Authorized WIDA CLIMBS Trainer

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

Letters of Recommendation

See what principals, directors and peers have said about my teaching and professionalism.

Also, feel free to peruse my latest performance evaluations.

About Me

brady2I am a licensed coordinator and educator with twelve years of experience supporting linguistically and culturally diverse students from all over the globe.

Most recently, I have served as the PreK-12 Culture and Language Development Coordinator for Adams 14 School District in Colorado, where I have designed and implemented policies for identification, placement and redesignation servicing over 3,500 multilingual learners that have reduced placement errors by 60%.  I have also developed several half-day K-12 academic language trainings for the district which has led to a 50% increase in students producing target language.

Before moving back home to Colorado, I served as the K-12 district Language Support Services Coordinator for Daystar Academy, an International Baccalaureate school district in China which serves over 500 multilingual learners in two elementary schools and one middle school. In my time there, I facilitated full membership with the WIDA Consortium and implementation of the WIDA Standards Framework to inform instruction for multilingual learners. I also delivered WIDA CLIMBS training to our district, which helped the staff unify their approach to helping multilingual learners develop academic language and ensure their access to challenging, grade-level content.

In my previous position, I identified a need and worked beyond my job description to design and manage an award-winning literacy volunteer program, which provided students with over 3,000 hours of extra one-on-one literacy support. I also co-founded a newcomer academy to help Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) fill gaps in their educational experience and prepare to transition into the mainstream classroom.

I have taught academic English using the WIDA Standards Framework for several years in a range of settings, from international students in a bilingual immersion program to new-to-country immigrants and refugees from East Africa in an urban U.S. setting. I have also supported university-level literacy for adult learners in Vietnam, as well as teaching technology use to diverse learners in urban Minneapolis.

Driven by a belief in all students’ ability to learn and achieve great things, I am invested in each and every one of my students’ potential success. It is my conviction that the purpose of education is two-fold: foundational and functional. Educators should provide each student with the means to develop a curious, agile and analytical mind. But we also need to provide the student with situational fluency and linguistic/cognitive skills that can be applied across a number of contexts, all while drawing from the rich and unique pool of socio-cultural assets belonging to each student. This is the great joy of my field, for the teaching of language facilitates both of these educational goals. Read my full philosophy of teaching here.

Parent Outreach

Research shows that non-native speakers take an average of 4-7 years to attain academic English proficiency (Cummins, 1981; Snow, 1987; Collier, 1995).  It’s a long Journey, but one that is doable with intentional instruction and self-study. Parent support can often be a key component to success in this endeavor, so our ELL/EAL teams place a high value in communicating with parents.

Coffee Talks

At Daystar Academy, we have a tradition of hosting Coffee Talks: a gathering where we share food, ideas, resources… and coffee (and tea)!  Over the last WechatIMG58several years, our team has hosted dozens of these sessions as a way of opening up a dialogue about the program and as a way of learning and sharing together strategies and tools aimed to help language learners succeed.

We’ve learned a lot from each other during this process with activities ranging from phonics games, vocabulary strategies, asking questions while reading and using technology.

Through this process, we’ve seen a big uptick in parent involvement, which has in turn shown increases areas such as reading fluency, comprehension and vocabulary usage.

Parnent ResourcesParent Online Resources

Given that not every parent can attend a Coffee Talk, we view it as essential that our parents have a way of perusing our bilingual session notes and resources.  Thus, we place all of our materials and resources into an online resource hub.  Parents can access programatic information, bilingual videos, bilingual PowerPoints and handouts and share them with their children or each other.


Parent Newsletters and Content Previews

As a part of our parent outreach, we send home semi-monthly newsletters that overview student learning engagements and various supports that we are using.  We also send out previews of the next week’s lesson and vocabulary words, background knowledge videos, and an abridged reading or summary, as well as a unit overview.  This has lead to students being more ready to start the week as they come to class on Monday already having background information on the subject as well as a general understanding of the reading. Students also often come in on Mondays comparing original student-generated definitions and sentences using the Tier 2 vocabulary or the week.

Bilingual Parent Support Videos


Supporting Literacy at Home | School Expectations


Using Technology to Support Your Child’s Literacy at Home

This initiative was a collaboration between the ELL teachers and Chinese teachers to help English and Chinese speaking parents support literacy at home in a concrete way by helping parents understand and use two of our favorite online literacy resources: Reading A-Z and Phonics Genius.  The teachers collaborated with Chinese colleagues to shoot and translate the videos. The result was a marked uptick in use of these tools with parents and students!

Using Reading A-Z at Home to Support Your Child’s Literacy

Using Technology to Support Phonics at Home

Reading With Your Child at Home Using Reading A-Z


Bilingual School Expectations Videos for Students and Parents

This initiative was a collaboration between students and ELL teachers in order to help all students and parents understand school expectations given that there were many new-to-country families to our school who had limited or interrupted formal schooling in the past.  The students brainstormed school norms and agreed to them through voting.  They then co-wrote the scripts and created the videos with graphics and sound.


Banaadir Academy Expectations: School Arrival

Banaadir Academy Expectations: Hallways

Banaadir Academy Expectations: Cafeteria

Banaadir Academy Expectations: Recess

Banaadir Academy Expectations: Bathrooms

Banaadir Academy Expectations: Dismissal and Busing

Reading Buddies Wins Awards

The Reading Buddies is a literacy-based volunteer program that I started with the help of Shawn Fondow.   It pairs college students with students at Banaadir Academy in a one on one setting that fosters growth in phonetic awareness, fluency and comprehension.

Outstanding Community Partner Award

U-of-M-Outstanding-Community-Partner-Award-2013-14After its first year, the program won the Outstanding Community Partner Award from the University of Minnesota’s Community Service-Learning Center.

Criteria for this award include:

  • receives positive feedback from students about their experience at the community organization
  • excels in all aspects of partnership: consistent communication, knowledge of service-learning pedagogy, and participation in our office’s committees and events
  • has a long history of working with us in innovative ways

2016 Presidents’ Community Partner Award

Minnesota-Campus-CompactLandscapeSMThe Reading Buddies also just won the 2016 Presidents’ Community Partner Award from the  Minnesota Campus Compact.

Criteria for this award include:

  • enhances the quality of life in the community in meaningful and measurable ways
  • engages in the development of sustained, reciprocal partnerships with the college or university
  • enriches educational as well as community outcomes

See list of other recipients.