English learners (ELs) make up approximately one quarter of California's six million public school students and come from a wide range of backgrounds--from students who have recently arrived from another country to those who have attended US schools for years. English learner students have the dual challenge of learning English while learning through English, as well as the asset of knowing two or more languages and cultures. These reports and articles provide information about English learners and the best ways to meet their needs in order to close existing achievement gaps between EL students and their peers.
CSBA Governance Briefs
Early Childhood English Learners
The links below are to sources of information on the development and education of early childhood English language learners. They cover a range of topics related to the education of early childhood English learners. These topics include: instructional strategies; parent-training and involvement; developing community partnerships; and promoting students' social and emotional development.
Expanded Learning Time and English Learners
Out-of-School-Time (OST) programs offer the ability to expand the school day and provide English learner students with more time in educational settings that help to address the dual learning challenges they face. Research shows that this additional time can make a difference if used effectively. To that end, this brief highlights research-supported ways in which OST programs might be particularly well suited to support EL students during that extra time.
English Learners and the Common Core State Standards
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) indicate that considerations for the supports that English learners need in order to meet the standards is "beyond the scope of the Standards" (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2010b, p. 6.) The articles below provide guidance on how to address the needs of EL students in the Common Core context. The following articles discuss the increased focus on academic language that is a hallmark of the Common Core State Standards, and provide suggestions on how to provide instruction that helps English learners access instruction that is based on these standards.
Secondary Level English Learners
While the majority of California's English Learners are in the elementary grades, in 2012-13 more than 1/4 were in grades 7-12. The challenges of providing an appropriate education for these students are significant. For example, well over half of the secondary school English Learners in California are Long Term English Learners - struggling academically and stuck in their progress towards English proficiency despite six or more years in U.S. schools. The articles below include an analysis of California's long term English learners based on statewide data from over 175,000 ELs in grades 6-12; a publication that culls the lessons learned from districts throughout the state and provides needed guidance for the field about how to design and implement courses that address the needs of these students; and an overview of English Learners in the United States.
Teacher Skills and Understanding for Successful English Learner Instruction in Academic Language
The Common Core State Standards will place new academic language demands on English learners. The following articles address the teacher skills and understanding necessary to provide the effective, simultaneous teaching of academic language skills and the rigorous content that EL (and all) students need in order to succeed including mentoring practices for helping teachers build their capacity in these areas.