Letter from the Executive Director


Dear SEAL Partners,

I wish I was writing to you under happier circumstances, as the end of the school year is something SEAL loves to celebrate. But I write to you against the backdrop of the second anniversary of George Floyd’s murder and less than a month after one of the worst mass school shootings in our nation’s history.

At a time when we should be celebrating another year of joyful learning, we are mourning students who were robbed of their immense potential and teachers who died heroically trying to save their students. Amid this anger and loss, SEAL is grateful for the resilience of school leaders and teachers everywhere who showed up for students and held space for each other.

It feels so out of place to talk about our work surrounded by so much sadness and stress, but I would be remiss in not expressing my deep gratitude to all the educators that we partnered with this school year and to our SEAL team who worked tirelessly to support them. Right now our newsletter might be the furthest thing from your minds. When you’re ready, please return to read our wonderful updates and utilize the educator resources within.

I will be treating every moment this summer as the gift that it truly is, recognizing that for many, it will be an ongoing struggle to overcome the enormity of all the pain.

Wishing you healing moments this summer.

In Partnership,
Anya Hurwitz




In the fall of 2017, the California Department of Education awarded the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program (BTPDP) state grant to eight Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to address the bilingual teacher shortage in California. Oak Grove School District was awarded a BTPDP grant to support a partnership between SEAL and a consortium of twelve school districts and one county office of education. The Oak Grove/SEAL BTPDP project provided activities and resources to teachers to increase their dual language/bilingual pedagogical knowledge and skills and support their efforts to obtain their Bilingual Authorization. Overall, the project demonstrated positive results by increasing the supply of fully authorized bilingual educators and supporting all teacher participants in deepening their expertise around dual language/bilingual pedagogy. We share these findings and more in an upcoming policy brief: Building the Supply of Bilingual Teachers in California: Evidence From State Investment Shows Districts Should Look Closer to Home for Bilingual Teacher Candidates.

Learn More

In the meantime, you can read this article by Martha I. Martínez, Ph.D., SEAL (Sobrato Early Academic Language) & Guadalupe Díaz Lara, Ph.D., California State University, Fullerton, that was featured in the March 2022 issue of CABE’s Multilingual Educator magazine. Read the article below and you can also read the entire March 2022 Multilingual Educator online here.


Our Call To Action in EdSource: Keep an Eye on Equity in Bilingual Education

Recently, the NABE Journal of Research and Practice published, “Keeping an Eye on Equity in Bilingual Education.” This journal article was co-authored by several SEAL staff members, including Adriana Diaz, Anya Hurwitz, Martha I. Martinez, Joanna Meadvin, Corina Sapien, and Heather Skibbins.
In an EdSource commentary published in May, SEAL Executive Director, Anya Hurwitz, shared a few key points from the article and challenged policymakers, education leaders, teacher education programs, communities, and advocates to keep an eye on equity as we move toward promoting bilingualism and expanding dual language programs.
In our NABE journal article, we outline two key ways SEAL works to address these inequities through our work with bilingual educators and the families of English Learner students:
  1. Fostering antiracist mindsets through ideological clarity: the ability of teachers to identify deficit-based perspectives of emergent bilinguals and to develop asset-based frameworks and instructional approaches that help them teach in culturally responsive ways and that allow all students to thrive.
  2. Ensuring meaningful and authentic engagement with Spanish-speaking families: these family-school partnerships are essential for creating equitable bilingual programs and school systems for English Learners.
SEAL recognizes the relationship between language, race, and power and the ways in which many English Learners have been denied access to a quality education because of their language status, their racial/ethnic backgrounds, and limited access to power. There is much work to do when it comes to centering equity in bilingual education, and we expand more about our work in this blog.

We are extremely proud to see equity-focused bilingual programs grow in California after an almost 20-year ban. We know it can be done and stand ready to partner to keep the focus on equity in bilingual education.

Antilinguicist Schools, Antilinguicist Systems

SEAL’s recently published chapter called, “Antilinguicist Schools, Antilinguicist Systems”, describes how linguicism operates in schools, its harmful impacts on DLLs and ELs, and SEAL’s approach to addressing it. Like racism, linguicism reproduces inequalities between groups of people; however, linguicism does this on the basis of language. It grows out of racist ideologies and is reinforced by them. For example, when a teacher sees her brown-skinned students who have recently immigrated from Latin America as entering the classroom with “no language.” To foster antilinguicist schools and systems, SEAL works with educators at the classroom, school and district level to explore the intersections between language, race and power, and to cultivate assets-based beliefs, policies and practices so that multilingual learners can thrive in their schools. This published chapter was co-authored by several current and former SEAL staff members, including Joanna Meadvin, Adriana Diaz, Guadalupe Diaz, Anya Hurwitz, Martha I. Martinez, Corina Sapien, and Corey Weschler.


SEAL in the Field


Full Model Training

The SEAL team was back to training in the field! The work spanned LA to San Rafael (with significant time spent in the Central Valley), and included four preschool cohorts, three TK-3rd grade cohorts, and five 4th-6th grade cohorts. Many of these trainings were adopted and modified to make up for challenging schedules, substitute shortages, and teacher needs in the face of the ongoing effects of Covid 19. After a year of virtual training, it was heartwarming and impactful to be back in person!

SEAL Joins the One Million Teachers of Color Coalition

The research is clear that all students benefit from working with teachers of color, especially students of color. For Black students, having just one Black teacher in elementary school can improve their lives far into adulthood.
Yet across the country, teachers don’t look like the students they serve. While 53 percent of students in the United States identify as people of color, 80 percent of teachers are white, as are 78 percent of principals. And 40 percent of public schools don’t have a single teacher of color.
Every discussion about educator diversity must include bilingual teachers. We support the movement to ensure our nation’s educator workforce is more racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse just like our student population.
That is why SEAL joined the One Million Teachers of Color Coalition, a national coalition committed to creating an educator workforce that more closely resembles the students it serves. By improving how educators are recruited and retained, the coalition’s goal is to grow the number of teachers of color by one million and the number of leaders of color to 30,000 by 2030.
We look forward to working with this coalition to build an excellent and diverse educator workforce that both reflects and supports all students. We’ll be releasing a blog this month with our fellow coalition member, Latinos for Education, that will highlight the importance of including bilingual teachers in this conversation.

Educator Webinar on Resources for Supporting PreK – 3rd Grade Multilingual Children!

In the Spring, SEAL and Early Edge California partnered to present a three-part webinar series for PreK-3rd grade educators of Multilingual Learners (MLs). These sessions highlighted three of the key instructional strategy areas featured in the Multilingual Learning Toolkit:
  1. Family engagement
  2. Supporting ML’s oral language development
  3. Supporting ML’s home language development
The Toolkit is an online hub featuring a vetted selection of research-based resources and best practices specifically for educators, administrators, and teacher education faculty whose work supports young Multilingual Learners. It is the result of a collaborative effort that includes researchers, practitioners, advocacy organizations, state agencies, and philanthropic organizations from California and across the nation.
We recorded all webinars so educators everywhere can access them.

Advocacy Day in Sacramento

Last month SEAL Executive Director, Anya Hurwitz, participated in a successful advocacy day at the Capitol with our partners Californians Together (CalTog) and California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) where we advocated for our legislative and budget priorities. We had the opportunity to meet with the Governor’s Office, legislative offices and State Board of Education staff.
We can’t stress enough the need for the renewal of funding for the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program, which uses a “grow your own” approach to address the bilingual teacher shortage by allowing local education agencies to apply for funds to provide learning opportunities to increase the number of bilingual authorized teachers. Learn more in our new policy brief that discusses the finding of our Oak Grove/SEAL Bilingual Teacher grant project. 

Leveraging Elementary Academic Text to Deepen Language Proficiency Webinar

On May 10, 2022 we partnered with Californians Together to host an EL RISE! webinar on how elementary school teachers can leverage academic texts to deepen their English Learners’ language proficiency. This two-hour webinar was embedded with pre-session work and follow-up application that equipped teachers to select high-quality mentor texts in order to build students’ ability to effectively express themselves in written and oral formats. The teachers who attended learned how to guide their students to make effective meaning by analyzing texts and text excerpts for critical text features.


The SEAL Program Team was honored to present NINE workshops at this year’s CABE 2022 Conference: Stand Up! Get Up! For Biliteracy and Multilingual Rights! The conference was held virtually from March 29 to April 2, 2022.
Here were the sessions we conducted:
  1. World in the Classroom: Honoring Students’ and Teachers’ Identities and Experiences
  2. Lead for Equity: The Power of Dual Language Programs
  3. Coaching: The Essential Role to Enact Powerful, Lasting Reform
  4. Tools and Techniques for Planning Responsive DELD Lessons
  5. ¡El Tiempo es Ahora! / The Time is Now! Empower Yourself – Advocate for Dual Language Programs
  6. ¡Taller para padres!
  7. Designated and Integrated ELD: Using Language Functions as a Bridge
  8. Supporting DLLs in PreK & TK
  9. Calling all Parents & Guardians!
If you attended any of these sessions – THANK YOU!
Save the Date! Join us at CABE next year March 22-25, 2023 in Long Beach!


We are proud to share that Dr. Martha I. Martinez, SEAL – Sobrato Early Academic Language’s Director of Research & Evaluation, presented SEAL research, Creating a Third Space in Distance Learning for English Learners in Kindergarten, at the 2022 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting!
Congratulations, Martha! This is truly a testament to Dr. Martinez’s valued expertise and work at SEAL.

Professional Development Offerings

Teacher Preparation

SEAL has created, and piloted in partnership with San Jose State and Oak Grove School District, a series of six Teacher Preparation Learning Cycles. The cycles are meant to close the gap between theory learned in the university classroom and clinical practice. Through these cycles, teacher candidates learn how to enact ELL best practices with SEAL’s research-based strategies. The Learning Cycles are inquiry-based and designed to engage candidates with their mentors in continuous reflection over the course of their preparation year.

SEAL’s Powerful Professional Learning for Dual Language Program Leaders & Teachers

SEAL (Sobrato Early Academic Language) is a powerful English Learner-focused approach to education rooted at the intersection of research and educational equity. Since 2008, SEAL has partnered with dozens of districts to provide comprehensive professional development to school district leaders, principals, and teachers.
Dual Language programs are uniquely poised to have meaningful and substantive impact on educational equity for English Learners, providing both access to intellectually rich, high quality instruction, and affirming, inclusive school environments.
SEAL’s professional development ignites changes in systems and practices that support language development, literacy, and engaging, joyful learning— for English Learners, and ALL students. We are especially thrilled to share our plans to expand our Dual Language Program professional learning offerings to school leaders and teachers of Preschool through 6th-grade settings.
Dual Language Teacher Pedagogy Series
The DL Teacher Pedagogy Series is a comprehensive two-year professional development series on pedagogy and classroom strategies for biliteracy, bilingualism for DL teachers and coaches. There will be a series of virtual learning sessions and twice yearly in-person Bilingual Convenings to learn about best practices for DL classrooms. The content will ground educators in bilingual pedagogy, the three pillars of DL, how to strategically coordinate and scaffold authentic literacy instruction in both languages, capitalizing on transfer, cross-language connections and the power of the bilingual brain. Participants will also engage in professional learning around implementing effective Designated ELD within a DL classroom, and how to leverage and celebrate students and families cultural and linguistic assets.
Dual Language Leadership Series
The DL Leadership Series for administrators, coaches, and teacher leads is designed to support the design, planning, improvement, implementation and sustainability of high-quality DL programs. Participants will explore a variety of topics as they develop their site/district action plan, particularly with equity, continuous improvement and collaboration in mind. The series includes virtual sessions and twice-yearly Bilingual Convenings. Participants will also have access to all the teacher sessions.
Technical Assistance
Paired with the DL Leadership Series, SEAL provides an additional layer of support through our deeper, customized one-on-one engagements with our Bilingual Consulting Team. We meet with administrators or DL leadership teams to assess the types and depth of services required, develop an individualized district/site plan, and then engage in the required professional learning and thought-partnering to create, grow, or improve existing bilingual programs.
For pricing, questions, or more information, please contact Corina Sapien at Corina@seal.org.

English Learner Advocacy Institute 2022

November 10-13, 2022, Pomona, CA
Applications deadline: June 30, 2022
Are you passionate about creating a more equitable education system for English learners? Californians Together invites mid-career professionals to apply to this extraordinary, four-day professional development event for selected education leaders and advocates for quality education for English Learners. This is a fully-funded event (materials, meals, lodging), with support available as needed for transportation. Applications will be competitive, as capacity for this event is limited.
The institute will be based on design and materials developed for the English Learner Leadership and Legacy Initiative (ELLLI) including the case studies outlined in A Legacy of Courage and Activism: stories from the movement toward educational equity and access for English learners in California by Dr. Laurie Olsen.
Those who complete the four days will become part of an expanding community of ELLLI advocates, along with other mid-career professionals and veteran EL advocates from across the state working to impact state-wide policy and practice in fostering quality education for English learners and multilingual learners in California.
For more information, please contact Ruth Barajas, Project Director at ruth@caltog.org

Welcome to SEAL

Jacqui Frankle, Program Support Assistant

Jacqui works with the Program Team to coordinate the administrative and logistical pieces of SEAL’s work. Jacqui brings nearly a decade of relevant experience working with educators from across the country. Most recently, Jacqui was responsible for event coordination, marketing support, and social media in the educational non-profit arena. She is committed to supporting SEAL’s work to bring equity and quality instruction to the classroom.

Julia Fajardo, Program Support Assistant

Julia joined the SEAL team in April 2022. She received her BA degree in Communication with an emphasis in Digital Media from Saint Mary’s College of California. Before joining the SEAL team as the program support assistant, she previously worked coordinating the administrative, virtual event planning, and marketing in the mental health space. Growing up in a family of educators, Julia continues to be an advocate for educational equality and quality instruction in the classroom.