Parent Literacy Trainings in Action

Region 13 Bilingual/ESL Specialist Ivonne Santiago is presenting Parent Literacy Training for ELL parents of students K-2. In just 45 minutes to 1 hour, each workshop in the series of 8 offers parents strategies for increasing student literacy at home. Districts have the choice of receiving the training in Spanish or in English, and the series can be customized to fit campus needs. Additionally, each session features a goal setting component to help parents focus on student needs.

The 8 topics:

  • The Importance of Reading to Your Child
  • Finding the Right Book
  • Vocabulary Development
  • Comprehension
  • Questioning Techniques
  • Improving Fluency
  • The Reading and Writing Connection
  • Literacy in Spanish and English

See Parent Literacy Training in action at Rockdale ISD:


Why SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) is Essential for ELLs

When considering language acquisition, anxiety, stress and self-consciousness can become major roadblocks for ELL students. When a student’s affective filter is crowded with these distractions, the ability to focus on instruction becomes a challenge. Frustration, low-motivation, and boredom often follow exponentially.

While there are many accommodations and strategies teachers can employ to help lower the affective filter, SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) activities can also contribute to the effort. Students require safety and comfort in the classroom, but also the social tools to successfully interact with their peers and the regulatory mechanisms to check in on their own well-being.

“Social and emotional skills taught in classrooms often include skills such as kindness, empathy, gratitude, resilience and fairness. While all students can benefit from instruction in what these skills look like, English learners in particular will need support in what the skills sound like, including the words and phrases that exemplify the particular skill. Cultural considerations should also be discussed, as the particular skill may manifest in different ways in different cultures, especially in terms of how people appropriately react to them, and the gestures and body language associated with the skills.”

Excerpt quote and photo credit go to:

Read more here and here.

7 Great Resources for Parents of ELLs

Want to support your ELL students when they are away from the classroom? Promoting parental and community participation in ESL or Bilingual Programs for ELLs helps to ensure a rich learning environment at home.  Providing parents with resources like the ones below is a great way to help parents stay active in the education of their children:

As campus staff, here are some additional ways you can help build relationships with families:

1. Face to face meetings with parents of ELLs to discuss ways they can help their ELLs at home and school.

2. Help set up a parent center in your school stocked with resources to help and lend out to parents of ELLs.

3. Provide short workshops to parents of ELLs on various academic topics such as writing tips, homework tips, vocabulary tips, etc.

4. Work in collaboration with your community social service worker or guidance counselor to find learning opportunities such as ESL classes or parenting classes.

5. Work in collaboration with school ESL teacher or administrator to visit homes of ELLs.


-Contains excerpts from a Title III SSA release from ESC 17.


Connecting Content and Language for English Language Learners

Want to develop your pedagogy, academic language strategies, and differentiation techniques necessary to address the diverse needs of your ELLs? Join us at the Region 13 ESC for a 4-part series called Connecting Content and Language for English Language Learners.

Who: K-12 Teachers of ELLs

What: Connecting Content and Language for English Language Learners (FA1737608)

When: 10/16/17, 11/13/17, 12/6/17, 1/10/18

Where:  Region 13 ESC, 5701 Springdale Road, Austin, TX 78723

Professional Learning Objectives

  • Build pedagogical knowledge related to language development

  • Understand Content ELD and ALD

  • Learn to create a language rich environment and acquire strategies for building academic language

  • Experience research-based practices for making content comprehensible

  • Learn research-based strategies for generating output and structured language interaction

  • Acquire ELD strategies that best lend themselves to each of the content areas

  • Learn how to scaffold and differentiate language learning in the content areas for varying levels of language proficiency

Register here!

NOTE: FREE for one secondary teacher/coach per district who is participating in the Title III Shared Service Agreement (SSA). Districts not in the Title III SSA are allowed to send one secondary teacher/coach for $400 (includes four days of training and materials). Districts participating in the  Bilingual Coop may send one teacher/coach at reduced rate of 50% off.


What Everyone Should Know About Child Refugees

In 2016, students with refugee status numbered 37,500, while 90,000 more newcomers settled here without the official designation. Many arrive with very little, taking great risks for the prospect of safety and security in a new home. Young people are often unaccompanied in their journey to the United States, traveling and often living with extended family or friends.

Watch this short video about 16 year-old Ana and her 8 year-old sister. Their unique family situation is just one of many challenges to consider when discussing the obstacles refugee students face. Recent changes in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy have many concerned. As educators it is our responsibility to mitigate this stress and anxiety for our immigrant students.

For the latest updates on federal policy and DACA, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

Want to learn more about the challenges faced by refugee students? Attend CIMA to learn how you can support this student population. The Conference on Instruction for Multilingual Advancement takes place on November 6 & 7. Find out more here.

Image credit goes to Child Trends News Service.

Looking ahead to October LPAC

As September comes to a close, and you are wrapping up BOY LPAC meetings, it’s a great idea to look ahead and plan for the coming months. The LPAC Year-at-a-Glance (check your livebinder) is a great resource to keep close by when considering your ELLs and their annual progress.

Need a refresh on meeting protocol? Review the LPAC Framework here, and check out the video series by Region 20 ESC for some quick examples of how to conduct your meetings.

Strategies that Advance ELLs’ Academic & Linguistic Success

Want to help your ELLs by adding some new tools to your belt? This hands-on opportunity provides educators practical tools and a variety of techniques that will help your English language learners understand content curriculum while simultaneously developing their social and academic speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills. We will highlight several effective learning strategies and discuss how to adapt and differentiate the activities throughout the grade levels and across content areas.

This training and the training titled Effective ELL Engagement & Formative Assessment Strategies (SP1837733) are best taken in sequence as they complement each other, but it is not required.

Who:  Teachers of ELLs

What: Strategies that Advance ELLs’ Academic & Linguistic Success (FA1738187)

When: September 27, 2017 9am-4pm

Sign-up here!

More than 1 million ELLs…

…attend Texas Public Schools Pre-K through Grade 12 according to a profile created by E3 Alliance, a regional education collaborative.  In the 2016-17 school year, 90% of ELLs in Texas spoke Spanish as their first language. The other 100,000+ claimed more than 130 additional languages as their L1.

Central Texas as defined by E3, proudly serves more than 1/3 of ELLs in Texas, a growing reminder of our responsibility in public schools. To best serve a next generation of ELL learners, we must as educators keep one finger on the pulse of current data and another in the wind for the latest professional development. To become more familiar with our ELL population, check out the numbers at


Want to know how to improve the learning outcomes of this group of students? The Conference on Instruction for Multilingual Advancement takes place on November 6 & 7. Find out more here.

Build Meaningful Structured Reading Into Your Content Area Now

ReadWorks created “Article-A-Day” to help teachers connect content to best practice reading activities. These texts are categorized not only by content area, but by grade level, making differentiation easy.  Subscribe and use these daily articles in your existing reading activity OR try their step-by-step activity here. The exercise is quick, and features opportunities for students to listen, speak and write about their learning, putting all four language domains to work.

See the full site and “Article-A-Day” activity  here.

Image credit from this post goes to ReadWorks.

Interested in learning how to better serve the language learners on your campus/district? Check out our Conference on Instruction for Multilingual Advancement Conference