I have a documented history of taking initiative and holding leadership positions at every at every organization where I have worked. Most recently, I have served as a the K-12 Language Support Services Coordinator for a bilingual International Baccalaureate school district in Being, China, where I designed the district ELL service model, established baseline data for ELLs, delivered WIDA CLIMBS training to the entire staff and put together a team of ELL practitioners using WIDAs Standards.
Below is a list of leadership initiatives I have been involved in:
- Instructional Model Development and Support
- Award-Winning Literacy Volunteer Program
- Newcomer Language Academy
- Communication and Outreach
- Professional Development
- Teaching, Learning and Innovation Departmental Support
Instructional Model Development and Support
Long gone are the days where English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers would swoop in and pull out out their caseload and move onto the next group. The number of ELLs in today’s schools and the challenges they face demand collaboration and data-driven decision processes. With that in mind I developed and implemented the English Language Development (ELD) mission statement, guiding principles, essential practices, and support model for Daystar Academy, a bilingual International Baccalaureate Primary (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP), using the WIDA Standards Framework and MAP/F+P literacy data to guide servicing, entrance and exiting. I established support schedules in which 100% of ELL teachers provide a minimum 6 hours of language support per week per student implementing co-teaching and targeted mini-lessons that aligned with Common Core Standards and grade level learning targets. Our ELLs averaged .9 points of growth in WIDA scores each year allowing us to exit 15%-20% of total ELLs from ELD services each spring.
In addition, I implemented the following initiatives to support program and student growth.
- Coordinated the development of a Middle School Literacy Support program that provided additional standards-based literacy support for language learners aligned with classroom objectives (social studies and language arts), including service and exit/entrance criteria.
- Co-developed MYP Phase Placement procedure in which incoming students are placed in MYP literature classes, using: writing samples, assessment data, and the Collaborative Scoring Protocol (CSP).
- Piloted phonics-based literacy intervention for grades 1-3 at both elementary campuses (compromised of phonics assessment + targeted phonics mini-lesson lessons). 87% of students exited interventions being able to decode CVC and CVCE vowel patterns and basic blends
- Supported the instructional growth of ELD team by:
- Performing MOY and EOY team observations with targeted feedback using SIOP model observation rubric
- Eliciting classroom teacher feedback regarding level of support and collaboration on specific ELD practices via survey and facilitated the creation of team goals based on feedback
Newcomer Language Academy
A district I worked for in the U.S. encountered a huge influx of low-level English Language Learners (ELLs), the majority of which were WIDA level 1s who had qualified as Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE). The district was at a loss as to how to proceed. After digging into language data, reaching out to experts on SLIFE such as Dr. Jill Watson and Dr. Helaine Marshall and surveying other program models in the region, I co-founded the Banaadir Newcomer Academy with our principal and the ELL team. The focus of the program was to help Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) fill gaps in their educational experience and prepare to transition into the mainstream classroom. Using Common Core vertical alignment, we were able to build foundational academic knowledge, skills and understandings while developing an academic language base and fluency. Students were able to exit the program after achieving reading and writing benchmarks using WIDA and MAP. Teachers reported that these students were far more ready to succeed academically. More importantly, student work improved at a faster rate and students reported more satisfaction and confidence in exit surveys.
Communication and Outreach
Having consistently clear communication with stakeholders is key, and to further this I hold parent meetings on various literacy topics, give presentations on special topics, facilitate parent newsletters, and have created an online resource center for parents with access to bilingual programmatic information, videos, and support guides. I have presented several presentations and Coffee Talks to hundreds of parents which provided bilingual service model explanation and hands-on training on using literacy resources/strategies for at home support. I am also a parent and understand fully what pressures come with trying to work while at the same time insuring that children/ students are not only well educated but also cared for by the school socially and emotionally. This is a responsibility I don’t take lightly.
Supporting my teachers, I hold goal-driven weekly team meetings and created a team website which houses our processes, such as new student check lists, as well as our data and a monthly to-do page with hyper-linked action items. This site allowed me to send fewer emails and minimized time that our team spent when looking for materials. As the team shared control of the site, they were able to do things like create a resource library and build an in-house video library of teaching samples so that members could watch each other teach and reflect upon teaching practices across different campuses. This platfrom also allows me to share information quickly and easily with administrators and coaches.
As education is constantly evolving, it’s important for teachers to have a current skill set and common language with which to use in diagnosis and collaboration. Supporting this belief, I have implemented team trainings on the following:
- Introduction to Bilingual Education (all teachers—English as the language of instruction)
- Introduction to Co-teaching (all teachers—English as the language of instruction)
- Everyone’s a Language Teacher: Academic Language Acquisition Strategies for Classroom Teachers (all teachers—English as the language of instruction)
- WIDA to inform instruction (ELD teachers)
- Can-Do Descriptors/MPIs
- Frayer and Beck’s model for vocabulary (ELD teachers)
- WIDA CLIMBS Content and Language Integration (all teachers—English as the language of instruction)
as a Means of Bridging Success
- Checklist of strategies to support academic English in the classroom (para-educators)
I also Assisted five LEAP teachers in obtaining WIDA Implementing the WIDA Standards and Assessment System in International Contexts certification via WIDA institute and trained ELD team to administer WIDA assessments (WAPT, Screener and MODEL) using WIDA resources.
Teaching, Learning and Innovation Departmental Support
I have provided district-wide support by being actively involved in the accreditation process via International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme, Primary Years Programme and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. I have also co-researched and co-developed three policies for Daystar Standard Operating Procedure handbook. In addition, I created a bilingual departmental website for Teaching Learning and Innovation to house current policies, procedures, FAQS and resources for curriculum, instruction and assessment. I also actively participated on the District Three-Year Strategic Planning and MYP Placement committees.
In order to ensure quality hires, I co-developed the English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher job description for Elementary and Middle School, created and implemented the interview process for prospective EAL teachers, including a team interview structure and a process for examining teaching samples with an analytic rubric. This endeavor led to the hiring of five successful EAL teachers that became important assets to the EAL teams and their respective schools.