PD and Planning Support for Teachers


During school closure during the pandemic, we needed to shift our professional development needed to shift format. In order for teachers to make the most of their time, we developed a series of e-workshops that could be undertaken asynchronously when time was available.  We also used strong and weak examples that teachers analyzed and modeled our resources via Google

Classroom. We got great feedback from the teachers on the format and content.



ACADEMIC LANGUAGE Curriculum Planning Support

Adams 14 has the largest percentage of language learners in the state of Colorado.  In order to best support our multilingual learners, it is important to plan for their unique needs at the unit level. With this in mind our I co-developed language look-fors and support for the district-level curriculum maps.  Further, our team worked with English Language Development (ELD) coaches to facilitate the development of language scope and sequence curriculum maps for our dedicated ELD teachers.  Both teachers and admin alike appreciated the supports and the intentional backwards design planning for language.


As the K-12 Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Education Coordinator for Adams 14, I led the district-wide ELD-focused professional development, which led to an almost 40% increase in structured talk and decrease in teacher talk, and an increase in writing scores.  We performed a needs analysis to determine our focus, assembled and cross-section of materials, trained teacher leaders on the material so they could lead the work with small groups.  The sessions included relevant professional reading, modeling and sharing of strategies, use of student data, teacher planning time and always ended with a useable product (lesson plan, specific strategy or scaffold).  Teacher feedback for the series was overwhelmingly positive in that teachers stated they were better prepared to support multilingual learners (MLs).


As the needs analysis from the district identified unit-level planning for language to a be a high need for teachers, our team developed district-wide ELD guidance and supports embedded into curriculum mapping and PLC processes based on WIDA Can Do Key Uses and the Forms and Function work of Susannah Dutro.

Beginning with the end in mind, our ELD teams use the WIDA Standards Framework to analyze academic unit and lesson content in terms of accessibility (comprehensible input) and expectations of students’ oral and written production.  We then create language objectives and select appropriate material and implement supports and that align with learning targets WIDA level.

I have worked with teams in various district settings to create model student responses on formative assessments.  Using guiding questions from WIDA and Constructing Meaning, we analyze our models for language patterns at the word/phrase, sentence, and discourse level.  We then prioritize these language forms and chunk their instruction through the unit supported by word banks and differentiated sentence frames.

This resulted in increased teacher confidence and increased in writing scores.

Examples of Model Student Responses with Sentence Frames


WechatIMG398As a firm believer in WIDA and its Can Do Philosophy, I am excited to be an authorized WIDA CLIMBS Trainer (Content and Language Integration as a Means of Bridging Success).

WIDA CLIMBS helped our staff unify our approach to helping ELLs develop academic language and ensure their access to challenging grade-level content.  Through this collaboration, we were able to support our students in raising WIDA scores an average of one full level per student in 2018-19!

I delivered WIDA CLIMBS to Daystar Academy’s three schools throughout the 2018-19 school year and facilitated the certification of over 30 staff members.



During this time, as a professional community we developed a common vocabulary which with to promote success with our 400+ multilingual learners and we engaged in the following endeavors:

  • Examining the connections between culture and language
  • Considering the culture of collaboration in our local contexts
  • Describing principles of acquisition and learning
  • Examining the features of academic language
  • Exploring the connections between language acquisition principles and WIDA ELD practices
  • Exploring how academic language varies across subject areas and domains
  • Developing differentiation for language
  • Investigating the language demands of texts and tasks
  • Recognizing effective feedback practices
  • Providing effectivefeedback to language learners
  • Discussing learning strategies
  • Developing instruction andlearning strategies for ELLs
  • Examining scaffolding strategies
  • Identifying scaffolding strategies in practice
  • Reflecting on peer observations
  • Planning differentiated lessons using WIDA frameworkWechatIMG402

As Daystar Academy is a WIDA consortium member, I have sent several teachers to the WIDA Institute.  Further, our team has been working with WIDA Can Do Descriptors and Performance Definitions for two years.  We were excited to take this next step in developing our school-wide

approach to serving ELLs through collaboration and best practices.

>>>Read more about CLIMBS

Master’s Thesis

I invite you to read my master’s thesis on SLIFE writing, which has been downloaded and read over 300 times all over the world.


Fossenbell, B.  Visual Support in Discourse Writing for Students With Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (2016)

The research question addressed in this project was: for Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE), how can a series of integrated graphic organizers, implemented in an environment informed by the Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm (MALP), improve students’ use of result and exemplification discourse connectors in developing written arguments? The motivating factor for this capstone was the researcher’s observations of the struggles SLIFE encounter in moving from sentence-level to discourse-level writing proficiency.  The action research integrated qualities of MALP, based on the work of DeCapua and Marshall, with an interrelated series of graphic organizers, influenced by Gibbons, in an attempt to help SLIFE improve their use of result and exemplification discourse connectors in argument essays. The study found that the combination helped students organize their thoughts, align their reasons and examples, and increase their use of the target language.

Launching of the Daystar Bridge Program

Daystar Academy is a strong bilingual immersion program that develops world citizens by embracing Chinese and Western culture through its integrated education model. Daystar students strive for distinction in comprehensive Chinese and English studies, creative thinking and character development for the purpose of serving the community at large.  In short, Daystar students are highly bicultural and biliterate to a degree few people ever achieve.

While the success rate is high, one of the challenges in such a time-intensive model is finding opportunities to implement lengthier interventions for students who need additional interactions with academic English concepts and content.  In traditional English-only schools, this burden is distributed throughout the school day or is lessened by students being surrounded by English in the world around them.  In contrast, our ELLs (who make up 70% of the student body) only receive 12 hours of instruction a week and have very little exposure to English in their lives outside of school.

In order to create additional opportunities for these students, a small team of us were able to do a needs assessment of the students and parents and reach out into the larger Beijing community to find partners who could provide extra support aligned with our mission and curriculum.  After interviewing several candidates, we settled on the Learning Tree. Working together with our two curriculum teams, we have been able to facilitate the creation of the Daystar Bridge Program.  As it is aligned with our learner outcomes, program of inquiry and standards, and given that there are pathways established for teachers to share feedback and data, students have been able to receive extra targeted support.  We’ve even been able launch parent education sessions to help parents support students at home.  Results have been fantastic.  Reading and writing scores are improving quickly and students and parents alike are reporting higher levels of understanding and enjoyment in learning.


基本信息 General Information