Student Speaking on Panel

English Learners

Home > Our Work > English Learners
Person with chat box graphic

English Learners (ELs) are the fastest growing population of public school students in the US. Close to 6 million ELs are enrolled in public schools, an increase of more than 100 percent since 1911. MAEC has a proven record of providing support to address the needs for ELs. Our services include conducting needs assessments, goal setting in collaboration with clients, technical assistance, training, coaching, and project evaluation. Our staff provides research-based approaches to improve the overall educational outcomes for ELs.


Community Resource Mapping – English Learners

MAEC uses a strengths-based approach for asset mapping, since often the best solutions come from within the communities in which our districts/schools reside. These key stakeholders include districts, schools, communities, and families all who are seeking to increase student achievement. To this end, MAEC conducts community walks and community resource mapping to identify potential partners and allies for effective and efficient delivery of services. This process includes attention to alignment between district and school needs and priorities so together partners can build the social and human capital that will help students and staff thrive.

Comprehensive Needs Assessment – English Learners

Beginning with a disaggregated data analysis of student achievement, student discipline, and school climate, MAEC is able to effectively determine client strengths and areas of need. This collaborative inquiry approach enables MAEC to examine multiple sources of data. Using a culturally responsive and equity framework, further creates opportunities to develop operational action plans to tackle complex challenges that pose barriers to gains in student achievement.

Culturally Responsive Family, School, and Community Engagement – English Learners

A family is a child’s first teacher. When families’ partner with schools and community organizations, children thrive. To produce the best results for students, MAEC builds the capacity of families, educators, schools, and community organizations to collaborate, exchange ideas, and develop and implement policies and action plans. We build on the collaborative strengths of families, educators, and community members so they can each contribute to the development and success of diverse students.

Culturally Responsive Leadership – English Learners

Leaders set the tone and expectations of any organization. They do this by responding effectively to the diverse communities that they serve, being asset-focused, and proactive problem solvers. Culturally responsive leadership technical assistance provides a multi-dimensional framework that builds capacity of educators who are culturally informed and highly skilled in culturally responsive practice.

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy – English Learners

Culturally responsive pedagogy is a method and practice of teaching in which educators and providers build on the assets that their students and families bring into the classroom. As the populations of our students grow more diverse, staff must be better prepared to respond to their needs. This requires a greater understanding and knowledge of their students’ culture, strengths, and socio-political contexts. With this practice, schools can become hubs of learning focused on the well being of the students and families being served.

Policy & Procedural Reviews – English Learners

In educational systems, policies and procedures often inform practice. However, some policies or procedures may have unintended consequences when implemented that serve to further silo organizational efforts to close opportunity gaps. To address this challenge, MAEC provides state departments, districts, schools, and organizations with policy and procedural reviews to ensure they are equitable, effective, and comply with federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Ensuring Educational Equity for English Learners

Under Title VI and Title III of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, school districts are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, and national origin. This training highlights the requirements regarding the provision of services for ELs with an emphasis on the identification, placement, provision of alternative programs for ELs, access to challenging content, and assessment. Legal rights of parents/guardians are also included as part of MAC’s training.

Navigating the School System for Families of English Learners

This training helps build the capacity of parent involvement coordinators, Title I & Title III specialists, and community leaders to effectively engage families of English Learners in their children’s education. The training focuses on: (1) Creating welcoming schools and classrooms; (2) Considerations for engagement of immigrant families; (3) Linking family engagement to learning; and (4) Models for effectively engaging EL families in their children’s education.

Working Effectively with English Learners

This training helps build the capacity of administrators and staff to design and implement effective programs to meet the needs of English Learners. MAC’s training highlights the cultural context of English Learners, the levels of English proficiency needed for academic success, how to effectively teach Common Core and/or challenging content to ELs, and strategies for creating inclusive schools and classrooms.

Office of the State Superintendent of Education

MAEC partners with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) for the District of Columbia to ensure that English Learners gain academic and language proficiency to prepare them to be global leaders.  MAEC staff sits on the Title III Advisory Council and provides the following technical assistance:

  • Development of an adapted monitoring tool to assess Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) services to English Learners;
  • Analysis of initial monitoring results and revised action plans to support LEAs in the delivery of EL services; and
  • Provide key findings and recommendations based on the results of monitoring.
This targeted technical assistance resulted in a comprehensive Title III Monitoring Process as a way to review how LEAs are developing and implementing Title III programs in accordance to federal, state, and local regulations and identify LEAs in need of support.  In addition, MAEC’s involvement in the Title III Advisory Council resulted in the development of an informational multilingual video about the rights of English Learners and their families in the District’s schools. This user friendly video has been produced in English and Spanish with subtitles in Amharic, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and French.

Post Image Collaborative Inquiry and English Learners

This piece, part of our Addressing Critical Issues series, introduces collaborative inquiry and provides examples of how diverse groups of educators have shown the impact of using it to improve the performance of English Learners.

Download: Collaborative Inquiry and ELs

Post Image Cultural Validity in Assessment

Part of MAEC’s Boosting Success for 21st Century Learners Webinar Series, this webinar shares lessons learned from research and field experiences, illustrated by apt and eye-opening examples of how the failure to consider students' contexts in designing assessments and assessment practices can result in wrong conclusions about student learning. This session was originally held on March 16, 2012. Presenters: 

  • Guillermo Solano Flores, Assoc. Professor, Bilingual Education and ESL, Univ. of Colorado Boulder
  • Elise Trumbull, Independent Consultant, Oakland, California
  • Maria del Rosario Basterra, Deputy Director, The Mid-Atlantic Equity Center
Description: Are assessments fair and valid for all students? How can we determine if assessment results are a true reflection of a student's knowledge? Presenters Basterra, Flores, and Trumbull will discuss findings and illustrate the concept of "culturally valid assessment" from their book, Cultural Validity in Assessment: Addressing Linguistic and Cultural Diversity. This approach takes into consideration students' socio-cultural backgrounds, educational experience, home language, communication style, and how they learn. Learning Outcomes. Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the concept of cultural validity and its relevance to today's assessment
  • Recognize how cognition, language, and culture have an impact on assessment performance
  • Identify potential assessment sources of misinformation about student learning
  • Learn how to use and implement culturally valid assessments in the classroom.

Post Image Effective Strategies for Educating Immigrant Girls

This piece, part of our Addressing Critical Equity Issues series, discusses several of the hurdles that immigrant girls must overcome as they strive to achieve in our public schools and gives strategies for educators on how to help them.

Download: Effective Strategies for Educating Immigrant Girls

Post Image Engaging Families of English Learners

This piece,  part of our Addressing Critical Equity Issues series, discusses some of the barriers that families of English Learners face that make interactions at school challenging and provides promising practices to help address them.  Download Engaging Families of English Learners.

Download: Engaging Families of English Learners

Post Image English Learners & Disproportionality in Special Education

This piece, part of our Addressing Critical Equity Issues series, discusses the overrepresentation of English Learners (ELs) in special education classes and provides promising practices to address it.

Download: English Learners & Disproportionality in Special Education

Post Image Using the ELD 2.0 Framework to Improve Instructional Programs for ELLs

Part of MAEC’s Boosting Success for 21st Century Learners Webinar Series, presenters in this webinar discuss the Framework for Raising Expectations and Instructional Rigor for English Language Learners and how the School District of Philadelphia has used this framework, dubbed ELD 2.0, to clarify the goals and re-design their instructional program for ELLs. This session was originally held on April 22, 2015. Presenters: 

  • Debra Hopkins, ELL Project Coordinator, Council for Great City Schools
  • Gabriela Uro, Director ELL Policy and Research, Council for Great City Schools
  • Allison W. Still, Deputy Chief, Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs, School District of Philadelphia
  • Erica Darken, Curriculum Development Specialists, Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs, School District of Philadelphia
Description: In this webinar you will learn about the Framework for Raising Expectations and Instructional Rigor for English Language Learners and how the School District of Philadelphia has used this framework, dubbed ELD 2.0, to clarify the goals and re-design their instructional program for ELLs. Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the theory of action of the Framework that calls for higher expectations for ELLs;
  • Understand the components of the Framework and its application to district planning for ELLs;
  • and Understand the criteria for selecting instructional materials for ELLs.

Join Our Mailing List

Receive monthly updates on news and events. Learn about best practices. Be the first to hear about our next free webinar!