionally paired in a variety of ways—both homogeneously and heterogeneously (to partner with students with disabilities, with others who speak the same home language, etc.).
    • Students remain focused on the target task, understand what they are doing and why.
    • Students have choices regarding pathways to learning and for demonstrating mastery.
    • Students have access to and know how to use scaffolding tools (anchor charts, protocols, sentence starters, language frames, prompts) to support learners in expressing their ideas, asking and answering questions.
    • Students are in the focus of the lesson and enjoy the learning experience.

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