As we enter 2024, we are proud of our shared accomplishments and the work planned ahead to enhance equitable opportunities for multilingual learners. The year is off to a dynamic and busy start with statewide educator convenings, virtual training sessions, national communities of practice and more.
This past quarter marked a significant milestone for SEAL as we completed our fourth year as an independent nonprofit. In collaboration with our partners, we have worked to play a vital role in inspiring positive changes in school systems and policy development while expanding our impact across the state.
The journey continues, and these past few months have been filled with exciting developments.
From the Executive Director
As we launch into the second half of the 2022-2023 program year, I am proud of what we’ve accomplished and acutely aware of the power of our collective work to expand equitable opportunities for multilingual learners. Despite the slowdown in our economy, we are encouraged by the Governor’s budget efforts to protect crucial investments that ensure more equitable learning environments for our youngest learners. We continue our work with educators, school leaders, and partners to lift up and implement evidence-based, linguistically and culturally affirming approaches to educational equity.
We hit the ground running this fall as we fully returned to both in-person and hybrid convenings, meetings, and trainings across the state. Over the next few months we will publish three new publications: an ELs and STEM National Academies brief, a Community Schools brief co-authored with CSLX, and a blog on virtual learning during the pandemic. To help us build capacity and chart the course for SEAL’s future, we’ve added more team members who embody the values, lived experiences and bold leadership needed to transform practice and systems.
We remain committed to continuing our collaborative work with teachers, coaches and education leaders, while also being a resource to the state, policymakers and you. We look forward to our work together in 2023 so that we all remain focused on transforming education in California in the most equitable ways.
We hope you enjoy a snapshot of our last quarter and some highlights of events to come.
Advocacy. Policy. Research.
IN THE NEWS: SEAL Executive Director Anya Hurwitz joined CA practitioners, advocates, students and legislators to give their first take on the governor’s budget proposal in a recent EdSource article. Anya shared SEAL’s thoughts on its priority for early education and K-12 budget proposals during an expected economic downturn for California. We join our partners and continue to urge our state to support sustained investments for teachers and our youngest learners. Click below to read more about our collective thoughts.
- Read SEAL’s reaction to the governor’s early education budget proposal
- Read SEAL’s reaction to the governor’s K-12 budget proposal
New SEAL BRIEF: The California Department of Education will soon release a new Mathematics Framework that could significantly strengthen the pipeline of underrepresented English learner/emergent bilinguals (ELs/EBs) into STEM careers. SEAL’s latest brief will focus on research-based guidance from a 2018 National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report and bring to life how California educators can align the proposed Math Framework policy with the realities of teaching and learning in the classroom.
POLICY BRIEF: K-12 educators and faculty lifted up SEAL as one of the state recommendations in Public Advocates policy brief. The brief focuses on the experiences of current and former K-12 educators of multilingual learners and the landscape of bilingual education from the perspective of faculty of bilingual authorization programs. The brief outlines recommendations for the state that would expand and strengthen educator preparation to better serve multilingual learners’ needs and to increase their access to school programs and academic content. Read the policy brief authored by Public Advocates Education Equity Team Senior Staff Attorney Shilpa Ram.
SBE MEETING: In November, SEAL joined Californians Together and 13 English learner partners and advocates from CABE, Families in Schools, Mount Diablo Unified School District and PIQE to provide testimony at the State Board of Education (SBE) meeting on the State Accountability System. We each provided testimony regarding the State’s Data Dashboard, the Academic and English Language Progress Indicators, and accountability for ELs within LCAPs. We urged the board to re-examine how the academic indicators, ELPI, DA and CSI/ATSI are structured to address the needs of English learners. We expressed our willingness to work with the California Department of Education and the State Board of Education on this critical issue. Our voices were heard, and several SBE board members spoke to the issues we raised. Listen to the testimony and comments from the State Board President, Linda Darling Hammond and board member, Gabriela Orozco Gonzalez. SBE will bring back the agenda for further conversation and SEAL will join partners again to continue raising awareness and voices.
HOW DO KINDERGARTNERS LEARN BEST? SEAL’s Anya Hurwitz took part in the second of a six-part webinar series by The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and New America’s Early & Elementary Education Policy Program that promotes impactful teaching and learning in kindergarten. Anya with leaders from Stand for Children, Temple University, and Tools of the Mind explored research findings on teaching and learning in kindergarten and explored strategies and approaches for teaching in the way young children learn best. Watch clip from Part 2 and register now for the upcoming webinars.
CENTERING EQUITY IN K-12 SYSTEMS: In November, SEAL’s Executive Director Anya Hurwitz moderated a panel at the Fall 2022 Birth to 12th Grade Water Cooler Conference focused on centering equity in K-12 systems. The panel discussed systemic change and building systems that are rooted in racial equity and lifted up equity initiatives that intentionally build a collective vision, support capacity building, and use targeted resource allocation to meet the needs of the most impacted and underserved students. Relive the conference HERE.
THE ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF MULTILINGUAL LEARNING: SEAL with Early Edge California joined Bay Area Council Economic Institute and Sobrato Philanthropies as a panelist to discuss their recent report: The Economic Benefits of Multilingual Learning. The report findings reveal that supporting multilingual learning among California’s youngest children can improve educational outcomes, boost household incomes, and give California companies the edge needed to compete on the world stage.
SEAL in the Field
OUR WORK GROWS: SEAL’S Full Model continues to be delivered in both hybrid and in-person structures serving preschools and elementary schools throughout California. Our Design for Change work is moving forward with a very positive reception as we continue to be responsive to the needs of our partners and the field more broadly. Through EL RISE!, SEAL continues to deliver virtual professional learning in partnership with 20 California county offices of education. We’ve developed 10 new offerings in the last six months and delivered 58 virtual sessions. Within our federally funded National Professional Development project in LAUSD, PEARLL Pathway 2, we are piloting a new hybrid model of delivery that includes in-person training along with an online course and community of practice. And the work continues to grow!
SEAL CONVENINGS BRING TOGETHER HUNDREDS: From October to December 2022, SEAL gathered hundreds of California education leaders and partners for three separate convenings – Bilingual, New Administrator, Administrator – each with its focused and in-depth all-day interactive sessions. Attendance was high and feedback was strong. Leaders continue to highlight that interaction and networking with one another is extremely valuable and supportive to their work. The sessions included an overview of research and interactive sessions to build bilingual support in families, dialogue for increased systems alignment, problem-solving, shared successes and more. In February, we’ll host our first in-person early learning leadership convening since Covid! Look forward to this and more to come!
CONGRATULATIONS: Shout out to our very own Associate Director Charice Guerra, who has been elected to the IQC Executive Committee as a member and appointed to be the Chair of the ELA/ELD Subject Matter Committee. The Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) is an advisory body to the State Board of Education (SBE). The IQC is responsible for advising the SBE on matters related to curriculum and instruction. Among the various 2023 goals for the IQC are to support the revision of the Mathematics Framework and the upcoming Mathematics Instructional Materials Adoption.
SEAL IS CABE 2023 BOUND: We are excited to be part of CABE’s – in person – annual conference with eight sessions presented by SEAL team members for educators, community partners and families. We look forward to “Testimonios: The Power of Our Stories, Our Art and Our Dreams” on March 22 – 25, 2023, at the Long Beach Convention Center. Click HERE to learn more about our various sessions.
See you there! Register Today
CENTRAL VALLEY ED CHAMPIONS: SEAL is partnering with Californians Together, PIQE, Teach Plus and multilingual champions in the Central Valley Multilingual Consortium to develop an English learner policy agenda. The last of three virtual sessions will be held Saturday, February 4, 2023, to review policy recommendations based on the listening sessions and conversations with education leaders in the Central Valley and work to refine those recommendations to develop a Central Valley English Learner Policy Agenda. Register Today.
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Resources and Tools
EL Curriculum Brief Series: Sobrato Family Foundation‘s new series of briefs, “Effective Curriculum for English Learner Success,” grapples with several aspects of curriculum and materials that are key to educational equity for ELs. Each brief focuses on different aspects of what it means to address the “curriculum” portion of creating EL responsive and effective schools.
CASE STUDIES & TOOLKIT
Our series of in-depth school district case studies are full of powerful stories that can inspire more districts and supporters to embrace and invest in EL/DLL strategies. Our Toolkit pulls quotes, images, and facts from each of the narratives and offers critical learnings from the districts’ implementation experiences.
Download Your FREE Resources Today!
As this extraordinary school year comes to a close, we at SEAL are filled with so much awe and respect for how hard our educator partners have worked, continuing to prioritize the needs of Dual Language/English Learners, along with all their most vulnerable students. […]
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. […]
It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the passing of our founding board member, and longtime dual-language learner advocate, Dr. Ruby Takanishi. The early education leader and research pioneer passed away peacefully earlier this month. Her legacy within the field and the extended SEAL community inspires our collective responsibility to carry it forward.
Dr. Takanishi’s values and passion were evident throughout her lifelong work. She was an extraordinary leader in the field of research who quickly earned a national reputation as a champion of early childhood education. Once quoted saying “primary education today reflects the social and economic divides in our country,” her sharp, evidence-based approach to tackling systemic barriers in education challenged policy-makers to reimagine public school systems nationally. Notably, Dr.Takanishi led the launch of the preschool through 3rd movement in 2003 as the president and CEO of the Foundation for Child Development.
Ruby played a critical role in SEAL’s pilot, replication, and growth into a nonprofit organization. During the preliminary years leading to SEAL’s development, Dr. Takanishi was one of the leading experts tapped by the Sobrato Family Foundation. It was Dr. Takanishi’s early education policy research that helped set the stage for the SEAL model. As chair of the 2017 National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine report, Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures, Dr. Takanishi helped ensure SEAL was included as a spotlight within this meta-analysis. Furthermore, it was a great honor that Dr. Takanishi became a founding SEAL board member.
Dr. Takanishi has been recognized by the American Psychological Association, the American Sociological Association (Division of Children and Families), and the Society for Research in Child Development for her contribution to connecting research with public policies. In 2014, the American Education Research Association honored her with its Distinguished Public Service Award. Most recently, she served as a senior research fellow in the Early and Elementary Education Policy division at New America in Washington, DC.
Dr. Takanishi’s accolades are only a small testament to a lifetime of achievement. Ruby was both brilliant and generous, she acted as a mentor to many and gave all of herself to colleagues and friends alike. Even in her final months, she never missed an opportunity to act as a bridge of communication, connection, and inspiration. Her legacy both propels and inspires us to live up to her vision of educational equity for all children, especially our youngest dual language learners. While we mourn this enormous loss, we are up for the challenge – she wouldn’t want it any other way.
Our deepest condolences go out to Ruby’s family and loved ones in this time of immense challenge. Ruby’s friends and family have created a website to celebrate her life. Check it out here.
As we navigate these uncertain times, SEAL remains steadfast in our commitment to serving our English Learner/Dual Language Learner students along with their teachers, families, and school communities. SEAL is working to adapt our programs, resources, and services to online formats and distance learning contexts to support our partners and school communities across the state. […]
We know that this extended school closure means districts are scrambling to develop strategies to teach students online and remotely. We, at SEAL, are working hard to develop resources to support your work, especially to ensure your Dual Language/English Learner students are being supported in the best possible ways as you develop distance learning plans and lessons….