SEAL 2021 Winter Newsletter




Friends and Partners,

As we move further into 2021, we at SEAL are reflecting and taking stock of all that has happened over the last year, and looking forward to where we are headed. There is no question that we are still in the thick of this pandemic, and all the related and preexisting social strife, but we also see hope on the horizon. SEAL is ever more committed to serving our English Learner/Dual Language Learner students along with their teachers, families, and school communities. While we fully acknowledge the disproportionately negative impacts being experienced by the communities we serve, we also continue to reimagine how we can, should, and must redesign our educational practices and school systems if we truly intend to work towards an equitable and just society. We thank you for your partnership and shared dedication to SEAL’s mission- that all English Learners/Dual Language Learners in California learn, thrive and lead.

In solidarity,

Anya Hurwitz
Executive Director


SEAL in the Field!

  • We had approximately 900 participants at our virtual ELD Institute for Tulare County Office of Education which we led as a part of the EL RISE! Project. We completed 7 out of 21 ELD Institute sessions that we are leading throughout the state this school year, along with many other professional learning opportunities for counties participating in EL RISE!
  • Thanks to a new CDE Dual Language Learner Professional Development grant, SEAL has launched a new virtual PD series to support Dual Language Learners throughout the pandemic and we are reaching preschool educators throughout the state working tirelessly to support their DLL students and families.
  • SEAL facilitated a successful ‘History of Bilingual Education’ webinar series in October. One participant said of the webinar, “It’s been amazing to have this opportunity and to be given this knowledge so I can be an even better and more effective advocate for our students.” You can access some of the resources from this series here.
  • We were honored to present at the Best Results for English Learners Conference hosted by CA Region VII in November. Charice Guerra and Jen McNeil presented the Critical Condition for English Learners in Distance Learning. We had 100+ participants!
  • Program Manager, Heather Skibbins, led a workshop in early November at La Cosecha for 50+ educators from around the country! She explored how to develop students’ metalinguistic awareness through transfer strategies, lessons, and moments and provided teachers with the practical skills to develop student biliteracy through understanding the relationship between their two languages.
  • November was a busy month! SEAL Director of Innovation and Strategy, Jennifer Diehl, presented at the Oak Grove Board Meeting our new work to support teacher preparation programs alongside her colleagues as part of the SJSU Lurie College of Education Teacher Residency Program!
  • Program Coordinator & District Relations Administrator, Charice Guerra, presented with CABE for Project BEST! Ivannia Soto facilitated and Charice presented ‘Critical Condition for English Learners in Distance Learning.’ Project BEST is training for administrators serving bilingual programs! Check them out too!


SEAL media highlights!

SEAL has had an eventful fall and winter in the media! We have been featured in a number of publications, including most recently at New America in the first part of an article series that highlights some of our amazing SEAL educators! So many teachers within the SEAL network are rising above and beyond to support DLL/ELs during the pandemic! Check out some of our other media highlights as well:

  • Teachers lean on each other to rise above and beyond during pandemic to support Dual Language Learners – New America
  • Anya Hurwitz, Executive Director of Sobrato Early Academic Language, is quoted in an Ed Source article about California’s new Master Plan for Early Learning and Care is also featured in a separate article that discusses the Governor’s budget. Hurwitz articulates the importance of continuing to expand investments in dual language programs and asset-based, culturally and linguistically responsive learning that builds an equity-focused, multilingual education system.
  • SEAL’s ‘Return To School Toolkit’ is featured in EdSource’s Top Dual Immersion Resources list!

“I noticed a huge change in some of my introverted students, I’m really proud of the community we built.”
-Sarah Henderson Martinez (New America blog)


Publication Announcement!

We are so excited to announce the long-awaited important publication, “Improving Education for Multilingual and English Learner Students: Research to Practice.” The chapter on dual language programs and pedagogy was written by our very own Laurie Olsen, Carla Herrera, Martha Martinez and Heather Skibbins. Check it out!


Building a storytelling framework

As part of our continued efforts to build a storytelling culture at SEAL, we’ve begun the process of creating a virtual story bank! Check out this video from one of our very own Program Managers. Laura Hernandez shares her journey from being a teacher struggling to serve her ELs, to being a SEAL Coach/Facilitator leading SEAL implementation at her school site, to now being one of our expert SEAL team members!

Laura's Story


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