This session will examine bullying in general, and delve into the problem and prevalence of bullying which targets EL and immigrant students. We will also review the legal ramifications of “deliberate indifference” with regard to failure to address bullying in their schools. Finally, we will conclude with information on preventing, recognizing, and responding to protected class bullying in order to create a safe, supportive, harassment-free school climate.
Participants will: Identify common elements of bullying, including “protected class” bullying; Examine factors which lead to the prevalence of EL/immigrant/refugee bullying; Critique bullying scenarios to determine if criminal or civil law violations exist (B) Ensuring Equal Educational Opportunities for English Learners Through Compliance with Federal Law Presenters: • Lucy Glasson, Team Attorney, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights• Michael Wesley, Equal Opportunity Specialist, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights Description: The US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for school districts and charter schools, etc. that receive funds from the Department. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin. You will hear from OCR officials who will highlight the key requirements pertaining to the provision of educational services to EL students, with an emphasis on the components of an effective alternative language program and parent and guardian rights. (C) Helping Newcomer Students Succeed in School: Learning from “Bright Spots” Presenters: • BethAnn Berliner, Senior Researcher, WestEd • Gwen Snow, Principal, Newcomer Academy Description: There are many things that educators can do to help English Learner immigrant, refugee, and asylum-seeking students to succeed in school. This interactive workshop provides practical ideas and promising practices from five bright spot newcomer schools. These are schools that have a demonstrated record of helping newcomers develop English language proficiency, foster “learning-to-live” skills, fill knowledge gaps, build toward mastery of grade-level content, and receive basic living and social-emotional supports. Participants will learn from a visionary leader of a newcomer school about the lives of newcomer students and what it takes to cultivate a staff with the knowledge, skills, supports, and cultural understanding to ensure effective instruction and student achievement. (D) Perspectives from the Field: Best Practices for EL Students Presenters: • Lucretia Brown, Assistant Superintendent of Equity & Accountability, Allentown School District • Kathleen Gill, Director of ESOL & World Languages, Principal of Newcomer Academies, Allentown School District • Thomas E. Parker, Superintendent, Allentown School District • Ludy Soderman, Director of Multilingual Family Support, School District of Philadelphia Description: School districts and charter schools are charged with ensuring that EL students are provided English language acquisition services and access to content area instruction. School District officials in this workshop session represent exemplary systemic efforts that build capacity for meeting the needs of EL students and their families. Come to hear about their efforts and experiences and get valuable tips in developing and implementing best practices. (E) Putting Research into Practice: Identifying English Learners with Disabilities Presenters: • Elizabeth Burr, Senior Research Associate, WestEd • Silvia DeRuvo, Senior Program Associate, WestEd’s Learning Innovations Program Description: In the absence of consistent guidance, local education agencies can find themselves either over or under-identifying English Learners with disabilities. In this session, participants will explore the key considerations related to pre-referral of English Learners suspected of having a disability. Participants will have an opportunity to hear about strategies from the literature and recent state and local guidelines that have been developed for practitioners. Best practices for identification will be explored, looking more deeply into the differences between language acquisition and disability, misconceptions about English Learners and students with disabilities that can lead to inappropriate referrals for special education. Participants will discover resources related to frequently asked questions regarding guidance documents, language acquisition and learning disability, pre-referral interventions, culturally responsive teaching, students with interrupted education, migrant students, evaluating English Learners, interdisciplinary teams and universal design for learning strategies to support English Learners in the classroom. (F) Breaking Down Barriers to Equal Educational Opportunity for ELs: Identifying, Addressing and Eliminating Discriminatory and Segregative Policies and Practices in Our Schools Presenters: • Pace McConkie, Director, Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education, Morgan State University • Lydia Walther-Rodriguez, Baltimore Regional Director, CASA Description: Racial and ethnic minority students, including English Learners and immigrant children, have historically been confronted with significant barriers to equal educational opportunity and meaningful tracks for educational excellence and advancement. Today, significant policies and practices that discriminate on the basis of race and ethnicity or which perpetuate the inequities of segregation persist in many schools, including, among others, policies and practices related to school discipline or the ability grouping and tracking of students. Participants in this workshop will examine and discuss systemic racism and root causes of these continuing policies and practices, the discriminatory impact on racial and ethnic minority students and how such policies and practices can be identified, challenged and remedied. Participants will further understand the particular risks and challenges faced by English Learners when confronted by such discriminatory policies and practices and the risks of being diverted away from productive, college-bound educational tracks and toward dead-end tracks and even the School-to-Prison Pipeline.