EdSource: Reactions to Gov. Newsom’s 2022-23 early ed budget


January 2022

On January 10, 2022, Governor Newsom unveiled his 2022-23 budget that marshals historic levels of resources to support the education and care of California children. This budget aims to meet the unprecedented challenges these last two years have brought about. If these investments are implemented in thoughtful and strategic ways, the impact for our state could be tremendous.

SEAL’s Executive Director, Dr. Anya Hurwitz, along with several of our partners across the state, provided commentary for EdSource’s yearly column about the Governor’s Early Education and K12 budgets.

EdSource: Reactions to Gov. Newsom’s 2022-23 early ed budget2023-04-06T13:23:52-07:00

Commentary on Governor’s Budget


Dear Partners,

Last week, Governor Newsom unveiled his 2022-23 budget that marshals historic levels of resources to support the education and care of California children. This budget aims to meet the unprecedented challenges these last two years have brought about. If these investments are implemented in thoughtful and strategic ways, the impact for our state could be tremendous.

This budget is also the result of the relentless advocacy by the education equity community. SEAL is proud to support their budget advocacy with our research, policy analysis, and learnings from well over a decade of working with our partners to bring forth asset-based educational equity in their schools and systems.

I joined several of my colleagues across the state in providing commentary for EdSource’s yearly column about the Governor’s Early Education and K12 budgets. As an organization that works to center the assets and needs of Dual Language/English Learners (DLLs/ELs), we were encouraged to see dedicated funding to support and prioritize our students.


EdSource asked “What among the governor’s proposals will most advance students’ recovery from the pandemic and why?”

  • Early Ed: “Universal TK expansion is the result of many years of advocacy and we’re proud California is making it a reality. High-quality universal TK starts at the classroom level so we applaud the Governor’s proposal to reduce the student-to-adult ratios. The additional funding to the State Preschool Program to provide support, training, and investments to better serve Dual Language Learners (DLLs) – 60% of children age 5 and under in California – sends a message that we value the diversity of our state. That support must prioritize the development of home language if we are to be culturally and linguistically asset-based.”
  • K12: “This budget prioritizes the students who need the most support for an equitable recovery. The investments in Early Literacy are encouraging and critical to addressing the unfinished learning caused by the pandemic. Effective literacy coaches and reading specialists who can support literacy and biliteracy instruction in culturally and linguistically affirming ways are an essential component of education equity in California. Additionally, we’re pleased to see funding to create and expand multilingual school and classroom libraries offering culturally and linguistically relevant texts. This sends a strong message that in our state we embrace and elevate multilingualism and biliteracy.”


The priorities included in this year’s education budget are a good start, but more can and should be done. DLL/ELs, children from immigrant families, and children living in low-income households are among those who have been hardest hit by the health and economic consequences of the pandemic. They are also among the students most likely to have missed out on learning due to remote learning challenges and other school and family disruptions. That is why we believe that an equitable recovery for all starts with ensuring Preschool through 12th grade educators receive robust support and professional learning opportunities required to meet the needs of all students, especially DLLs and ELs.


EdSource asked, “What priority should have been in the budget but wasn’t?”

  • Early Ed: “Sixty percent (60%) of children 5 and under in California are Dual Language Learners (DLLs). The future success of our state depends on how well we support these children, yet most early educators have not received the support and infrastructure they need to ensure our DLLs succeed. We need additional and sustained investments – not just one-time funding – so early childhood educators and administrators can build professional learning systems that transform classrooms to better serve all students, especially our DLLs. Furthermore, all investments in professional learning, particularly those proposed for early literacy, should center the cultural and linguistic assets of our children.”
  • K12: “Transforming classrooms to be inclusive, asset based, and ignite learning for all students will require long-term investments that build equity-focused professional learning systems. We need investments that address the major barriers that currently exist– lack of substitute teachers, lack of time for teacher collaboration and planning, and inconsistent resources for instructional coaching. Without addressing these, we run the risk of wasting the historic resources available at this time. Furthermore, ongoing investments are needed to center multilingual learners, expand dual language programs, and address the bilingual teacher shortage if we are to realize our vision of a strong, diverse, multilingual California.


As the budget process moves forward, we look forward to supporting our ed equity advocacy partners to ensure that the needs of DLLs/ELs are centered in the budget decision-making process. Our students and families are counting on all of us to be their voices in Sacramento.

Anya Hurwitz

Commentary on Governor’s Budget2023-04-06T13:29:40-07:00

SEAL Winter Quarterly Newsletter


Dear SEAL Partners,

I had hoped to be writing this Winter Newsletter under better circumstances. Yet here we are nearly two years since the pandemic began, and this latest COVID surge has us feeling like we’ve taken a very big step back. But, we’ve been here before, and just like before, I have faith we’ll get through this together.

What’s important to remember during times like this are the lessons we’ve learned along the way. Throughout 2021, much of SEAL’s work focused on capturing those learnings and sharing them with all of you. From the release of the SEAL Evaluation and Pandemic Recovery briefs to all our professional learning webinars and participation on various panel discussions, this year has been filled with sharing lessons big and small.

None of this would have been possible without our partner educators, who worked tirelessly over the spring and fall semesters to ensure that our returning students were safe and supported in their transition back to in-person learning. The ongoing persistence of this pandemic makes our partnerships and work together evermore critical and consequential.

In the coming year, we’ll continue to provide the high-quality professional development we’re known for as well as the research, tools and resources that educators and advocates rely on. We’re also excited to build out new work as part of our new 2021-2025 strategic plan.
Here’s a preview of what’s to come in 2022:

  • New Professional Development in LAUSD. SEAL is proud to announce that we will participate in a new federal grant-funded project in partnership with Loyola Marymount University’s Center for Equity for English Learners to improve language and literacy achievement for English learners in Los Angeles Unified elementary schools and to increase the pipeline of highly qualified bilingual teachers. Learn more about the Purposeful Engagement in Academic Rigor and Language Learning (PEARLL) project that will serve 166 current teachers, district and site leaders across 25 sites in this EdSource article.
  • SEAL Evaluation Case Studies. Last October, SEAL released a set of briefs on our multi-year evaluation that set out to determine whether SEAL works when replicated across multiple districts in different regions of California. The answer is yes: SEAL improved teaching practices and SEAL English Learners demonstrated stronger engagement as well as positive language development and academic outcomes. In March, we will release a series of case studies that go deep into three districts’ process of fully embracing the SEAL model and how they implemented the model in ways that continue to transform classrooms.
  • Growing SEAL’s work. SEAL completed a new strategic planning process that will focus on broadening our work with California school systems and deepening our work to change the educational ecosystem. We will continue our comprehensive Full SEAL Model implementation, while also offering the field new “Designs for Change” that meet systems and educators where they are to build the foundations for deeper instructional transformation and center the assets and needs of our students. Within the broader educational ecosystem, we will more intentionally share our expertise with policymakers, system leaders, educators, and other education organizations; this will reinforce the work we’re doing in schools and contribute to the profound systems-level change needed for every Dual Language/English Learner in California to have the education they deserve.

While we’ve intentionally planned our work in the coming months, the pandemic has taught us the value of being nimble and adaptable to the real-time needs of the educators we serve, and we’ll continue to do just that. Our deepest appreciation goes out to teachers and school staff for their continued commitment to Dual Language/English Learners and families. We’ll be sure to share more updates in the coming months!

In partnership,
Dr. Anya Hurwitz

SEAL Contributes to Improved Teaching and Learning!

Learn how SEAL’s research-based approach can inspire engagement and ignite learning among young English Learners and Dual Language Learners

From 2015 to 2019, Loyola Marymount University’s Center for Equity for English Learners (CEEL), in partnership with the Wexford Institute, conducted a rigorous multi-year evaluation of the Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) model. CEEL and Wexford Institute studied SEAL’s implementation and outcomes in 67 schools in 12 California districts. This multi-year evaluation set out to determine whether SEAL works when replicated across multiple districts in different regions of California. The answer is yes: SEAL improved teaching practices and SEAL English Learners demonstrated stronger engagement as well as positive language development and academic outcomes.
It’s all laid out in our new Evaluation Research Brief and Pandemic Recovery Policy Brief. These shorter briefs, taken from the comprehensive 477-page evaluation, are written for educators, policymakers, and others committed to improving opportunities for ELs and Dual Language Learners (DLLs).

Inside these briefs you’ll learn more about how:

  • SEAL improved teaching and learning
  • SEAL students demonstrated stronger engagement and positive outcomes
  • SEAL strategies and tools can support pandemic recovery

Read the SEAL Evaluation Brief


Did you catch our SEAL Evaluation brief webinar?

If you missed the SEAL webinar: Inspiring Engagement & Igniting Learning: SEAL Teaching and Learning Outcomes in 12 School Districts, the webinar recording and our PowerPoint presentation are now available online.

Guest Panelist Superintendent Maldonado-French and Assistant Superintendent Raymond Andry from Mountain View School District shared their journey with implementing SEAL, which has truly transformed their classrooms to better serve English Learner students. They opened up about the challenges and opportunities as they pivoted to virtual learning at the onset of the pandemic, and how they are working with educators to accelerate the learning of their students now that they’ve returned to in-person learning.

Our evaluation and pandemic briefs were highlighted by Leslie Villegas of New America.

Read the blog


Save the Date!

Educator Webinar on Resources for Supporting Prek-3rd Multilingual Children!

SEAL is a proud partner of the Multilingual Learning Toolkit developed by Early Edge California. This toolkits supports educators and administrators in meeting the needs of young Multilingual Learners (ML) from preschool – third grade. Early Edge and SEAL will host a three-part series to get our strategies and practices into the hands of early childhood educators. We’ll focus on three of the eleven structural strategies.

To be one of the first to register for this webinar, please complete this form.

March 2, 2022

Part 1: Partnering with Families to Affirm Children’s Languages, Cultures & Identities (en Español)

March 15, 2022

Part 1: Partnering with Families to Affirm Children’s Languages, Cultures & Identities (in English)

April 19, 2022

Part 2: Supporting Multilingual Learners’ Oral Language Development

May 12, 2022

Part 3: Supporting Multilingual Learners’ Home Language Development

To learn more about the Multilingual Learning Toolkit, read this blog by New America that highlights SEAL resources for supporting #DualLanguageLearners.


SEAL in the Field

It was a busy Fall! Dr. Anya Hurwitz participated in a rich conversation at this year’s Birth to 12 Water Cooler conference, presented by Advancement Project California.

The 2-day conference assembled an incredible panel of progressive policymakers, organizers, and movement leaders to discuss capitalizing on this once-in-a-generation moment to address the root causes of racial and educational inequity in California through a whole-child approach.

It’s amazing what can happen to a school culture when it shifts to a systemic focus on deeply engaged learning that is language rich.” Executive Director, Anya Hurwitz

SEAL co-facilitated a conversation with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) as part of their #LearningTuesdays webinar series. The discussion focused on the impact of COVID on DLL/ELs, the benefits of developing home languages, and the ways in which education policy leaders and educators can leverage multilingualism toward the goal of equitable recovery. To access the #LearningTuesday webinars and other CGLR resource click here.


Available Recordings

On October 14th, SEAL presented at the San Jose State University Early Childhood Institute Speaker Series on “Centralizing Our Dual-Language Learners: The Power of the Family-School Partnership in Early Childhood Education,” facilitated by program coordinators Ana Marisol Sanchez and Cory Wechsler! This workshop examined how educators and families can partner to create early learning environments that explicitly center children’s languages and identities. The session was recorded and you can access it here.

The California Latino School Boards Association held their annual Unity Summit in November and this year’s theme was ACCELERATING LATINO/A/X STUDENT SUCCESS. SEAL was proud to join Californians Together, CABE, and Advancement Project California on a panel titled Language-Rich and Joyful Learning: Supporting Pandemic Recovery for ELs and DLLs, moderated by San Bernardino School Board Member and lifelong English Learner advocate, Dr. Barbara Flores. The discussion was centered on the promising practices districts can implement that establish and foster relationships, address traumas and other social and emotional needs, and make teaching and learning relevant, affirming, fun, and engaging for students. Watch the panel recording here.

SEAL Partner Spotlight!

SEAL Partner, Jenny Le, from Azusa Unified School District spoke at the U.S. Department of Education webinar in September on the meaningful impact of SEAL’s work, among other important topics! We are proud to spotlight her testimony and applaud the work AUSD educators and school administrators continue to do.


Media Highlights!


Welcome to SEAL!

Dr. Camille R. Whitney, Research and Evaluation Manager

Dr. Camille R. Whitney joins SEAL as a Research and Evaluation Manager with over ten years of experience in education research and a focus on improving outcomes for underserved populations and ELs in particular. Dr. Whitney works with the Director of Research & Evaluation to manage SEAL’s research and evaluation activities. This includes supporting and co-leading investigations of the efficacy of the SEAL model, as well as high quality EL instruction in general. Dr. Whitney began her career in education as a high school mathematics teacher. She later served as an education research analyst at Child Trends and Head of Research at Mindful Schools. Before joining SEAL in 2021, she worked in various roles at the San Francisco Zen Center including supporting their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. She received her Ph.D. in Education Policy and the Economics of Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2016.


Sarah Valencia, Trustee, SEAL Board of Directors

SEAL welcomes Sarah Valencia as its newest member of the Board of Directors. A dedicated business leader and financial executive, Sarah Valencia has cultivated an extensive background in finance management, accounting, tax preparation, and operations oversight throughout her 15+ year career with Silicon Valley Community Foundation, including serving as Senior Vice President of Finance from 2014 to present. Ms. Valencia currently serves as a contributing member of the management team for one of the largest community foundations in the nation, with over $10B in total assets and $1.4B in awarded grants. She formulates successful operational strategies, leads a top-tier finance team, and is the catalyst of innovative systems and processes to support growth and deliver a sustainable infrastructure. Committed to education, Ms. Valencia also serves on the boards of The Foundation for Hispanic Education and Latino Education Advancement Foundation. Sarah Valencia earned her BS in commerce from Santa Clara University with a major in finance and a minor in Spanish and is a certified public accountant (CPA).


SEAL Winter Quarterly Newsletter2023-04-06T13:43:21-07:00
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