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Blog | | Early Edge California

Early Edge Hosts the 2nd Meeting of its COVID-19 Learning Community Focused on DLLs and ELs in PreK-3rd Grade

The second convening of the Dual Language Learner (DLL) / English Learner (EL) PreK-3rd COVID-19 Learning Community took place on Thursday, February 25th, 2021. Learning Community participants identified the following topics as critical issues they are currently facing in their work with DLLs and ELs: Addressing future learning loss, family partnership and engagement strategies, and effective professional development. Early Edge then identified participants from the Community who were interested in sharing more about a particular topic, providing a space to lift up successes and share resources amongst the Community members and create an opportunity for the group to reflect on their own strategies and practices. 

Early Edge’s partners from Center for Equity for English Learners at Loyola Marymount University (LMU-CEEL) were invited to join the Convening and shared a brief presentation on the subject of addressing learning recovery and resilience and equity for DLL/ELs in PreK through 3rd grade contexts.

Below are a few highlights from topic areas presented by LMU-CEEL and other members of the Learning Community.

Addressing Learning Recovery and Resilience 
Presenters: LMU-CEEL

  • Highlighted the importance of including and listening to student and family voices, not only to provide opportunities for student and family voice, but to ensure their voices are included in local decisions and plans.
  • Consistent and responsive communication with stakeholders is critical. Presenters have heard from many families and nonprofit partners who work closely with families that frequently provide their input, but do not see their needs or responses reflected in the official policy documents that move forward. To get stakeholders involved in the process, it is essential that the engagement is genuinely meaningful and that input is used.
  • Recognize that students have diverse language and academic needs. Leaders must take action to address those needs by designating and integrating language development throughout the curriculum and also by providing coaching and job-embedded professional development for their program staff.

 

Family Engagement and Partnership
Presenters: LA Mission College CDC, Grail Family Services

A few lessons learned that emerged from both presentations included:

  • The need to pivot and think outside the box to provide family engagement events in a new, virtual setting.
  • The impact of shifting mindsets around family engagement approaches to view families as essential and critical partners.
  • The importance of including family engagement elements in teacher pre-service coursework.

The group identified the following as strategies and solutions to consider within their own contexts:

  • Elevating family and student voice in reopening plans.
  • Asking families about the positives and opportunities that have come about as a result of the pandemic and increased time at home.
  • Shifting the focus from compliance to developing genuine family partnership and engagement.

 

Effective Professional Development (PD)
Presenters: Azusa Unified School District, Redwood City School District

A few lessons learned that emerged from both presentations included:           

  • Implementing effective professional development includes work beforehand: Programs must establish a culture of transparency and trust among teachers so they can feel comfortable with constructive feedback and growth.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has created new needs and concerns, increasing the demand for PD
  • The positive impact of providing teachers with ongoing support as opposed to one-off trainings.

The group identified the following as strategies and solutions to consider within their own contexts:

  • Ensuring that teachers / community members drive what topics and types of professional development opportunities are provided.
  • Remaining flexible and adaptive to community and teacher needs when selecting PD opportunities.
  • Embedding pauses in the work of leaders to allow for opportunities to take a step back and develop plans.

 

Resources 

A variety of resources were shared during the meeting. These resources are available below:

Special thanks to all the participants for their time and willingness to share resources and strategies with each other during the particularly challenging circumstances of the 2020-2021 school year.

Early Edge plans to host the third and final meeting of the year in May 2021. We encourage you to reach out if your district/organization is interested in this work. We understand that DLL/EL programs for children in PreK-3rd grade continue to expand across all settings, and we would love the opportunity to learn more! For more information on the Learning Community or the project, please contact us info@earlyedgecalifornia.org.

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