No. 12, October 2023. The Impact of the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program: Expanding Opportunities to Grow the Profession
Linda R. G. Kaminski , Ed.D.; Magaly Lavadenz , Ph.D.; and Elvira G. Armas , Ed.D.
This research brief presents a study on the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program (BTPDP), a legislature-approved initiative to help California schools meet the growing demand for bilingual teachers in alignment with increasing state policies promoting multilingualism. The BTPDP funded eight grantees to support their preparation and professional development of bilingual educators. The study examines the BTPDP implementation from 2017-2021 to document trends in program impact and develop policy and program recommendations that address bilingual teacher shortages. Key findings revealed successes in increasing the bilingual teacher workforce as well as challenges that must be addressed to ensure the state’s vision can be realized. Given these findings, the authors propose three recommendations to help state and local policy actors develop a coherent and sustainable bilingual teacher education system: (1) Ensure adequate investments in California’s multilingual workforce; (2) Expand multilingual/dual language teacher credential/authorization programs and testing options; and (3) Intentionally develop multilingual/dual language programs, and provide the encouragement and support needed to promote successful multilingual/dual language teachers and leaders.
Linda R. G. Kaminski , Ed.D.; Magaly Lavadenz , Ph.D.; Elvira G. Armas , Ed.D.; and Grecya V. López , M.S.
This research brief presents a case study of an English Learner Improvement Network (ELIN), a group of educators focused on a shared problem of practice in English Learner education and supported through extensive collaboration between researchers and practitioners in English Learner education and Improvement Science. The case study involves an urban school district and a charter organization each serving between 50-80% of students who have ever been English Learners. The research brief identifies five key themes that contribute to knowledge of the English Learner Improvement Networks’ ability to support English Learner improvement: (1) Expert Partnerships Support Improvement; (2) Context Impacts Improvement; (3) Smaller Steps Lead to Larger Changes; (4) Collaborative Coaching Counts; and (5) Teacher Leaders Support Implementation. This ELIN is highlighted as a model of a systemic and coherent approach to educational improvement for ELs through the extensive collaboration provided in English Learner content and Improvement Science process.
No. 10, April 2022: Uplifting the Perspectives and Preferences of the Families of English Learners in Los Angeles Unified School District and Charter Schools: Findings from a Representative Poll
Jeimee Estrada-Miller, M.P.P.; Leni Wolf, M.P.A.; Elvira G. Armas, Ed.D.; and Magaly Lavadenz, Ph.D.
This research and policy brief uplifts findings from a 2021 poll of 129 LAUSD and affiliate charter school English Learner families. The poll covers a broad range of topics including families’ pandemic experiences in and outside of school, communication with schools, levels of engagement and representation in school-based decisions, and expectations of schools for the future. Findings indicate that: (1) a majority of EL families are engaged and report that they attend school activities; (2) EL families report feeling heard at their school sites and would like more personalized communication like home visits and calls; (3) EL families want more information about their child’s academic and English language development; and (4) EL Families want schools to rethink how they educate students, including more one-on-one academic support and wrap-around services. Based on these findings, the authors make both short- and long-term recommendations for policy and practice. This brief is intended to be used as a supplement to the full report—a joint effort by Great Public Schools Now, Loyola Marymount University’s Center for Equity for English Learners, and Families in Schools which captures perspectives of 500 English learner and non-English learner families.
Magaly Lavadenz, Ph.D.; Jongyeon Ee, Ph.D.; Elvira G. Armas, Ed.D.; and Grecya V. López, M.S.Ed.
This research and policy brief uplifts findings from a 2020 survey of 223 California school district leaders. Findings regarding the preparation of beginning bilingual/dual language educators indicate that leaders rated teachers’ linguistic competencies in two languages as the most important ability, followed by teachers’ understanding of bilingualism and biliteracy development and linguistic pedagogical knowledge. Respondents rated beginning bilingual teachers’ preparation to meet the needs of their districts/schools as “moderately well” (M=3.1 out of 5). The brief concludes by identifying policy recommendations for state and local levels as well as for institutions of higher education policies and practice in this statewide “new ecology of biliteracy”: (1) data collection and reporting on bilingual teacher demographics and authorization; (2) increased quality of fieldwork and clinical experiences for future bilingual teachers; (3) increased funding for bilingual teacher preparation programs to diversity pipelines into bilingual education preparation programs, recruitment, support, and program completion; and (4) differentiated professional development experiences for beginning bilingual teachers including mentoring, learning communities, and cross-departmental teams.
No.8, July 2020: Examining English Learners’ College Readiness and Postsecondary Enrollment in California
Marco A. Murillo Ph.D. and Magaly Lavadenz Ph.D.
Given a growing asset-based approach to equipping English Learners (ELs) with the knowledge and skills to enter and succeed in postsecondary education, this brief examines ELs’ college readiness and postsecondary education outcomes in California. It includes a brief summary of relevant literature on college readiness among EL students. Researchers then present data retrieved from the California Department of Education on college readiness and postsecondary education. The results show that EL students lack access to college preparatory courses, have a low rate of meeting the state’s College/Career Indicator, and enroll in postsecondary education at lower rates than other groups. This policy brief concludes with recommendations for state-, district-, and school-level improvements for ELs’ college readiness and postsecondary enrollment.
No.7, March 2019: Bilingual Teacher Residency Programs in California: Considerations for Development and Expansion
Magaly Lavadenz Ph.D., Elvira G. Armas Ed.D., and Natividad Robles
Public interest, research and policies about dual language education and the multiple benefits of bilingualism and biliteracy have led to shortages of bilingual education teachers in the state and nation. School districts and educator preparation programs are actively looking for pathways of bilingual teacher preparation to meet local demands for more dual language programs. Modeled after medical residencies, teacher residencies are deeply rooted in clinical training, typically placing residents in classrooms with experienced teachers in high-needs schools where they are supported in their development. Teacher residencies allow for the recruitment of teachers, offer strong clinical preparation, connect new teachers to mentors and provide financial incentives to retain teachers in the school/district of residency. Little is known however, about bilingual teacher residencies in the state. Following a review of various data sources, researchers find that, to date, there are few bilingual teacher residencies offered and that there is a need to expand and study bilingual teacher residencies as one of the most viable pathways to respond to this shortage.
No.6, December 2017: District Administrators' Perspectives on the Impact of The Local Control Funding Formula on English Learners
Magaly Lavadenz Ph.D. and Gisela OBrien Ph.D.
Two years into implementation, this policy brief examines how California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and its accompanying Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) meet the needs of English Learners (ELs). Researchers seek to understand district administrator perspectives on the impact of LCFF for ELs through interviews and focus groups with administrators that represent districts from Northern, Central, and Southern California. Findings reveal that although the LCAP serves as a mechanism to increase personnel and PD efforts to address EL needs, it is still largely viewed as a compliance document that requires alignment with other strategic documents and is sensitive to changes in leadership. The following policy recommendations are made as a result of these findings: 1) re-design the LCAP to support districts in specifying EL learning goals, services, assessments and expected outcomes; 2) differentiate support for district administrators; and 3) invest (long-term) in district-level and site-level professional development with a focus on EL success.
Magaly Lavadenz Ph.D. and Anaida Colón-Muñiz Ed.D.
This policy brief explores trends in U.S. K-12 Hispanic student enrollment vs. the Hispanic teacher workforce as a way to call attention to the bilingual teacher shortage. Successful examples of past efforts to increase the number of Latino and bilingual teachers are reviewed and the following policy recommendations are made: 1) expand investment in grow your own initiatives that recruit students in middle and high school students and emerging educational paraprofessionals into the bilingual teacher pipeline; 2) establish regional teacher preparation and professional learning centers and consortia; 3) offer financial supports; and 4) enhance university-based credentialing routes, internship and residency programs.
No.4, September 2015: Incorporating Scaffolded Dialogic Reading Practice in Teacher Training: An Opportunity to Improve Instruction for Young Dual Language Learners in Transitional Kindergarten
Carola Matera Ph.D.
Findings from a joint collaborative between the Center for Equity for English Learners (CEEL) at Loyola Marymount University and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to provide professional development and coaching to Transitional Kindergarten (TK) teachers on the Scaffolded Dialogic Reading (SDR) are presented in this policy brief. SDR is a method to enhance language skills through dialogue and research-based scaffolds between teachers and small groups of children mediated through repeated readings of storybooks. The purpose of this brief is to: 1) state the opportunity to ensure Dual Language Learner (DLL) support within California’s TK policy; 2) provide a synthesis of research findings; and 3) provide TK professional learning and policy recommendations that would allow for the inclusion of professional development on evidence-based practices purposefully integrated with DLL supports. Policy recommendations include: 1) utilize professional learning modules such as SDR in 24 ECE unit requirement for TK teachers; 2) include individuals with ECE and DLL expertise in the ECE Teacher Preparation Advisory Panel; and 3) allocate additional funds in the state budget for training on SDR, in-classroom support for TK teachers of DLLs, and evaluation of these efforts.
Karen Cadiero Kaplan, Ph.D.; Magaly Lavadenz, Ph.D.; and Elvira G. Armas, Ed.D.
One of the most powerful variables for English Learner success is the quality of their teachers. This policy brief published by Californians Together (1) provides a synthesis of effective practices for instructing ELs; (2) presents four research-based essential elements critical for EL program implementation, teacher reflection, and monitoring of teacher effectiveness; and (3) concludes with program and policy recommendations. Three key areas for policy action are prioritized: (1) District and state level policies must require that local and state leadership support the implementation of these essential elements; (2) Alignment of fiscal and human resources must be targeted to ensure that teachers are provided with professional development, materials and curricular program supports required to implement these key elements leading to English learner success; and (3) Teacher preparation and credential requirements need to incorporate the four critical elements of effective practice for success with English Learners.
Laurie Olsen Ph.D.
Findings from a 3-year (2006-2009) evaluation of the PROMISE Model pilot are presented in this policy brief that seeks to address three questions: 1) What is the PROMISE Model ?; 2) What changes occurred in schools as a results of implementing the PROMISE Model ?; and 3) What are the lessons learned from the PROMISE Model pilot that can contribute to an understanding of school reform for English Learners? A qualitative, ethnographic approach allowed for exploration of the research questions. The researcher identified five foundational elements to the PROMISE Model. Implementation of the PROMISE Model increased use of EL specific research-based approaches to student grouping, placement, instruction, school structures, curriculum choices, program design and practices in addition to more knowledgeable and advocacy-oriented leaders and distributive leadership. The brief presents five lessons learned that contribute to a deeper understanding of the impact of a school reform model on English Learners. Two policy recommendations include: 1) broadly disseminate research on effective EL education and provide an infrastructure of support with EL expertise; and 2) adopt the PROMISE Model or components of the model as a viable school improvement strategy.
Franca Dell'Olio Ed.D. and Kristen Anguiano
Findings from the first two years of a 3-year evaluation of the PROMISE Model pilot are presented in this policy brief that seeks to understand the extent to which school principals know, understand, and act upon research-based principles for English Language Learners (ELL) and their intersection with the California Professional Standards for Educational Leadership related to promoting ELL success. Surveys and focus groups were used to gather data from school principals at fifteen schools throughout Southern California including early childhood, elementary, middle, and high schools. School principals identified several areas where PROMISE serves as a beacon of hope in promoting and validating critical conversations around a collective vision for success for all learners including ELL, bilingual/biliterate, and monolingual students. Educational and policy recommendations are provided for the following areas: 1) recruitment and selection of personnel and professional development; 2) accountability, communication and support; and 3) university-based educational leadership programs. This policy brief concludes with a call for school principals to facilitate the development, implementation, and stewardship of a vision for learning that highlights success for English Learners and shared by the school and district community.
No.1, December 2007: Parent Involvement and the Education of English Learners and Standard English Learners: Perspectives of LAUSD Parent Leader
Magaly Lavadenz Ph.D., Elvira G. Armas Ed.D., and Irene Villanueva Ph.D.
This policy brief reports findings from a survey of parent leaders in 2007 that sought to understand what parents of English Learners and Standard English Learners think about the education of their children and about parent education and involvement in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Surveys with 513 LAUSD parent leaders revealed low ratings for LAUSD’s parent education efforts as well as for student academic programs. Open-ended responses point both to educational as well as policy recommendations in the following areas: 1) home/school collaboration; 2) professional development, curriculum and Instruction, and tutors/support; and 3) accountability. This policy brief concludes that improvement in the educational experiences and outcomes for Standard English Learners and English Learners can happen by capitalizing on existing parent leadership.
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