English Learners Research Alliance
This alliance seeks to use data and evidence to understand problems of practice related to the diversity of English learners (ELs) and to explore the education programs and services that best meet EL students' needs. Alliance work includes developing a research agenda, conducting research, and supporting the use of data and evidence to improve education programs, practice, and policy related to English learners.
Latest Work Update: Fall 2016
During this quarter, the English Learners Research Alliance liaison and members communicated regularly to address questions and concerns and to plan and hold events.
On November 14, alliance members participated in a blended meeting—attending virtually and in person—in Austin, Texas. Former alliance liaison, Linda Cavazos, and new liaison, Dalia Zabala, co-facilitated the meeting. Nine members and six REL Southwest staff participated. Veronica Ruiz de Castilla, principal investigator on the Correlational Study of Teachers Assigned to English Learner Students in Houston Independent School District, presented information about the study.
At the same meeting, Dr. Cavazos and Zabala presented information about three key Texas teacher preparation programs' admission and completion requirements for English learner (EL) teachers. Members then discussed the programs' commonalities and limitations in effectively preparing teacher candidates to meet the needs of EL students. Alliance members received additional project updates before the meeting adjourned.
With the school year well underway, district staffing changes led to some changes in the alliance membership. Three members moved on, while five new members joined: Karina Chapa, Chelsea Cornelius, Sonia Domingues, David Kauffman, and Aline Orr. Welcome new members!
Work continued on alliance projects as well. REL Southwest received approval to begin a new project, Trends in the Identification and Provision of Services to Gifted and Talented English Learner Students in Texas. This study will examine the identification of gifted/talented (GT) EL students in Texas public elementary schools over six school years. The study will also identify promising GT program models and interventions. The findings will inform ongoing state efforts to increase the representation of special populations in GT programs.
Staff moved forward with facilitating a Community of Practice (CoP) and providing individualized technical support to districts participating in the Early Warning and Risk Prevention for EL Students project. In addition, staff made revisions based on IES review to the final reports for the Correlational Study of Teachers Assigned to English Learner Students in Houston Independent School District and the Trajectories to Language Proficiency and Content-Area Mastery for Texas Hispanic Ever-English Learner Students Study.
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