Thank you for your interest in DSF Consulting. Our team worked on several projects in July 2012 to support the achievement of English learners in the United States, and we’ll share some highlights in this newsletter.

DSF Consulting Senior Consultant Ayanna Cooper presented on considerations of implementing the Common Core State Standards for English learners to more than 500 participants at the Florida Common Core Summer Institute in Panama Beach, FL. This was DSF Consulting’s fourth and final keynote address at the FL CCSS Summer Institute. We were honored to have provided a voice for ELs and those who teach them at this series of institutes.

We also provided support to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s first pilot of the Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners (RETELL) course in Springfield, MA. During July and August, 2012 the first nine out of sixteen sessions of RETELL are being piloted in both online and face to face formats in Springfield. DSF Consulting is partnering with the University of Massachusetts Boston to develop the syllabus, materials, and support the piloting of the groundbreaking course. Eventually, 25,000 content teachers from across the state will take the RETELL course to learn how to more effectively teach their ELs. We were also interviewed for an upcoming article on Education Week’s Learning the Language blog about the context of the course – be on the lookout for it!

We were also awarded three contracts during July 2012 to extend work we’ve previously done with all three of these institutions.

  • The first contract is with SEED Schools to continue work on an EL blueprint the innovative boarding schools will use for their two current sites in Maryland and the District of Columbia plus new sites opening in Ohio and Florida. DSF Consulting will create EL blueprint documents that detail factors that would affect admissions of ELs, provide recommendations for hiring staff to teach ELs, suggest options on effective ESL programs in the schools’ different contexts, and give guidance on the role of the ESL teacher in the different sites.
  • The second contract signed is with the American Federation of Teachers. We will be developing an interactive two-day train-the-trainer professional development module for evaluators and stakeholders of AFT’s i3 grant project pilot in ten districts across New York and Rhode Island. This professional development will give guidance about ensuring that ELs are included in teacher evaluation processes for all teachers.
  • The final new contract is with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. We’ll be creating and maintaining an online EL toolkit and professional learning community to ensure Earth Science teacher candidates consider ELs’ linguistic and cultural needs while they are earning their MAT in Earth Science through the museum. The toolkit will contain EL resources and tools from courses being taught to teacher candidates at AMNH as well as include practical applications on teaching ELs and artifacts from candidates’ residencies in five partner schools. The professional learning community will be a moderated space in which  teacher candidates can share their lesson plans, AMNH course assignments, and reflect on successes and challenges in working with ELs during their year-long teacher residencies.

We look forward to lending our English learner expertise on these projects and others during the coming months.