When Early Edge California successfully advocated for $5 million in the 2018 state budget for DLL-related professional development funding with support from Assemblymember Reyes, the Legislature, and the California Department of Education (CDE), it was a monumental step forward for California’s dual language learners (DLLs) and the teachers who support them.
But this moment did not mark the end of our efforts. In fact, it was only the beginning of a journey we are on with the grantees who received this funding. In partnership with the California Department of Education, Early Edge is hosting a series of convenings throughout the duration of the the DLL-PD grant funding period. The convenings allow grantees to come together to share about their programs around DLL professional development for Early Learning teachers.
They also provide a space for the grantees to exchange, by sharing successes, challenges, and lessons learned, as well as identifying opportunities for collaboration. Ultimately these biannual convenings help inform statewide professional development efforts and collect concrete data about professional development as part of an external evaluation thanks to support from the Sobrato Family Foundation, to build the case for more funding so direly needed across the state for our large and growing population of DLLs.
During our most recent convening held last month in Sacramento, we met with grantees who shared their experiences and key takeaways since our last meeting in June, including both successes and challenges:
- This grant is allowing agencies to come together, who otherwise would not have the opportunity to do so.
- Grantees have noted enthusiasm and responsiveness for this training from county offices, districts, and individuals across the state.
- One grantee shared, “I am impressed by the ‘hunger’ out in the field for this training.”
- There is a lack of structure to allow for teachers to participate in training opportunities.
- There is a lack of substitutes and of teacher release time.
- In addition, teachers do not get “academic credits” for their participation in the training. How can we partner with community colleges to allow for teachers to obtain academic credits for their participation?
- There is confusion in the field about the term DLL versus EL. “DLL” tends to get tied to “program model”. We need a base of understanding across the field.
- Coaches are critical in building capacity across the state.
We would like to thank the Sobrato Family Foundation and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation for supporting the DLL-PD evaluation and these grantee convenings.