Thank you for reading the DSF Consulting October 2013 newsletter. We have a lot of news to share with you!  Book

Advocating for English Learners: A Guide for Educators

Diane Staehr Fenner’s new book Advocating for English Learners: A Guide for Educators made its debut last week at the Illinois Bilingual Directors’ meeting and was very warmly received by teachers and administrators. We’re thrilled that TESOL International Association is co-publishing the book and that it has been endorsed by so many respected colleagues!

Illinois Bilingual Directors’ Meeting

Diane gave the keynote presentation on advocating for ELs in IL and led one hands-on breakout session on EL advocacy. Diane presented a third session on an analysis of a PARCC task and related instructional strategies. Most of the PARCC session attendees had not looked through the sample assessment items in much detail and were a bit surprised to learn about its demands for ELs as well as native speakers!

Sydney Snyder, Peace Corps' Brock Brady, and Diane Staehr Fenner

Sydney Snyder, Peace Corps’ Brock Brady, and Diane Staehr Fenner

Peace Corps, TEFL Certificate Program

We finished up our work with Peace Corps at the end of September. We spent the last month making decisions about how and when to assess TEFL Volunteers and developing a series of assessments and learning tasks that evaluated Volunteers in relation to the TEFL certificate standards and training session learning objectives. Earlier in the project we had restructured the standards to include performance indicators and three levels of performance for each indicator. We also wrote an introduction and literature review to provide a rationale for the standards. Other components of this project included conducting market research on organizations and educational institutions that might be interested in partnering with Peace Corps in support of the TEFL Certificate Program and writing the Scope of Work (SOW) for the Request for Proposals (RFP).  The project has been an exciting one, and we look forward to the Peace Corps selecting a partner and piloting the training program.

New York State Department of Education ELA & Math Scaffolding

This curriculum review project with the American Institutes for Research continued last month with an emphasis on CCSS units and their scaffolds for ELs. We met with NYSED in New York City and reviewed curriculum for the inclusion of and appropriateness of scaffolds for ELs at various levels of English language proficiency. Next steps for this project include reviewing additional lessons and creating annotations for sets of curricular materials with notes and recommendations on the quality of existing scaffolds and examples of additional scaffolds.

National Education Association

In an effort to improve its English Learner Professional Development Institute Trainer-of-Trainer (TOT) Model, the National Education Association (NEA) has contracted with DSF Consulting. This project involves developing a criterion for analysis and evaluation of the TOT materials, coordinating the evaluation of materials conducted by selected EL experts/scholars, then compiling and analyzing the completed evaluations. The goal is for the training materials to be up-to-date, address relevant issues for ELs and their teachers such as Common Core State Standards and English language development standards, and support an online learning component for participants. DSF Consulting is also providing editing support on EL advocacy materials the NEA has developed.

Kentucky and Georgia Districts

Dr. Ayanna Cooper’s work continues in Kentucky and Georgia. This month one district focused on goal setting and individual coaching. Through the use of informal observations, lesson planning and collecting evidence the plan is to closely align their EL program in support of district goals and student achievement initiatives. Overview presentations of the EL program are also scheduled to build transparency and foster collaboration across district level departments. A new client Ayanna works with requested introductory level professional learning sessions. These sessions are in response to the number of new staff members hired due to an increase of ELs within the district.


Ayanna is currently serving as the president of the Lesley University Alumni Council. She has been an active council member since 2008 and enjoys supporting the chapter committee and the National Day of Service. In June, As 1st VP, she organized a book drive for the New Citizens Center, a public high school in Worcester, MA for immigrant students learning English as a new language. As president she is focused on bringing attention to the needs of homeless people in Massachusetts by organizing a clothing drive. She is also serving as one of the Associate Convention Program Chairs for the 2015 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo.

Upcoming Presentations

  • Ayanna is co-presenting at the TESL Ontario 2013 Conference Oct. 25, 2013.
  • Diane is giving the following presentations:
    • Pennsylvania Migrant Education Conference: October 16 & 17, 2013 – Topics: Universal Design for Learning for ELs, Common Core for ELs:
    • Georgia TESOL Conference: October 25, 2013 – Topics: Common Core for ELs & EL advocacy
    • New York TESOL Conference: November 15, 2013 – Topics: Common Core for ELs & EL advocacy
    • TESOL K-12 Dream Day (Portland, OR): March 26, 2014 – Topic: EL advocacy


Diane Staehr Fenner