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ELL Experts Share Expertise with Local Educators

April 28, 2015

Teddi and Diane
Teddi Predaris and Diane Staehr Fenner, nationally acclaimed experts on K-12 ELL issues.

Diane Staehr Fenner and Teddi Predaris, nationally acclaimed experts on K-12 English language learner (ELL) issues, standards and assessments, presented at Stoney Creek in April for three full days. The first day was dedicated to district administrators and attended by an appreciative and highly engaged group. Days 2 and 3 engaged teams of teachers of ELLs, both ESL teachers and content and grade-level teachers, across the curriculum. The timely infusion of national expertise was praised by all attendees.

In light of recent attention focused on English learners in Iowa, the workshop aimed to promote advocacy for ELLs in schools and districts based on historical laws and Supreme Court decisions (Lau v. Nichols, 1974), as well as on findings by various monitoring visits across the country.  One such recent Title III visit to Iowa found ELL support in K-12 schools was often in need of strengthening.

Staehr Fenner, author of Advocating for English Learners: A Guide for Educators (2014), has been instrumental in providing professional development and technical assistance to such-esteemed clients as the American Federation of Teachers, the Center for Applied Linguistics, the National Education Association, the Peace Corps, several state departments of education, Colorín Colorado, and most recently Heartland AEA.

Heartland AEA ESL/Diversity consultant, Janet Hiatt, summarized the three day event as a way for administrators, ESL and non-ESL educators to come together in collaboration to “share the responsibility as well as the joy” of working with ELLs.

Administrators left the professional development with new approaches for hiring and evaluating ALL teachers of ELLs. Both administrators and teachers became more familiar with ELL legislation, how language and culture affected learning and best practices for adapting Core instruction for ELLs.

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