CCSS Institute

Diane and Ayanna at the 2012 Florida CCSS Summer Institute.

DSF Consulting July 2012 Newsletter

DSF Consulting provided technical assistance to ELs at the state level, published, and presented widely on the topic of English learner (EL) education in June 2012. In this newsletter we’ll describe our activities related to two high impact projects for ELs in Florida and Massachusetts in June 2012. Then we’ll highlight presentations and publications by DSF Consulting team members Ayanna Cooper, Laura Kuti, Ayanna Cooper, Sydney Snyder, and Diane Staehr Fenner.

State Technical Assistance

  • DSF Consulting provided technical assistance to facilitate the creation of Florida’s English Language Development standards in grades K – 1 that will support ELs’ access to the Common Core State Standards. Diane Staehr Fenner led a 20-member state committee in face to face meetings in West Palm Beach, FL to frame, organize, and begin creating ELD standards and guiding materials to define a clear pathway for ELs to reach the CCSS.
  • Diane and Ayanna Cooper provided support on Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s professional development course called Rethinking Equity and Teaching of English Language Learners (RETELL). RETELL is a research-based 3 credit graduate level course that approximately 25,000 content teachers who are instructing ELs will take to support all content teachers as they teach ELs. In June, a select group of RETELL facilitators, including Ayanna, were provided training to pilot the first RETELL courses in Summer 2012.


  • Diane Staehr Fenner and Ayanna Cooper presented on considerations for implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) at Florida’s Common Core State Standards Institute. They delivered three plenary sessions in West Palm Beach, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale to audiences of up to 4000 teachers and administrators from across the state. They also presented breakout sessions at the same three locations in which they adapted a lesson framed around select CCSS to make the lesson accessible for ELs at different levels of English language proficiency. DSF Consulting is proud to have been asked to provide a national perspective of opportunities and challenges in teaching ELs the CCSS.
  • Diane was asked, along with Kenji Hakuta and Diane August, to provide a presentation at the American Federation of Teachers Roundtable Exchange Luncheon. Diane spoke about preparing all teachers of ELLs so that ELLs can access the Common Core State Standards.
  • Diane presented EL teaching strategies to mentor teachers from three New York City partner schools who are involved with the American Museum of Natural History’s Earth Science MAT program.
  • Diane presented a webinar for the National Association of Secondary School Principals titled Fostering the success of English language learner students through effective professional development.
  • Diane presented a webinar for TESOL International Association on practical applications for the TESOL professional standards for teacher preparation.


  • Laura Kuti published findings from a recent research study in the Journal of Special Education Apprenticeship. This exploratory research study was conducted to examine federally-mandated annual English language proficiency (ELP) assessment of English language learners (ELLs) and their use of accommodations on the assessment. The literature was examined for differences and similarities between the three types of testing scenarios as well as identifying gaps in the literature for students who are both ELLs and who also have a disability and how their ELP is assessed, taking into account their disability. The results from investigating data related to ELLs with disabilities and specific accommodations used by ELLs with disabilities contributes to the limited current research available regarding this subgroup as well as how the annual ELP assessment mandate is actuated at the state, district, and classroom levels. The researchers used one state’s existing quantitative ELP assessment data to examine types of accommodations for ELLs with disabilities on the statewide ELP assessment and then explored potential relationships between specific disabilities and accommodations used. The researchers investigated factors that contribute to the relationships between disabilities, accommodations, and performance on the ELP assessment through qualitative data from interviews with state, district, and school level personnel to further expand on results from the quantitative ELP assessment data.
  • Diane and Sydney authored an article for the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) titled Building on the Standards: How Can Districts Incorporate National Teaching Standards in Designing Professional Development to benefit English Language Learners?

Thank you for your interest in DSF Consulting!




Diane Staehr Fenner