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November 9, 2021
New Fact Sheet: English Learners and Critical Languages

The U.S. government encourages the study of critical languages spoken in geographic areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security and the global economy through a variety of grant and scholarship programs. While U.S. students are traditionally underrepresented in the study of these languages, many of our nation’s K–12 ELs enter U.S. schools already speaking these critical languages as home or heritage languages. In school year 2018–19, 15% of all identified ELs spoke a critical language. Nationally, the top five languages other than English most commonly spoken by ELs included four critical languages—Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Somali.
Capacity-Building Guide for Founding Native American Charter Schools 

The National Charter School Resource Center recently released a Capacity-Building Guide for Founding Native American Charter Schools, a new collaboration with the National Indian Education Association. Charter schools are a viable option for Native American tribal communities to engage in and support sovereignty and self-determination in education. They offer a chance for Native American communities to create schools that are rooted in their cultural values, languages, and traditions. However, the complexities of building the founding team, obtaining startup costs, and navigating authorization can be barriers for some communities.
The Guide focuses on the three essential capacities for opening a Native American charter school, as well as common strategies and challenges during the process. It also includes case studies of two Native American charter schools, one urban and one rural, to illustrate how each school realized these capacities. 
Research-to-Practice: English Learners With Significant Learning Difficulties or Disabilities: Recommendations for Practice (Brief 3)

English Learners With Significant Learning Difficulties or Disabilities: Recommendations for Practice is the third brief in the series Meeting the Needs of English Learn­ers With and Without Disabilities. Brief 3 features the work of Projects ELITE, ELLIPSES, and LEE (model demonstration projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Special Education Programs), which supports the language and literacy needs of ELs with and without reading-related disabilities in Grades 3 to 5. This brief focuses on a culturally and linguistically responsive multitiered system of supports framework, with an emphasis on effective interventions and decision-making for ELs with significant learning difficulties or disabilities.
Topics covered in this brief include:
  • Identification of ELs who need Tier 3 intervention
  • Design and delivery of Tier 3 language and reading interventions for ELs
  • Special education referral decisions
  • Culturally and linguistically responsive special education services 
Check out the first two briefs in the series:

Upcoming Events
Join Immigrant Connections for a facilitated panel discussion that will include resettled Afghan refugee students and parents.
Webinar participants will learn evidence-based strategies, review aligned resources, and discuss ways to support American Indian and Alaskan Native migratory students and families.
November 10–13
Hybrid Conference
La Cosecha 2021 will be a hybrid event, comprising both a virtual and an in-person conference. La Cosecha Conference offers you the unique opportunity to share best practices, resources, and current theory; build networks; and fuel community efforts to build a better future for our children as we “harvest” the best of our multilingual and multicultural communities.
November 13–14
The Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color (AIELOC) and Women of Color in ELT Conference aims to provide high-quality professional development for international educators and leaders focused on representation, social justice, and equity studies.
Join the National Center for Families Learning for this webinar on supporting multi-language parent facilitation.
The 8th National Native American Language Summit is being hosted by ED’s White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration for Native Americans, and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education. The goal of the summit is to identify ways to further support communities teaching their Native languages, improve accountability for educational progress, provide measurable goals to show success, and encourage Native youth to gain the skills to speak their language. The summit will discuss the challenges and successes of measuring oral and written American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Pacific Islander language learning and will share promising practices.
November 19–21
Virtual Conference
Join language educators at ACTFL’s virtual conference, featuring keynote speakers Omekonga Dibinga, Marcia Tate, and Shiza Shahid. The conference includes educational sessions and hands-on learning environments that will provide resources, ready-to-use techniques, and current trends in language education.
In this interactive workshop, Diane (Dee) Tedick and Cory Mathieu introduce their new dual language and immersion (DLI)-specific Teacher Assessment Rubrics. The preservice, inservice, and self-assessment rubrics describe the pedagogical skills and knowledge that are unique to DLI contexts and necessary for promoting high levels of student academic achievement and language development. The workshop will include an introduction to the content of the rubrics and an associated workbook, an explanation of the development process, and substantial time for Q&A and discussion with colleagues about how the rubrics might be integrated into teacher education and K–12 DLI programs.
In the News
Los Alamos Reporter
The EL student population in Los Alamos Public Schools has recently increased to 170 students who represent 33 countries and speak 25 different languages. ELs are enrolled in all the district’s elementary, middle, and high schools. The district utilizes an EL program to support linguistically diverse students. EL educators value ELs’ backgrounds and home languages and continue to work to overcome challenges such as EL student identification, scheduling, and streamlining EL support services.
In the context of returning to in-person instruction this school year, the authors of this article analyze the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on underserved populations of students, including ELs in New York City’s public schools. The authors make recommendations to the city’s administrations on the actions they can take to address the inequities that have been exposed by the pandemic. 
Council of Chief State School Officers
This state leadership guide introduces a set of equity-focused resources that state educational agency (SEA) leaders can use to engage state and local stakeholders in continuous-improvement processes focused on EL programs and services. The guide and its accompanying resources are organized around the three prongs of the Castañeda (1981) framework: (1) grounding EL-focused continuous improvement in evidence-based principles; (2) supporting implementation with adequate resources and personnel; and (3) monitoring progress to ensure effectiveness.
Institute of Education Sciences
This report examines the population of Alaska Native students who are classified as EL students and how EL policies function for these students, focusing on EL identification, classification, service provision, and reclassification. Alaska is one of several states where Indigenous students make up a large segment of the EL population. Drawing on Alaska state data from 2011–12 to 2018–19, this study found that roughly a quarter of Alaska Native kindergarten students statewide were classified as EL students.
Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL)
This brief from CAL covers emergent practices and examples of translanguaging in the classroom and highlights the educational advantages and benefits of translanguaging in multiple contexts: dual language immersion, English as a Second Language instruction, and more.
Professional Learning
This series of professional development webinars focuses on improving instructional practice in 21st century heritage language schools. These interactive webinars address various topics such as the foundational elements of a successful school organization, instructional design alignment, online teaching methods, the application of web tools, and emerging learning technologies (e.g., 360/VR) in the classroom. The role of parents and peer learning strategies will be examined in depth. The workshops are purposefully designed for heritage language practitioners, administrators, and teachers. Participants may sign up for all webinars or just those they are interested in:
  • December 2: Instructional Design Alignment
  • January 20, 2022: Technology Infused Curriculum: Necessity or Opportunity
  • March 3, 2022: Parental Role in the Process of Heritage Language Learning
Pre-K–12 dual language teachers and coaches will learn about, and practice using, the eight components of the SIOP Model to effectively teach language and content while addressing the three pillars of dual language programs: bilingualism and biliteracy, high academic achievement, and socio-cultural competence. The Institute will include a variety of activities, including demonstrations, simulations and explanations, small-group tasks, and the creation of activities and lessons. Participants will receive a CAL Certificate of Completion, which may be used for continuing education credit.
Job Opportunities
Cicero School District #99
Cicero, IL
E.L. Haynes Public Charter School
Washington, D.C.
Lexia Learning/Cambium Learning Group
Connect With NCELA

The latest Biennial Report to Congress on the Title III State Formula Grant Program has been published for school years 2016–18. The biennial report presents self-reported data from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The report highlights data on SEA funding, support activities for ELs, EL demographics, progress on English proficiency, and EL educators. Visit NCELA to explore the full report.
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National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA)
Disclaimer: NCELA Nexus is intended to share information that can be of use to educators, parents, learners, leaders, and other stakeholders in their efforts to ensure that every student, including ELs, is provided with the highest quality education and expanded opportunities to succeed. The information and materials presented on NCELA Nexus do not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by NCELA, the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), or the U.S. Department of Education.