March 22, 2021
Season 1, Episode 4:
After the distance learning experiments of 2020, schools have an opportunity to engage multilingual learners and their families in a whole new way - or maybe even for the first time. In this episode, Peter DeWitt talks with Debbie Zacarian, Margarita Calderon, and Margo Gottlieb, the authors of Beyond Crises, about how school leaders can reach this population of students and families. The authors share practical starting points and real stories from schools doing amazing work. You'll hear: - why starting with a strengths-based approach, rather than a deficit lens, is so crucial; - how district leaders can make supporting multilingual learners a priority; - how to give multilingual students agency
Debbie Zacarian is known nationally for her work in advancing student achievement, policies, programming and professional development with schools. She is a popular and frequent speaker at national and international conferences of major education organizations, as well as state conferences throughout the United States.
Check out Zacarian Consulting: Achievement through Access, Equity, and Engagement, and connect with her on Twitter.
For over 25 years, Margarita Calderón has been conducting research on English Language Learners and professional development for content, ESL, Special Education and bilingual teachers and administrators. Her focus is integrating CCSS into ELL instruction, establishing teacher learning communities, and coaching/supervising teachers with ELLs.
Author: Beyond Crises, Breaking Down the Wall, Teaching Reading to English Learners Grades 6-12, Academic Language Mastery: Vocabulary in Context, Preventing Long-Term ELs, Designing and Implementing Two-Way Bilingual Programs.
Margo Gottlieb is an expert in curriculum, instruction, and assessment of language learners, having started her career as a teacher and currently working with teachers and school leaders across the United States and internationally.
Author: Beyond Crises, Classroom Assessment in Multiple Languages, Breaking Down the Wall, Language Power, Assessing English Language Learners: Bridges to Educational Equity, Academic Language in Diverse Classrooms: Definitions and Contexts, Academic Language in Diverse Classrooms: English Language Arts Grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, Academic Language in Diverse Classrooms: Mathematics Grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8.
Connect with her on Twitter.
Peter DeWitt (Ed.D.), a former school principal in Upstate, NY, previously taught elementary school for 11 years. His syndicated blog, Finding Common Ground, is published by Education Week and he is a freelance writer for Vanguard Magazine. Peter has traveled the world, developing content, visiting school sites, influencing policy, and presenting with John Hattie. He has worked with educators at schools, districts, educational service centers, and educational organizations, including the Council of Chief State School Officials. His presentations focus on school leadership, school climate, as well as safeguarding LGBT students and other social justice topics.
What are some lessons learned from the Pandemic?
We learned that, in times of crises, the humanitarian needs of students, families, and ourselves must be a top priority.
Above all, we learned that the “normal” many of us have yearned for was never good enough—that we must envision a “better world,” where we build on our multilingual students’ unique assets and cultivate their inner brilliance. Only then will we deliver on their promise.
It’s this “better world,” a world in which communities, schools, and classrooms work together as a “whole-child ecosystem,” Beyond Crises: Overcoming Linguistic and Cultural Inequities in Communities, Schools, and Classrooms sets out to create.
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Struggling to find a solution to a persistent issue at your school? Would like to hear more about a certain topic? Have some insight to share?