From the Executive Director

Dear Partners,

In our last newsletter, I shared that I’d be treating the reprieve of the summer as a gift. I am so grateful to have had time with my family and friends near and far. As we enter another school year, I hope each of you got the radical rest you all deserve.

While summers tend to be a little less hectic at SEAL, we were still busy planning and preparing for another school year focused on serving you, the powerful educators, advocates, and leaders working to center the assets and needs of our multilingual learners. This summer we welcomed six new SEAL team members who embody the values and bold leadership needed to partner with educators and transform practice and systems. These individuals, each with their own unique experiences inside and outside of the classroom, will help us chart the course for SEAL’s future.

And the future at SEAL will always be grounded in transforming classrooms so Dual Language/English Learners and all students thrive. We’re taking you on that transformational journey with our upcoming case studies series, highlighting the incredible work of three school districts’ implementation of SEAL. What’s refreshing about these case studies is that we hear direct quotes from teachers and parents. These are powerful stories, lifting up the experiences of communities doing the hard and transformational work of educational equity, and they unpack the influence and impact SEAL is having on their teaching and students.

Please connect with us on TwitterLinkedIn or Facebook to follow the release of our case study series over the coming months.

In Partnership,

Dr. Anya Hurwitz

*NEW* Case Studies Series to Inspire Better EL Learning

Inspiration from Three School Districts Successfully Implementing SEAL

We’re excited to announce that over the next three months we’re telling the stories of three dynamic school districts that paved the way to implement SEAL: Oak Grove School District, Redwood City School District, and Mountain View School District. Authored by Social Policy and Research Associations, our first case study features the Oak Grove School District, which adopted SEAL in 2013 after broader education policy shifts led district leaders to create a new approach to educating EL students.

The case studies offer critical learnings from the districts’ implementation experiences, outcomes for schools and students, plus considerations for other school districts and policymakers looking to bring forth transformational equity-focused educational change. They accompany our 2021 evaluation study by Loyola Marymount University’s Center for Equity for English Learners (CEEL), in partnership with the Wexford Institute, which determined SEAL improved teaching practices and SEAL English Learners demonstrated stronger engagement as well as positive language development and academic outcomes.

Each of the case studies include detailed examples of:

  • Districts’ approaches to getting buy-in from teachers and school leaders
  • Funding the initiative
  • Providing ongoing professional development
  • Specific school examples of SEAL instructional practices and outcomes

Finally, as part of this series SEAL is releasing Overview: The SEAL Model and Its Implementation Across Three Exemplar Districts. The Overview is perfect for anyone looking to get an introduction to SEAL, including its origin story, central design principles, staffing, professional development structure, and highlights from its pilot and expansion efforts.

Connect with us on TwitterLinkedIn or Facebook to follow the release of our case study series over the coming months.

Read Case Studies

BTPDP Policy Brief Now Available!

Read our findings in our latest 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.

This brief contains background on the Oak Grove/SEAL Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program (BTPDP) project and how it 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.

Click here to learn more

More on the Oak Grove/SEAL BTPDP! This article by Martha I. Martínez, Ph.D., SEAL and Guadalupe Díaz Lara, Ph.D., California State University, Fullerton, was featured in the March 2022 issue of CABE’s Multilingual Educator magazine.

SEAL in the Field

SEAL’s Session with Oak Grove School District at the California Latino School Boards Association (CLSBA) 

Jorge Pacheco Jr. President of the California Latino School Boards Association, Trustee of the Oak Grove School District, Public School Teacher; Amy Boles, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, OGSD; SEAL Executive Director Anya Hurwitz

On August 26, SEAL and Oak Grove School District leadership led a conference session at CLSBA titled “Effective leadership, Good Governance, and Partnerships: How the SEAL model facilitates joyful learning for Dual Language Learners/English Learners” where they highlighted how the district embraced, adopted and adapted the SEAL model. They shared how the district strengthened the implementation, alignment, and sustainability of the SEAL model within and across multiple school sites by prioritizing teacher voice, collaboration and professional development, expanding SEAL into the upper elementary grades, and focusing on family partnership. All of this can be found in our new Oak Grove School District Case Study, the first of three case studies authored by Social Policy and Research Associates.

Read Oak Grove Case

Demonstration Site Visit

This 2022-23 school year, SEAL is back to providing demonstration site visits for educators, policymakers, and community members. We are excited to open SEAL classrooms to continue to show the field what asset and research-based, joyful learning can and should be when we center multilingual learners in our educational systems. Fill out this form if you would like to attend an upcoming demonstration visit in San Jose or Los Angeles.

CTC FEEDBACK on the P-3 ECE Specialist Credential

One of SEAL’s newest team members, Senior Program Specialist Karen Salinas Ascencio, submitted written commentary advocating for more explicit inclusion of home language as an asset, bilingualism, biliteracy, and family partnerships at the August 26th California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) meeting. Tune in for the upcoming meeting in October as commissioners will continue discussions and listen to community input on the new PK-3 Early Childhood Education Specialist Instruction Credential. For a quick overview of the August meeting read CSBA’s blog update.

Summer Learning Lab: The English Learner Roadmap in Action

In June, the first cohort of K-6 educators participated in the Summer Learning Lab, an intensive 10-day professional learning opportunity designed by SEAL and a partnership with Californians Together as part of EL RISE! The cohort of 25 from El Grove School District included teachers, coaches, and administrators who spent time together putting their ELR principles into action. Co-teaching and planning allowed teachers to try new strategies while observing and supporting each other to build a shared understanding of implementing English learner strategies.  While the Summer Learning Lab does serve as an academic enrichment for students, it is primarily designed to serve as high-quality professional development for teachers. EL RISE! Is an Educator Workforce Investment Grant by the California Department of Education that supports the implementation and builds the professional capacity of educators across the state on the California English Learner Roadmap (ELR) policy.

Stay tuned for more updates on our EL RISE! professional development series. For questions, please contact Charice Guerra.

SEAL Trainer, Patricia Montes Pate, modeling the strategy of Deconstructing Text from their Dialogic Read Aloud for the Elk Grove staff and Sacramento County Office Partners.

SEAL Shares Best Practices at California Department of Education Webinar

On August 18, SEAL joined Fresno County Superintendent of Schools and Family Biliteracy for the California Department of Education’s (CDE) webinar: Multilingual Support Strategies for Young Learners in Preschool through 3rd Grade. Panelists shared best practices to support educators in their work to meet the needs of multilingual learners and English learners across preschool through third grade settings. To receive CDE news related to P-3 initiative and to ensure you receive updates about future webinars, email “subscribe” to

Project PEARLL Is Underway!

SEAL is participating in Project PEARLL, 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. An application process has been underway and approximately 45 teachers across eleven schools were selected to participate. Project PEARLL will provide a comprehensive, research and evidence-based Professional Learning (PL) program for district and school leaders, coaches, teachers, and families to improve learning environments and classroom instruction for ELs, assisting educators who work with ELs in meeting high professional standards and preventing Long Term English Learner status by improving student language and literacy achievement. Learn more about the PEARLL in this update and this EdSource article.

Merced Professional Learning Series

We recently kicked-off the one year Merced Professional Learning Series: Centering English Learners in the Classroom with the Merced County Office of Education (MCOE). In an inspirational and joy filled day, more than 40 teachers, district administrators, coaches and MCOE staff joined us to begin the journey of mutual commitment and collective learning for the success of our English Learners and their families in K-3. This series is designed around four topic driven cycles of learning, practice, and reflection. At the end of the series, participants gain a deeper understanding of the research and best practices that help to interrupt the long-term English Learner cycle by leveraging their strengths and centering their needs in the classroom. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with MCOE.

Upcoming Events

See you at Ed Trust–West’s Education Equity Forum 2022

SEAL is excited to present at Ed Trust–West’s upcoming Education Equity Forum 2022 on Tuesday, September 20, 2022. Our session titled “The Importance of Professional Learning for Early Care Educators that Centers the Needs of DLLs” will be delivered by Dr. Martha I. Martinez, SEAL’s Senior Director of Research & Evaluation and Karen Ascencio, SEAL’s Senior Program Specialist. This session will focus on SEAL’s work with early childhood educators to better serve dual language learners (DLLs) and their families and share key findings from our work that highlight the urgent need for DLL-focused professional development.

This forum will sell out fast. Register for Ed Trust–West’s Education Equity Forum TODAY!

CS Fundamentals

We NEED schools in CA to center multilingual learners in their Community Schools approach!! This Workshop, coming to a region near you, can help: Community Schools Fundamentals Workshops (Sac, San Jose, San Diego, and Fresno)

California is investing billions in Community Schools efforts. Here is an opportunity to identify your community school muscles, strengths and opportunities with your team in real time!  Learn how you can center the assets and needs of multilingual learners, families, and multilingual practices in Community Schools approaches.

Join the CA Community Schools Learning Exchange, the National Center for Community Schools and their partners for a two-day event specifically designed for district, school, COE, and community partner teams to level set, identify collaboration opportunities, and build upon new and existing strategies for student success. These workshops are for everyone – current and future grantees.

Join a workshop near you:

Register Now

WEBINAR! EL RISE! Develop a District-Wide English Learner Master Plan

This two-session interactive institute happening on October 18, 2022, and November 2, 2022, will help LEA teams create a plan to develop a district-wide English Learner Master Plan aligned to the research-based California English Learner Roadmap policy. Participants will receive resources included in the Center for Equity for English Learners’ English Learner Master Plan Playbook to develop a strategy for beginning or refining their approach to writing their EL Master Plan. Alignment with EL Roadmap principles and elements will be highlighted.

Click here to register

SEAL Joins the National Committee for Effective Literacy

We are proud to announce that we are part of a national effort that centers on evidence-based literacy for multilingual learners. The National Committee for Effective Literacy (NCEL) is made up of researchers, teachers, educators, administrators, school board members and advocates from across the nation with expertise in literacy and the education of emergent bilingual/multilingual students. Visit NCEL to learn more and join efforts to uplift research, policies and practices so that all students are taught literacy based on their identified strengths and needs.

Effective Literacy Podcast

To better understand the research and what works regarding reading pedagogy and literacy, join hosts Victoria and Anna, two educators passionate about all things literacy, along with expert guests and industry friends, in a deep-dive investigation into what literacy is, and how the students within the US education system could be better serviced when it comes to modern literacy methods. They interview experts from across the nation with extensive knowledge in literacy and discuss how best to support our students, specifically our multi-lingual learners, in becoming literate individuals by the time they graduate. New episodes will be released on the first and third Monday of each month.

Hear Podcast Episodes

WEBINAR: Effective Literacy Instruction for Multilingual Learners

Hear our own Dr. Laurie Olsen present about effective literacy for English Learners! On Wednesday, September 21 from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m., join the National Committee on Effective Literacy (NCEL), in collaboration with the U.S. Education Department’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) and the National Association of English Learner Program Administrators (NAELPA) for a webinar with panelists discussing best practices and leadership actions to promote effective literacy programs that honor the multilingual brain and leverage the linguistic and cultural assets of multilingual learners. Don’t miss this great speaker line up. Register HERE.

If you have questions in advance of the webinar, please send them to: and insert the webinar title into the subject line.

Click here to register

SEAL in the News!

Reading, math scores fell sharply during pandemic, national study shows

This article from Texas newspaper The Eagle reports on a new federal study revealing decline of math and reading scores for America’s nine-year-olds and highlights what schools around the country are doing to combat learning loss. SEAL is highlighted for our efforts to help bilingual educators in California.

Read more

Dual-immersion programs show promise in fighting enrollment declines

In this EdSource article by Zaidee Stavely, we read encouraging news that dual-language immersion programs “are so much in demand that some school districts have been able to stop declining enrollment or even grow enrollment in a school by beginning a dual-language program.” Three of our SEAL partner districts are featured in this article: Berryessa Union School District, Franklin-McKinely School District, and Newark Unified School District.

Read more

Frustration after bilingual education bill dies in State Assembly

A bill that would have helped school districts open more dual-language immersion programs failed to pass the California State Assembly last month. Senate Bill 952 would have established a program to offer at least 20 school districts technical assistance and grants of up to $750,000 each to expand or establish dual-language immersion programs. In this EdSource article by Zaidee Stavely, SEAL Executive Director, Anya Hurwitz, delivers our statement that SB 952 would have been a step forward to realizing the promise of an equity-focused multilingual educational system.

Read more

Welcome to SEAL

Karen Ascencio

Karen Ascencio joins us as Senior Program Specialist. Karen has been in the field of education for over 30 years. Her primary focus has been on early learning in the classroom and administration. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development, a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, a Child Development Program Director Permit, and a CTE Credential in Education, Child Development, and Family Services. Learn more.

Patricia E. Chavez

Patricia E. Chavez joins us as Head of External Relations to lead SEAL’s communications efforts and serve as a thought partner on strategy, communications, and effective relationship building with leaders in the policy and advocacy space. With more than 25 years of experience, Patty has dedicated her career to building partnerships and public support on causes that facilitate community transformation.  Learn more.

Dr. Kentaro Iwasaki

Dr. Kentaro Iwasaki joins us as Head of Programs and will play a critical role in reimagining SEAL’s programmatic work in a way that responds to changed and shifting conditions in public education. He has a passion for personal, team, and systems-level change that stems from his own experiences of deep transformative growth in public education.  Learn more.

Molly Moyer

Molly Moyer joins us as a Program Specialist with over ten years of experience working with diverse students and teachers in grades PK-5 where she demonstrated success in developing the language, literacy, and numeracy skills of students while cultivating a rich classroom community. Learn more.

Cindy Tinajero

Cindy Tinajero joins us as a Program Specialist and is an award-winning bilingual social justice advocate with six years of teaching experience in diverse socio-economic communities. She earned her Master of Arts in Education in Reading & Literacy degree from Point Loma Nazarene University and her Bachelor of Arts in Business degree from California State University Bakersfield. Learn more.

Armando Zumaya

Armando Zumaya joins us as Head of Development and will lead SEAL’s fundraising, including overseeing the planning and implementation of a long-range fundraising plan. A 36-year nonprofit fundraising veteran, he has been published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Nonprofit Times, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Grassroots Fundraising Journal, Advancing Philanthropy, and other publications in the US, Canada, UK, South Africa and Mexico. Learn more.