SEAL (Sobrato Early Academic Language) is a powerful English Learner-focused approach to education rooted at the intersection of research and educational equity. The bedrock values are a commitment to further developing the intellectual and linguistic genius of young children’s brains, honoring the value and role of a family’s culture and language in students’ lives, and helping teachers cultivate the skills and mindset they need to become powerfully effective educators. SEAL is inclusive of all students, creating an environment where children engage together in rigorous, joyful, content and language-rich learning.
The Sobrato Family Foundation invested in the design and pilot of the SEAL model, which was led by Dr. Laurie Olsen. A 5-year evaluation of SEAL found that despite starting school with language and academic skills behind their peers, SEAL students catch up or surpass peers on all measures, from language and literacy to math and science. Major findings show statistically significant gains in language, literacy and cognition, as well as a significant impact on family literacy.
SEAL already partners with educational leaders across California, in over 100 elementary schools across 21 districts, and in over 130 preschool classrooms within 24 preschool local education agencies, working to transform the system by providing professional development, curriculum support, and technical assistance for educators. SEAL is helping English Learners turn their home language into an asset.
SEAL provides a clear pathway for California to meet the vision set out by the comprehensive English Learner Roadmap policy. With over 10 years of practice and research that demonstrates an effective model, SEAL fosters systems change in two ways: by continuing to transform more classrooms, schools, and districts, and by advocating for state level changes that focus on English Learners’ needs.