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Bilingual Education & English as a New Language

OBEWL Newsletter & Newsletter Archives

Click here for the full copy of OBEWL's Spring 2019 Newsletter.

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News from Assistant Commissioner of Bilingual Education and World Languages Lissette Colón-Collins

Spring 2019

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased and excited to congratulate Deputy Commissioner of P-12 Instruction, Angélica Infante-Green, who has begun a new chapter of her life as Rhode Island’s Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. We thank her for her relentless commitment, accomplishments, and legacy of excellence for all children in New York State and wish her the best as she takes on this exciting opportunity to ensure equity and access for all children in Rhode Island.

As we get ready for the end of the school year, I would like to provide you with a brief snapshot of how our MLLs/ELLs are doing and share resources recently created to support you as we continue to make progress on this work.

In the years since the changes to CR Part 154, NYS MLLs/ELLs are achieving English proficiency and exiting MLL/ELL status at increased rates. Under the new regulations, many more students have exited ELL status via expanded exit criteria, and the percentage of MLLs/ELLs exiting with a score of Commanding on the NYSESLAT has also increased 4.8 percentage points across all grade levels from 9.0% in 2015-16 to 13.8% in 2017-18. As previously announced, the Cohort 2014 graduation rates were published on January 30th , and the 2014 cohort MLL/ELL graduation rate was 29.0%, an increase from the 2013 cohort rate of 26.6%. “Ever ELLs” improved as well, by 1.1 percentage points over last year. With a graduation rate of 85.5 percent, Ever ELLs continue to show strong progress, surpassing the overall statewide graduation rate by more than five percentage points. More work needs to be done to strengthen the programs and services provided to our current MLLs/ELLs in order to keep them in school and to help them graduate. 

Please see below a number of resources that will support you in your work:

MLL/ELL Graduation Rate Improvement and Dropout Prevention Planning Tool

To support your efforts, we created the Multilingual Learner/English Language Learner Graduation Rate Improvement and Dropout Prevention Planning Tool, which provides research-informed effective practices, strategies, and protocols for use by districts and schools as they dive into MLL/ELL data. It is designed to assist your district’s planning to improve policies, programs, and instructional practices geared toward improvement in MLL/ELL graduation rates. For example, the toolkit includes statewide data, key questions and implications related to the data, and templates that can be used to create similar charts and data sets. In addition, the planning tool includes embedded links to helpful resources, such as articles, research, and effective practices related to graduation and dropout prevention.

MLL/ELL Program Quality Review and Reflective Protocol Toolkit

To support all schools as they plan performance improvements, OBEWL has developed the Multilingual Learners/English Language Learners Program Quality Review and Reflective Protocol Toolkit as a reference and technical assistance tool to help administrators and educators understand where their school is situated along a continuum of practice from Initiating (Level 1) to Leading (level 4). This toolkit is intended to concentrate on three primary goals:

  • Serve as a reference for schools and districts to deepen understanding about effective practices for MLLs/ELLs by providing clear research informed indicators.
  • Provide tools and processes that strengthen the school quality review process for MLLs/ELLs and lead to improved programs and instruction.
  • Further extend the common language in the field that has been established through the Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness (DTSDE) Tenets.

To achieve those goals, the guide is aligned to the DTSDE Tenets and its pillars and includes MLL/ELL research informed practices and requirements within the indicators.

New Clinically Rich Intensive Teacher Institutes (CR-ITIs)

Thirteen new CR-ITIs are now available, seven in New York City and six in other regions throughout the state, in addition to the nine programs that are continuing from prior years for a total of twenty-one. Since the 2014-2015 year, 407 teachers participating in the CR-ITI programs have completed coursework necessary for certification in either ESOL or a BE Extension in Spanish/English, Chinese/English, or Haitian Creole/English.  Visit our website for links to full information on these CR-ITI programs.

MLL/ELL Data Interface for Monitoring and Evaluating MLL/ELL Progress

This spring, OBEWL will pilot the new MLL/ELL Data Interface for monitoring and evaluating MLL/ELL progress with 25 districts across New York State. The Interface collects data for all the district’s MLLs/ELLs from the English Language Proficiency Accountability Indicator (ELP), Title III reporting, state assessment outcomes, and student demographics into a single tool. This tool will allow districts to analyze MLL/ELL outcomes at the district, school, and student levels allowing them to track progress and target interventions more effectively.

MLL/ELL Parent Guide to Community Based Organizations (CBOs)

OBEWL is committed to supporting MLLs/ELLs across NYS. We are equally committed to supporting their parents, families, and persons in parental relation. We are pleased to announce the publication of seven regional guides that list local and statewide community-based organizations (CBOs). The guides have been translated into Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish and will provide readers with a comprehensive and up to date list of CBOs in their communities. The guides begin by outlining NYSED guidance on recent immigration-related actions and include information about immigration status, discrimination, harassment and bullying in schools, and guidance from the New York State Governor’s office. This is followed by information on how to use the guide and the directory of local CBOs that provide a variety of services to immigrant families, including advocacy and assistance in various areas, such as community engagement, health care, insurance, housing, employment, legal services, lawful status, public assistance, and education. Parents of current and former MLLs/ELLs are encouraged to contact these organizations if and when they need assistance. We believe that informed parents are the best advocates for their children, and we are committed to empowering them.

Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework

On January 14, 2019, the Office of P-12 Instructional Support Services presented to the NYS Board of Regents the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework. The framework is intended to help education stakeholders create student-centered learning environments that affirm cultural identities; foster positive academic outcomes; develop students’ abilities to connect across lines of difference; elevate historically marginalized voices; empower students as agents of social change; and contribute to individual student engagement, learning, growth, and achievement through the cultivation of critical thinking. The framework was designed to support education stakeholders in developing and implementing policies that educate all students effectively and equitably, as well as provide appropriate supports and services to promote positive student outcomes.

The following resources are being finalized and will be available in the coming weeks:

Supporting Multilingual Learners and the Next Generation Learning Standards

In collaboration with Harvard University's Dr. Nonie Lesaux, NYSED will soon release professional learning opportunities and resources that will equip instructional leaders with practices that strengthen the instructional core and are designed to develop advanced literacy skills.  Please visit the OBEWL website for current resourcesdesigned to provide additional guidance to those serving linguistically diverse learners.

Supporting Emergent Multilingual Learners in Prekindergarten

In collaboration with Dr. Zoila Morell from CUNY Lehman, NYSED will soon release materials for educators, administrators and parents on the Emergent Multilingual Learner (EMLL) Protocol and on supporting the home language and ongoing learning in the Prekindergarten classroom.  We are very excited that we will provide professional learning opportunities and recorded best practices on meeting the needs of EMLLs. These exemplars are intended to demonstrate key areas such as: bilingual oral language development, emergent literacy, social interactions, differentiation for EMLLs, purposeful planning for the classroom and environment, and policy development for administrators. Please visit the OBEWL website for more information on EMLLs in Prekindergarten.

City University of New York (CUNY) Immigration Video Series

In collaboration with OBEWL, CUNY is developing a series of short videos and a resource guide for educators to support immigrant and refugee students and families in their school communities. These videos will soon be posted on the OBEWL website.

New Resources for Students with Interrupted/Inconsistent Formal Education

In the coming weeks, we will upload the SIFE curriculum to our website as a resource to help districts meet the needs of this population. The SIFE curriculum is a one-year intervention for newcomers in middle school and high school. The curriculum targets SIFE with developing literacy who are at or below third grade in home language literacy. The curriculum includes four full units of Integrated ELA/ENL and Stand-alone ENL, two units of Math, and two units of Science. We will also release:

  • A SIFE Manual designed for administrators and teachers looking for guidance and best practices around SIFE intake, programming, and instruction.
  • A Native Language Arts Adapted Unit for SIFE that will include one exemplar/sample unit in Spanish for native speakers aligned to the Integrated ELA curriculum for SIFE with developing literacy.

CUNY BERSSI Topic Briefs

In association with the CUNY Graduate Center, we will soon release a variety of topic briefs, resource guides, and videos for educators, administrators, and parents regarding MLL/ELL sub populations and other topics such as: Developing Biliteracy in Dual Language Classrooms, Best Practices for Emergent Multilingual Learners, Preparing MLLs/MLL for ELA Regents, and more.

MLL/ELL Science Initiative

Our Science MLL/ELL Initiative has been created to promote implementation of NYS P-12 Science Learning Standards by developing the capacity of State leaders including superintendents, ELL instructional leaders, and science instructional leaders at the district level across the state. This project will carry out two sets of intersecting activities—webinars and in-person workshops—drawing upon exemplary practices using instructional materials, topic briefs, classroom videos, and case studies.

Again, we want to thank all of you for your continuous commitment to support MLLs/ELLs across New York State! Please share with us your stories of Multilingual Learner achievements, so that we can spotlight those students, like Selinay Kaplan below, who exceed expectations and remind us of why our work makes a difference.

Lissette Colón-Collins
Assistant Commissioner of Bilingual Education and World Languages

Updated: 5/24/19