ELLevate! is the product of the collaboration between Texas Woman’s University (TWU) and the Denton Independent School District (DISD) to improve the classroom instruction of high school ELLs. It is sponsored by the Office of English Language Acquisition of the U.S. Department of Education (OELA).
ELLevate! focuses on all educators taking a vested interest in elevating the academic success of high school ELLs through a whole-school reform model. This model is rooted in two facts: (1) it is in the middle and high school years when the achievement gap between mainstream and ELL students grows exponentially, leading to academic failure for many adolescent ELLs (Gándara, 2010); and (2) frequently, ELLs are educated throughout the school by several teachers in all content areas who are rarely required to have a certificate to teach English as a Second Language (ESL), so their knowledge of ESL theories, methods, and strategies to effectively educate this population for academic success tends to be limited (Ballantyne, Sanderman & Levy, 2008; Faltis & Coulter, 2008).
To support high school educators in Denton and Braswell High Schools, ELLevate! offers a 4-tier professional development program on three areas that research indicates as necessary when instructing adolescent ELLs (Faltis, Arias, & Ramírez-Marín, 2010): Language, Literacy and Engagement.
- The language component addresses bilingual and second language acquisition theories.
- The literacy component focuses on incorporating written and oral language across all content areas.
- The engagement component centers on ELL student engagement in meaningful academic activities and increasing families’ engagement with the school.
Ballantyne, K. G., Sanderman, A. R., and Levy, J. (2008). Educating English language learners: Building teacher capacity [online]. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition. Available from: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED521360.pdf [Accessed 11 January 2016].
Faltis, C., & Coulter, C. (2008). Teaching English learners and immigrant students in secondary schools. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.
Faltis, C., Arias, M. B., & Ramírez-Marín, F. (2010). Identifying relevant competencies for secondary teachers of English learners. Bilingual Research Journal, 33(3), 307-328.
Gándara, P. (2010). The Latino education crisis. Educational Leadership, 67(5), 24-30.
Travel stipends and reimbursement
Teachers from Denton and Braswell High Schools may apply for up to $1000 to cover actual travel expenses incurred to attend conference or training. Preference will be given to teachers who are presenting a paper, poster, or chairing a session and who have not received travel funds in the previous year.