In It Together: How Student, Family, and Community Partnerships Advance Engagement and Achievement in Diverse Classrooms


Debbie Zacarian & Michael Silverstone

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    Dedication and Acknowledgments

    We express our gratitude to several individuals who contributed to this project. Many educators took time away from their busy schedules to read early drafts, provide suggestions, and let us know that we were on the right path to what they believe is sorely needed. Lydia Breiseth, manager of Colorín Colorado, graciously put us in touch with the American Federation of Teachers, and we reached out to exemplary colleagues including outstanding members of the ASCD and TESOL communities in our effort to provide a broad range of examples-in-practice from across the United States in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Thank you to the following teachers and specialists for doing just that: Kelley Brown, Darryl Clark, Angela Ghent, Susan Goldstein, Kristina Labadie, Louise Levy, Alicia Lopez, Keith Maletta, Elise May, Alexandra McCourt, Jennifer Melton, Ntina Paleos, Maureen Penko, Lucy Gable, Barbara Rothenberg, Sylvia Schumann, and Pam Snow.

    Throughout, our editor, Dan Alpert, provided steadfast support, encouragement, and suggestions, including an external review process, which further strengthened the book. Cassandra Seibel and Sarah Duffy, from Corwin, polished our writing and made it shine. We are grateful to Corwin for their exceptional commitment and valuable support throughout the process, and we are especially grateful to Cesar Reyes and Kimberly Greenberg for their care and attention to details large and small throughout this effort.

    We spent many hours on this project. A very special and heartfelt thanks goes to our spouses, children, and friends for their support throughout and for flexibility when deadlines loomed.

    Last, but by no means least, the ideas for this book would not be possible without the inspiring students and inspired teachers we have known. We dedicate this book to them and to the families and communities that stand together to bring the ideals of equity, access, and engagement ever closer to possibility day by day.

    Publisher’s Acknowledgments

    Corwin gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following reviewers:

    • Christel Broady
    • Associate Professor, Graduate Education
    • Georgetown College
    • Georgetown, KY
    • Ayanna Cooper
    • Educational Consultant
    • Circle Dallas, GA
    • Andrea Honigsfeld
    • Professor
    • Molloy College
    • Rockville Centre, NY
    • Dorothy Kelly
    • Student Teacher Supervisor
    • Fontbonne University
    • St. Louis, MO
    • Jane Kerschner
    • Educator and Leadership Coach
    • Kaleidoscope Coaching and Consulting
    • Chevy Chase, MD
    • Katherine Lobo
    • Teacher (K–12) and Adjunct Professor (undergraduate and graduate level)
    • Dr. Liliana Minaya-Rowe
    • Professor Emerita
    • University of Connecticut
    • Melissa Nixon
    • Director of Title I
    • Guilford County Schools
    • Greensboro, NC
    • Tamara Jo Rhomberg
    • National Literacy Consultant
    • Zaner-Bloser Company
    • Fenton, MO

    About the Authors

    Debbie Zacarian, EdD is the founder of Debbie Zacarian & Associates, a business dedicated to advancing equity, access, and engagement of diverse student populations. She provides consulting, policy analysis and writing, strategic planning, and professional development to strengthen instructional practices, leadership, coaching, and parent-school partnerships. Dr. Zacarian was the founding director of the Center for English Language Education and Advancing Student Achievement at the Collaborative for Educational Services, Northampton, Massachusetts, where she led various professional development initiatives for thousands of educators, wrote policies for the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care and many urban, suburban, and rural districts, including Boston Public Schools’ programming for English learners, and consulted with the Massachusetts’ Federation for Children with Special Needs and Parent Information Resource Center. For more than a decade, she served as clinical faculty at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. In addition to service work, she designed and taught courses including Managing Culturally Responsive Classrooms and Developing Curriculum for the Heterogeneous Class. Dr. Zacarian was also the founding director of the Amherst Public Schools’ English Learner and bilingual programs where she and the district received several state and national awards. She has authored numerous publications, including Mastering Academic Language: A Framework for Supporting Student Achievement (2013); The Essential Guide for Educating Beginning English Learners (2012) with Judie Haynes; Transforming Schools for English Learners: A Comprehensive Framework for School Leaders (2011); and Teaching English Language Learners Across the Content Areas (2010) with Judie Haynes.

    Michael Silverstone has been a full-time elementary teacher in Massachusetts since 1998. With Debbie Zacarian, he co-authored the Grade 2 chapter in Academic Language in Diverse Classrooms: Promoting Content and Language Learning, Mathematics, Grades K–2 (Corwin). His essay recounting his discovery of the vital importance of maintaining professional autonomy while fostering relationships with students, families, and colleagues—in spite of all the pressures to standardize classroom practice—is the closing teacher essay in the anthology Why We Teach Now, edited by Sonia Nieto (Teacher’s College Press). Silverstone is also the author of a number of young adult nonfiction books including Rigoberta Menchú: Defending Human Rights in Guatemala and Winona LaDuke: Restoring Land and Culture in Native America (The Feminist Press at the City University of New York). He is a teacher consultant with the Western Massachusetts Writing Project of the National Writing Project.

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