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August 10, 2021
Back to School Resources

Check out these back-to-school resources to help your ELs have a great start in the new school year:

  • Newcomer Tool Kit — Are you ready to support your newcomer students this fall? The Office of English Language Acquisition’s (OELA) Newcomer Tool Kit has tools, strategies, and resources to help educators engage with immigrant students — including asylees and refugees — and their families.

  • EL Teachers Back-to-School List — This back-to-school checklist from Colorín Colorado has ideas to help teachers think about how to best help ELs succeed in the classroom.

OELA Discretionary Grant Reports Published

OELA has just published new discretionary reports highlighting grantee progress for the 2019–20 project year from the Native American and Alaska Native Children in School (NAM) and National Professional Development (NPD) programs. The reports are based on performance results from the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA).
NAM Discretionary Report – 2016 and 2018 Cohorts
The goal of the NAM program is to support the teaching, learning, and studying of Native American languages. In 2019–20, more than 4,000 PreK–12 students participated in Native language programs administered by the 2016 grantees; 96% of students served by the 2016 cohort made progress on the state-approved English proficiency exam. More than 600 PreK–12 students participated in Native language programs administered by the 2018 grantees, with 88% of students served attaining proficiency in English on the state-approved English proficiency exam.
NPD Discretionary Report – 2016 and 2017 Cohorts
The NPD program supports professional development activities designed to improve classroom instruction for ELs and assist educational personnel working with such children to meet high professional standards. In 2019–20, more than 10,000 PreK–12 teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, school support staff, and families participated in programs administered by the 2016 and 2017 grantees. In addition, more than 1,100 preservice teachers were served in teacher preparation programs administered by both cohorts, with 80% of the grantees meeting their participation and recruitment targets.
Watch Now: Enhancing Language in Early Childhood Education 

In case you missed it, OELA’s early childhood education webinar featuring WestEd’s Pam Spycher is now available for viewing. The webinar highlights four educator practices that can be enacted to enhance the teaching of dual language learners, including:

  1. Embrace an assets orientation.
  2. Support children to develop both their home languages and English.
  3. Engage children in interactive book reading with complete texts.
  4. Teach foundational literacy skills explicitly.
Upcoming Events
August 24
The National Association of English Learner Program Administrators and the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators have organized a webinar to support state and district administrators titled Using ESSER Funds to Support ELs. The webinar will take place on August 24 at 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT.
The My Name, My Identity Initiative has been featured as an illustrative example for Principle One: Assets-Oriented and Needs-Responsive Schools of the California English Learner Roadmap. Join this webinar to get ideas to leverage the toolkit resources to support all school community members and stakeholders in building a culture of respect by honoring students’ names and identities with a social, emotional, and cultural lens.
October 13–15
Hybrid Conference
The National Family Engagement Summit is being held in-person AND virtually this fall. Join family engagement practitioners from around the country to reimagine what family engagement looks like in this new post-pandemic world.
October 14
Hybrid Conference
Registration is now open for this 1-day virtual event that is open to members of the WIDA Consortium, international educators, and higher education faculty and staff. Registration includes access to live sessions, presentation handouts and materials, interactive breakout group opportunities, and all recorded content through the end of 2021. The keynote speaker will be Viet Thanh Nguyen, a professor at the University of Southern California.
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 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 the News
Nashville Public Radio
Last month, the Metro Nashville Board of Education approved the opening of Aventura Community School, a dual language charter school for grades K–8 with Spanish as the partner language. This is a welcome development for families like Amaria Castaneda’s, who found it difficult to develop proficiency in both English and her native Spanish language when growing up in the region. The new charter school will serve native English and Spanish speakers. The instruction will begin with 80% in Spanish in kindergarten and will move toward a 50-50 balance by third grade.  
The Crystal Police Department in Minnesota teamed up with Robbinsdale Area Schools to offer a free 6-week multicultural driver’s education class for adults who are learning English. In this course ELs receive lessons on various traffic rules with particular emphasis on being able to interpret traffic signs. Students are also provided with a manual enhanced with visuals to help them understand the content. The course is aimed at reducing the number of traffic accidents involving drivers who do not speak English as their first language.
The Indiana Department of Education announced that a record number of schools in the state will be receiving grants to establish or expand immersion programs through Indiana’s Dual Language Immersion Program, established in 2015. The program provides grants to schools that begin in kindergarten or first grade and provide at least 50% of instruction in a partner language. For the 2021–22 school year, 18 districts were awarded $425,000.
This article discusses the roles that monolingual teachers can play in supporting ELs and multilingual students, including advocating for multilingualism, fostering multiliteracy, and celebrating multiculturalism. The article also suggests some ideas for classroom activities.
Institute of Education Sciences
Using data from the 2017–18 National Teacher and Principal Survey, this publication reports on coursework provided to public and private school teachers on meeting the needs of diverse student populations, including students who are ELs.
Professional Learning
With the #BlackMenTeach online campaign, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans (Initiative) will feature Black male teachers nationwide to demonstrate that while they are underrepresented, there are many Black males who are dedicating themselves to serving their communities through teaching. Nominate a Black male educator by filling out the nomination form and emailing the Initiative at Be sure to include the educator’s name and contact information. You may also ask the educator to fill out the nomination response form and submit it to
Are you seeking distance learning opportunities to develop leadership and advocacy skills to meet the growing demands for PK-12 biliteracy/multilingual programs? Leadership for Equity in English Learner Education provides educators from any linguistic or cultural background with current research on biliteracy and knowledge in programmatic and instructional issues to increase student achievement and language learning. Instructional coaches, administrators, and teachers will be equipped as leaders and advocates by this virtual learning community.
Job Opportunities
Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL)
Washington, DC
Rhode Island School of Design
Providence, RI
Internationals Network
Passaic, NJ
Connect With NCELA
Fact Sheet – English Learners: Absenteeism, Retention, & Suspension

An OELA fact sheet provides a snapshot of EL absenteeism, retention, and suspension using 2015–16 school year data from the Civil Rights Data Collection. Out of all K–12 students, 15.8% were chronically absent in SY 2015–16. Chronic absenteeism was about 2.6 percentage points lower among ELs than non-ELs. Approximately one out of every seven ELs was chronically absent as compared to approximately one in six non-ELs.

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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.