Miami Prepares For Impact Of Common Core Standards On ELLs

School districts around the country are scrambling to phase in the Common Core State Standards. The consensus seems to be that more teacher training and professional development is needed, especially because the new standards are much more rigorous.

But are districts considering their English language learner population as they phase in the changes?

I recently wrote a piece about how the Miami-Dade Public Schools are trying to address how the changes will impact ELLs. The district held training about the common core and ELLs for 200 teachers in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program over the summer. In addition, the school district has developed pacing guides for teachers that include notes on how lessons can be adapted for ELLs.

“We are modeling for the teachers how to make the instruction very explicit and very concrete,” said Beatriz Pereira, executive director of bilingual education and world languages at Miami-Dade. “The standards are extremely high.”

In Miami, the common core standards have been implemented in kindergarten through third grade. Miami-Dade has about 70,000 ELL students district wide.

Some teachers feel there needs to be more training on how to teach ELLs–not just for ESOL teachers, but also for core subject area teachers and teachers who are not solely dedicated to teaching ELLs.

“The common core standards for ELLs sound great,” said Gustavo Rivera, a history teacher at Miami Springs High School and member of the Hispanic Educators Committee of the United Teachers of Dade. “It’s all very nice until you get to the area of application. How do you apply them? That, to me, is the most worrisome.”

You should ask your local district about the training they are offering to teachers on the common core–and if any time is spent addressing how the standards impact ELLs. Is the school district putting time into addressing the group?

EWA hosted a conference  last week about the impact of the common core on ELLs along with the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University’s “Understanding Language” initiative.  Click here to view videos from the seminar. To read tweets from the conference, look up the hashtag #ewaell.

Related Links:

– “Common Core and ELLs: Lessons from Miami.” Education Writers Association.

Understanding Language. Stanford University.

– Colorin Colorado

– Council of the Great City Schools.

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