Making a Difference for English Learners: A Pilot Project Shows What Works Best to Help Administrators Develop the Leadership Skills and Knowledge Needed to Create Effective English Learner Programs

By Archibeque, Modrite; Castellon, Martha et al. | Leadership, May-June 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Making a Difference for English Learners: A Pilot Project Shows What Works Best to Help Administrators Develop the Leadership Skills and Knowledge Needed to Create Effective English Learner Programs


Archibeque, Modrite, Castellon, Martha, Kibler, Amanda, Vaughan, Donna Alonzo, Leadership


Educational research often provides us with the vision and inspiration to improve instruction, but the reality of today's schools can make these goals difficult to achieve. This article explores how a unique partnership between university researchers and practitioners has helped school leaders develop and implement effective, research-based programs for English learners.

Why English learners? Why now?

In our state and across the nation, schools have become increasingly multilingual, diverse places: almost one out of every four students sitting in California classrooms today is designated as an English learner (California Department of Education). Such trends are likely to become even more dramatic, according to information gathered by the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (2008). They estimate that California's K-12 enrollment of English learners in the past decade has increased almost 20 percent, while the overall school population has remained relatively static.

But while student populations are changing, demographic shifts in teaching and administrative staff are not keeping pace. Current CDE statistics indicate that approximately 70 percent of teachers and 67 percent of school administrators in the state are white (not Hispanic), and many teachers and administrators do not share students' linguistic or socioeconomic backgrounds.

In response to the increasing EL population, teachers of English learners in our state have been required to obtain a CLAD (Cross-cultural Language and Academic Development) Certificate, or what is now known as an English Learner Endorsement. Yet, despite so many years of training teachers to work with English learners, no parallel opportunities or certification exist at the administrative level, despite the fact that some administrators may have left the classroom without having taught English learners.

Further, while many California administrators have completed CLAD training, they have few avenues for developing the leadership skills and knowledge necessary to create effective English learner programs and support teachers' efforts to provide effective classroom instruction for these students.

Stanford University's School of Education has long been involved in CLAD preparation for teachers. The current series of online CLAD courses (see ellib.stanford.edu) were developed under the guidance of professors Guadalupe Valdes and Kenji Hakuta, who recognized the need to provide administrators with specialized training.

Using a Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Stanford researchers, graduate students, and Modrite Archibeque, a former assistant superintendent, created a course specifically for principals--the Stanford Executive Program for School Leaders--which consists of videos, readings, and hands-on activities covering the following topics:

* legal and policy issues relating to English learner programs,

* second language acquisition theory,

* characteristics of immigrant English learners,

* English language development,

* content instruction for English learners,

* English learner assessment, and

* accountability for schools with English learners.

The Stanford Executive Program's materials expand upon Stanford's existing CLAD training resources, focusing on school leadership and English learner program development while also keeping in mind administrators' busy schedules, critical needs, and differing levels of English learner expertise.

Making the university-school connection

After creating these materials, Professor Valdes connected with Bill Barr, retired Monterey County superintendent of schools and adjunct professor, to find districts that might be interested in piloting such a program. Barr suggested that Salinas City Elementary School District, with Superintendent Donna Alonzo Vaughan at the helm, might be a perfect fit.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Making a Difference for English Learners: A Pilot Project Shows What Works Best to Help Administrators Develop the Leadership Skills and Knowledge Needed to Create Effective English Learner Programs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?