Transforming Schools for English Learners: A Comprehensive Framework for School Leaders


Debbie Zacarian

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Praise for Transforming Schools for English Learners

    “School administrators, resource facilitators, and classroom teachers will find a wealth of strategies and research-based, comprehensive solutions for teaching English language learners. Whether a school district has a large population of English learners or is faced with designing an individualized program for just a few, this is a useful toolkit, at once theoretical and practical.”

    Lynne T.Díaz-Rico, Professor of Education, California State University, San Bernardino

    “This book addresses issues that school administrators new to EL instruction need to know. Each chapter contains useful tools that deal with student assessment, placement, and monitoring.”

    MargaritaCalderón, Professor Emeritus, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

    “This book is an excellent resource for school leaders who want to build an effective learning environment for English language learners. Zacarian covers a variety of topics including a summary of federal laws and how to select the right program model for your district, building an effective ESL program, establishing successful relationships with parents, designing content area lessons, and analyzing student performance. Written in a user-friendly style and based on current research, this is the book that every administrator and stakeholder should have.”

    JudieHaynes, Author and President, New Jersey Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages/New Jersey Bilingual Educators, Union, NJ

    “Dr. Zacarian clearly and succinctly identifies the frequent misunderstandings and misconceptions that can occur between families of English language learners and teachers and administrators. She uses real-life experiences to illustrate the barriers faced by these families and offers effective solutions to help these students access college and to help schools integrate new immigrant families and students.”

    MargaretO'Hare, Director, Massachusetts Parent Information and Resource Center (PIRC)

    “This book provides school leaders with clear and constructive guidance on how to reenvision schools with growing numbers of English learners. Debbie Zacarian addresses the questions of leaders who realize that schools that wish to succeed in the 21st century must rethink the organization, curriculum, analysis of data, assessments, and relations with families. The book is attentive to the theoretical underpinnings of second language acquisition as well as the day-to-day challenges facing school leaders.”

    Eileende los Reyes, Assistant Superintendent, Office of English Language Learners, Boston Public Schools

    “This book will help teachers formulate an appropriate program model by using effective data in tandem with parental support to enhance student success. District leaders will find it a valuable navigation tool for meeting the needs of English language learners.”

    SherryGelinas, Director of Language Acquisition, Leominster Public Schools, MA

    “Debbie Zacarian helped us evaluate our level of ELL compliance and made excellent recommendations. I am certain that any organizations with concerns regarding ELL would benefit greatly from her expertise and her book.”

    MarkCondon, Assistant Superintendent and Principal, Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School, Palmer, MA

    “This book provides clear, concise, and explicit recommendations for creating effective and inclusive schools that can successfully educate students and engage families of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The proven strategies and structures outlined in this book will help schools successfully address the complex challenges of providing high-quality instruction to all students. Drawing on her many years of experience with students, families, and educators, and her deep knowledge of research in the field, Dr. Zacarian weaves anecdotes and case studies from actual classrooms and schools throughout this highly accessible resource.”

    LouiseLaw, Principal, Deerfield Elementary School, South Deerfield, MA

    “Through carefully selected vignettes, Dr. Zacarian clearly defines the challenges that schools face to appropriately teach ELLs in a variety of contexts. She provides educators with real solutions based on research, practice, and experience. This book should be kept at arm's length when developing effective programs for English language learners.”

    DavidValade, Director of English Language Education, Holyoke Public Schools, MA

    “The author provides practical suggestions to help school administrators, policymakers, and stakeholders build a school environment where an English language learner program can flourish.”

    AnnCampagna, Coordinator, No Child Left Behind, SABIS International Charter School

    Transforming Schools for English Learners is recommended for administrators who have not enrolled in specific courses for ELLs as the critical information for developing and enhancing programming and achievement is specific and can be used for district and school improvement initiatives.”

    KathleenBoyden, Director of Student Services, Hadley Public Schools, MA


    View Copyright Page

    Dedication and Acknowledgments

    This book was written with the support of many people. Francis Bailey, Judie Haynes, Audrey Morse, Barbara Passo, Ken Pransky, and Barbara Rothenberg generously read early versions of the manuscript. Various administrators and teachers from Massachusetts' public and public charter schools and the Collaborative for Educational Services graciously opened their classrooms and school communities and shared their experiences working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations. In addition, Dan Alpert, Cassandra Seibel, and Sarah Duffy at Corwin greatly supported the publication of this manuscript.

    Writing a book involves long hours, dedication, and passion. This would not have been possible without the encouragement of my husband, Matt.

    The adage that it takes a village to raise a child speaks to the support that I received to “raise” Transforming Schools for English Learners.

    Publisher's Acknowledgments

    Corwin gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following reviewers:

    David Bautista, Superintendent/Adjunct University Instructor/Visiting Instructor

    Woodburn School District/Western Oregon University/University of Guadalajara

    Woodburn, OR

    • Margarita Calderón, Professor Emerita Johns Hopkins University Washington, DC
    • Tracy Clark, Director I—English Language Learner Programs Clark County School District Las Vegas, NV
    • Bruce Clemmer, Director—English Language Learner Programs Clark County School District Las Vegas, NV
    • Maria Dove, Professor Molloy College Department of Education Rockville Centre, NY
    • Andrea Honigsfeld, Professor and Associate Dean Molloy College Department of Education Rockville Centre, NY
    • Barb Keating, Principal Lord Kelvin Community School New Westminster School District New Westminster, BC Canada
    • Beth Madison, Principal George Middle School Portland, OR
    • Teresa Vega-Iniguez, Educational Administrator San Luis Obispo County Office of Education San Luis Obispo, CA
    • Rosa M. Villarreal, Director—Bilingual/ESL/Prekindergarten Round Rock Independent School District Round Rock, TX
    • Carol Wertheimer, Literacy Consultant Glen Head, NY

    About the Author

    Debbie Zacarian, EdD, is the director of the Center for English Language Education and the Center for Advancing Student Achievement at the Collaborative for Educational Services, in Northampton, Massachusetts. The two centers provide professional development, licensure programming, and consulting for educators of culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Debbie has written policies regarding English learners for many urban, suburban, and rural districts and been a consultant at the state level. She is the coauthor of Teaching English Language Learners Across Content Areas, a 2010 ASCD publication. Debbie was a columnist for TESOL's Essential Teacher publication throughout its tenure, writing about issues related to secondary education. Debbie holds a doctorate in educational policy and research from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and was a clinical faculty lecturer there for over a decade, teaching courses in language policy, theories of language acquisition, assessment and evaluation, research on language acquisition, curriculum development for language and content learning, and educational administration. Debbie also created and was the director of the Amherst Public Schools English Language Education Program for over 20 years—a program that was noted as a state and national model. She was commended by the Massachusetts Department of Education for her work in multicultural education. Debbie has been an educational consultant at the local, state, and national levels in the areas of English language education, closing the achievement gap, special education as it relates to students from diverse populations, and educational leadership. Recognized as a leading authority, she served as a member of the Commissioner's Bilingual Advisory Committee for the Massachusetts Department of Education. She has delivered many papers and presentations at the state and national levels, including at the annual meetings of the American Educational Research Association and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

  • Glossary

    • Additive Bilingual Education: A program model focused on developing and maintaining a student's native language and English. The primary goal is for students to achieve high levels of literacy in both languages. Additive types include dual-language, bilingual maintenance, two-way, and heritage language programs.
    • Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP): Per the federal No Child Left Behind Act, a minimum level of performance that students in each school and school district must achieve on an annual basis. English learners are included in this requirement.
    • Aggregate Data: Generally, the population as a whole in reference to a nation, state, district, school, or grade of students.
    • Assimilation: Programming that is targeted for moving students from a minority culture into a majority culture.
    • Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS): The ability to converse or interact socially in everyday contexts.
    • Bilingual Syntax Measure (BSM): A language assessment of listening and speaking that is commonly used to identify English learners enrolled in public and public charter schools. It is used for students in preschool through Grade 12 and is available in English and Spanish.
    • Biliteracy: The ability to read and write in two languages proficiently. Generally, the person is equally proficient in both languages.
    • Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP): The level of language required for students to perform abstract and cognitively demanding classroom tasks without contextual supports such as gestures and the research of objects. Includes the language ability required for academic achievement.
    • Communicative Competence: The ability to use any form of language appropriate to the demands of social and academic situations. Includes linguistic knowledge, cultural knowledge, and interaction skills.
    • Content-Based ESL Instruction: A type of instruction for learning content while learning English. Generally, this type of instruction is planned and delivered by an ESL teacher or coplanned and codelivered by a general classroom and ESL teacher.
    • Content Standards: Brief statements that clearly state what students will know and be able to do. Should parallel the knowledge and skills that students are expected to learn and that are generally tied to school, district, state, or national standards or frameworks.
    • Coteaching: A teaching approach whereby an ESL and general classroom teacher share responsibility for coplanning and codelivering instruction in a general classroom.
    • Culture (also Cultural Way of Being): In this book, these terms are used to refer to two groups: (a) ELs and their families who are from diverse cultural experiences other than the dominant monolingual American English-speaking culture and (b) monolingual American English-speaking students, educators, parents, and community members. Drawing from Trueba, Guthrie, and Au (1981), these terms are used to describe “a form of communication with learned and shared, explicit and implicit rules for perceiving, believing, evaluating, and acting. … What people talk about and are specific about, such as traditional customs and laws, constitutes their overt or explicit culture. What they take for granted, or what exists beyond conscious awareness, is their implicit culture” (pp. 4–5).
    • Disaggregated Data: Generally refers to student subgroup performance on national, state, district, and/or school assessments.
    • Dual-Language Program: Also known as two-way or developmental, the goal is for students to develop language proficiency in two languages by receiving instruction in English and another language in a classroom that is usually comprised of half native English speakers and half native speakers of the other language.
    • English as a Second Language (ESL): A program of techniques, methodology, and special curriculum designed to teach English learners English language skills, including listening, speaking, reading, writing, study skills, content vocabulary, and cultural orientation. Instruction is usually in English with little use of a student's native language.
    • English Language Development (ELD): Instruction that is targeted for the learning of English. Is generally part of a program of instruction for English learners and usually includes all four language domains (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) as well as content vocabulary and supporting students' cultural orientation.
    • English Learner (EL): A student who has learned a language other than English during his or her primary years and is not able to do ordinary classroom work in English. The term EL is used interchangeably with limited
    • English-proficient (LEP) student, language-minority student, English language learner, and second language learner.
    • Equal Education Opportunities Act of 1974: Civil rights statute prohibiting states from denying equal access to educational opportunities to individuals based on race, color, sex, or national origin. Prohibits states from denying appropriate actions to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation of students in instructional programming.
    • ESL Pull-Out: A model of instruction whereby ESL is taught in a separate setting from the general education class.
    • ESL Push-In: A model of instruction whereby the ESL teacher coplans instruction with the general teacher and codelivers instruction in the general classroom using small groups and theme-based instruction.
    • Expediting Comprehension for English Language Learners Protocol (EOP): A research-based guide for lesson planning, delivery, and reflection that uses authentic assessment, tracks student progress, and includes a professional development component.
    • Formative Assessment: Typically occurs as part of lesson delivery as a means to check for understanding, provide students with immediate feedback, and make on-the-spot and future decisions regarding instruction. This type of assessment allows teachers to individualize instruction to meet the needs of learners.
    • Former Limited English Proficient (FLEP): A student who was formerly an English learner or limited English proficient who has achieved a level of English proficiency that approximates that of a native English speaker.
    • General Classroom: Mainstream classroom where subject matters are taught to English-fluent students and/or English learners of the same chronological age and/or grade.
    • High-Incidence Population (HIP): Generally refers to a large number of English learners from the same language group. In some districts, this might include 20 or more students.
    • Highly Effective: Phrase used when teachers have depth of knowledge for achieving student outcomes and when students are successful learners of English and content.
    • IDEA Proficiency Test (IPT): Language assessment of listening, speaking, reading, and writing that is commonly used to identify English learners enrolled in public and public charter schools. Includes tools for assessing students in preschool through Grade 12 and is available in English and Spanish.
    • Informed Parental Consent: Permission of a parent or legal guardian to enroll his or her child in an English learner program or the refusal to allow his or her child to enroll in such a program—after the parent has been provided with effective notice of program options and a district's recommendation for English language education programming.
    • Language Assessment Scale (LAS): Language assessment of listening, speaking, reading, and writing that is commonly used to identify English learners in public and public charter schools. Includes tools for assessing students in preschool through Grade 12 and is available in English and Spanish. Includes the Language Assessment Scale-Oral (LAS-0), Language Assessment Scale Reading/Writing (LAS R/W), and the more recent LAS Links, which includes assessments of all four language skills.
    • Language Dominance: A measurement comparing the proficiencies of two or more languages. Commonly used for describing the language that a student has more capacity in. This testing is often used during a special education evaluation to determine the language that students should be tested in to assess their academic, cognitive, and/or language performance.
    • Language-Minority Student: Used interchangeably with English learner and second language learner to refer to a student who has learned a language other than English during his or her primary years and is not able to do ordinary classroom work in English.
    • Limited English Proficient (LEP): Used interchangeably with English learner, language-minority student, and second language learner to refer to a student who has learned a language other than English during his or her primary years and is not able to do ordinary classroom work in English.
    • Low-Incidence Population (LIP): Generally, a small number of English learners from a particular language group.
    • Mission Statement: Tool for defining and sharing a district's goals and the ways in which progress toward achieving these goals will be measured. Commonly made available to the community at large.
    • Monitoring Charts: Means by which student performance is documented specifically and explicitly using a reliable and valid means for an intended purpose. Should be used repeatedly and systematically with a wide range of students, a specific set of timelines, and a clearly articulated process to ensure that the monitoring charts are doing what they are purported to do and ensure their effectiveness.
    • National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education (NCBE): Provides information about bilingual education, ESL programs, Head Start, Title I, migrant education, and adult education programming, including an online library with information on topics such as demographics, characteristics of schools and programs, and news related to bilingual education.
    • National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA): Collects, coordinates, and conveys a broad range of research and resources in support of an inclusive approach to high-quality education for English learners.
    • Native Language (L1): The first, native, or initial language learned by an English learner.
    • Newcomer Program: Primarily, separate self-contained program designed to meet the needs of newly arrived, mostly immigrant, beginning learners of English. Typically, students enroll in this kind of program before enrolling in general education classes with fluent speakers of English.
    • No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB): Federal mandate whose purpose is to improve the performance of K–12 schools by making states and schools more accountable for student progress and allowing parents more flexibility in choosing which schools their children will attend. Under NCLB, students, including English learners, must be tested annually to determine if their school has met Adequate Yearly Progress.
    • Peer Coaching: When two or more peers collaborate and observe each other's work to reflect on and improve their practice. Generally not tied to an evaluation system. Built on mutual trust and confidentiality to ensure a safe environment for professional growth.
    • Response to Intervention (RTI): Three-tiered approach for providing early identification and supports for students with learning and behavioral needs.
      • Tier 1: Research-based instruction that occurs in general classrooms and, in the case of English learners, in classes that have been designed for the purpose of learning English and/or a target language and content.
      • Tier 2: Intensive assistance as part of the general education classroom or, in the case of English learners, as part of a general English language education program.
      • Tier 3: Special education programming.
    • Rubric: Systematic scoring guideline or set of criteria for students, teachers, and others to use to assess performance based on a specific standard. Items are generally written in descending order, with the highest level at the top and lowest at the bottom. Generally includes descriptors of ability at each level of performance that are intended to be reliable, valid, and fair,
    • Second Language (L2): This term is used in different ways, including the second language learned chronologically, a language other than what is used in a student's home, and the target language being learned.
    • Second Language Learner: Used interchangeably with English learner, language-minority student, and limited-English-proficient student. Refers to a student who has learned a language other than English during his or her primary years and is not able to do ordinary classroom work in English.
    • Sheltered English Instruction: Instruction that is delivered in English with, but not always, clarification in a student's primary language that is meaningful and comprehensible. Often includes physical activities, visuals, manipulatives, and an environment in which students are provided with many context cues to make learning accessible.
    • Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP): Model of lesson planning and delivery for teaching content and language to English learners.
    • Structured English Instruction (also known as Structured English Immersion): Instructional approach used to make instruction in English meaningful and comprehensible. Generally, teachers of these classes have had training and/or possess credentials for teaching English learners (such as bilingual or ESL teachers) and are often fluent in a student's primary language.
    • Submersion Program: Program in which English learners are placed in a regular English-only program with little or no support services for learning English. Based on an unfounded theory that children will learn language naturally and be able to perform ordinary classwork in English with no additional supports.
    • Summative Assessment: Used after a unit of study is completed or a certain time period has occurred (e.g., the end of term) to determine how much learning has taken place. It is typical for grades to be assigned as part of a summative assessment.
    • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin by districts that receive federal financial assistance.
    • Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA): Recognizes the unique needs of English learners. Established in 1968, it instituted a federal policy to assist educational agencies in serving English learners by authorizing the funding needed to do so. Also supports professional development and research.
    • Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE): Model of instruction whereby students receive instruction in their primary language in content areas until they are able to learn in English. Instruction in the primary language is reduced as students become more proficient in English, at which time no further instruction in the primary language is provided. Generally, also includes instruction in ESL.
    • WIDA Access Placement Test (W-APT): English language test that includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing components. Used by WIDA member states to identify English learners enrolled in public and public charter schools. Includes tools for assessing students in kindergarten through Grade 12.
    • WIDA Model for Kindergarten: English language test that is used to identify English learners ranging from 4.5 to 7 years of age.
    • Woodcock-Muñoz Language Survey–Revised (WMLS-R): Language assessment of listening, speaking, reading, and writing that is commonly used to identify English learners in public and public charter schools. Includes tools for assessing students in preschool through Grade 12 and is available in English and Spanish.
    • World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium: Consortium of 22 partner states: Alabama, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Focuses on the planning and implementation of high-quality standards and equitable education for English learners. Provides six-level English language proficiency standards, assessment tools, research, professional development, and grant-funded projects.

    Corwin A SAGE Company

    The Corwin logo—a raven striding across an open book—represents the union of courage and learning. Corwin is committed to improving education for all learners by publishing books and other professional development resources for those serving the field of PreK-12 education. By providing practical, hands-on materials, Corwin continues to carry out the promise of its motto: “Helping Educators Do Their Work Better.”

    • Loading...
Back to Top

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website