Welcome to a new year of supporting ELLs!
Welcome to a new year of supporting ELLs!
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January 4, 2021

Asset-Based Approach with Newcomers

Happy new year! We're starting 2021 by talking about one of our favorite student groups in this newsletter: newcomers! Specifically, we are highlighting Essential Practice 4 of our Essential Practices for ELLs during Distance Learning: Asset-based approach with newcomers.
Newcomers are ELLs within their first three years of U.S. schooling, and they make up nearly a quarter of all ELLs in OUSD. These students bring with them unique linguistic and cultural assets that can be utilized to support their learning, and to improve the learning of all students in our classrooms.
Read below to get ideas for engaging newcomer students over Zoom. Find out how newcomer social workers are using student voice as an asset in OUSD's secondary schools. Hear from one of our Elementary Newcomer Teacher Leaders (ENTLs) and her students on uplifting students' home cultures and languages in the classroom. Don't miss our Multilingual and Sanctuary Corners for important resources and information too!

Ideas for Supporting Newcomers on Zoom

Distance learning has caused unique challenges for engaging all students, and newcomers especially have grappled with navigating new technologies and learning platforms, while simultaneously learning the English language.
To determine how best to support newcomers with these unique challenges, we observed newcomer classrooms and solicited input from dozens of OUSD elementary teachers. Some of their best practices are highlighted in this document. Check it out, and share some of your ideas, so we can make this resource even better!

Student Voice Key to Newcomer Planning in Secondary Schools 

Lifting up student voice is part of the asset-based approach of the team of clinical newcomer social workers serving newcomer students and families across 15 middle and high schools. To accomplish this, we survey newcomers annually to collect their perspectives on their school experiences and the support they receive. On Nov. 12, teams from these schools met to review the report from this survey and determine how to utilize these students' input to improve their programming.
We encourage you to read the report too! By centering student voice and understanding their experiences, we can truly provide culturally and social-emotionally responsive instruction. 

ELLMA's Asset-Based Cards Make Uplifting Students' Strengths Easy as ABC

Looking to make asset-based planning and instruction central to your work with newcomers (and all students)? It's easy as ABC: Asset-Based Cards. These helpful cards provide concrete, actionable steps you can take to further bring an asset orientation to your work with ELLs. We've highlighted the card on leveraging home languages and cultures below, but there are seven more where that came from, so check out the whole deck!

ELLMA Spotlight

Language Teacher in Focus: Million Kelati

Thanks to the efforts of teachers on the OEA bargaining team, elementary schools with high numbers of newcomers now receive extra support. These teachers on special assignment, called Elementary Newcomer Teacher Leaders (ENTLs), provide pull-out newcomer instruction, as well as PD and coaching to other teachers at their school. We spoke with one of these ENTLs—Ms. Kelati—and some of her students about uplifting newcomers' home cultures and languages.
Elementary Newcomer Teacher Leader
Franklin and Garfield Elementary Schools
Describe how your instruction has shifted as we've moved from in-person to distance learning.
My instruction has shifted in a number of ways, including being more concise and clear about objectives, more intentional about relationship and community building, and using more visuals and multimedia to increase learning and understanding.
What classroom practices or routines do you have in place to demonstrate to your newcomers that their home languages/cultures are valued and assets for their learning?
One routine we have in place is a slide that has information, like the days of the week, in each child's home language. Also pictures and visuals that represent the class's diverse cultures are prioritized. Students also teach the class and the teacher words in their home languages.
What are some specific practices or strategies you have used in your distance learning classroom (specifically that support ELL access to rigorous instruction)?
  • Building relationships
  • Making time for quick weekly 1:1 check-ins
  • Using visuals and extra emphasis on vocabulary, especially for all new learning
  • Concise and clear lesson organization
  • Sentence starters
  • Building classroom culture and community
Read the full interview to learn more tips from Ms. Kelati and hear from her students as well! E-mail her if you want to learn more.

Sanctuary Corner

Resources and tools to ensure all families are welcome, safe, and empowered in our schools and community! 
Medical concerns, especially in the time of Covid, are at the top of many families' minds right now, including our immigrant communities. Thankfully, there are resources here in Oakland to support families around Covid-testing needs, as well as to get information on signing up for Medi-Cal and other government programs. Check out this flyer, with information in English and Spanish on accessing support through EBAC. For more information in Spanish on the contact tracing process, check out this infographic from the Alameda County Public Health Department.
Just as a reminder, due to a recent court ruling, the government now must accept first-time requests for DACA, renewal requests regardless of expiration date, and advance parole requests. The court’s order also extends work permits that were issued for one year to two years. We encourage all staff and community members who might benefit from this program to apply, and current DACAmented community members to renew as needed. Check out the National Immigration Law Center's website for more information.

Multilingual Corner

A regular section for our Dual Language and bilingual educators!
  • We have moved the Avant Speaking and Writing testing window to January. The new testing window is Jan. 11-29. This will allow school sites to have updated data on Spanish Language in all 4 domains: Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing. This will also allow the district to have the necessary data for the Biliteracy Pathway Awards. This is a great opportunity for students to be recognized for their biliteracy progress, as well as a great resource towards getting the Seal of Biliteracy.
  • We have moved the DRA/EDL Cycle 2 closing period to Jan. 29, with the optional extension to Feb. 15. This will allow school sites to have updated reading data for students in both English and Spanish. Please remember that we are asking you to do DRA/EDL if students scored more than one year below grade level on RI/Avant. You can use DRA or iReady for your English Reading Diagnostic.
Feel free to use the updated Dual Language and Bilingual Literacy Assessment Recommendation as an additional resource.
We have also updated the Benchmarks for Emerging Biliterates: Simultaneous 50/50 Dual Language Programs in order to support your school sites to check the progress of your students towards their end-of-year goals. We will be sharing the Benchmarks for Emerging Biliterates Sequential 90-10 Dual Language Programs soon.
We have the i-Ready for Dual Language Schools now available. It’s a work in progress, and we will keep adding resources, but we wanted to share this with you so you can have some additional resources for the Dual Language Programs at your school sites.
Meet the ELLMA Team!
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