For the past fifteen years, school districts in Massachusetts have operated under restrictions that inhibited bilingual education, despite growing evidence that native language instruction supports English language development and academic achievement for English Learners.
With the LOOK Act on the books, we are entering a new era in EL education. What possibilities does this open up for educating EL students in their native language? And what can we learn from the experience before and after Question 2 restricted bilingual education in Massachusetts?
At the MATSOL conference, we will all find out!
Maria Estela Brisk
Keynoter Maria Estela Brisk will speak on “Learning from the Past, Moving to the Future: The LOOK Act – An Opportunity for Quality Education,” on the first day of the conference, Wednesday, May 29.
“I’ve worked with MATSOL a long time, and many members are my students,” she says. “In all those years without bilingual education, MATSOL members have been amazing advocates. You have kept the flame alive.”
In the new environment since the LOOK Act passed, Professor Brisk believes, ESL teachers can lead the way—and ELL students will benefit.
The following information was shared in the Commissioner’s Weekly Update on November 16, 2018:
Reminder on Creating New English Learner Education Programs and Available Grants:
Department encourages districts to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the Language Opportunity for Our Kids (LOOK) Act to offer new programs to meet English learners’ linguistic and academic needs. The Department’s Office of Language Acquisition has extended the deadline to submit preliminary proposals to December 21 in order to give districts more time to plan. The office will review preliminary proposals in two business days and will help districts finalize their complete proposals by January 1. More information, including a quick reference guide on “Starting a New English Learner Education Program”, is available at the same link.
Two competitive grants to plan for implementation of new English learner education programs are available for districts that have more than 1,500 English learners and for districts serving Gateway cities.
The Department will hold webinars on at 3:00 p.m. Monday, November 19 and at 11 a.m. Tuesday, December 11 to share information about the proposal process and grants. Any district that is planning to propose a new English learner education program or would like to learn more about the opportunity is encouraged to participate if they did not participate in the earlier webinar. Registration is open online.
LOOK Act Implementation Documents
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has posted documents related to LOOK Act implementation in the English Language Learners section of the website:
In Resources: http://www.doe.mass.edu/ell/resources.html
- ELE Program Proposal Reference Guide & Proposal Forms
- Parent information in multiple languages:
- District Response to ELE Program Transfer Request
- ELPAC Information for Parents
- Parent Notification Regarding English Language Education
- English Language Education (ELE) Program Placement
In Guidance: http://www.doe.mass.edu/ell/guidance/default.html
- Guidance for English Learner Parent Advisory Councils
English Learner Education Updates
Update from the Commissioner to the Board of Education, Oct 30, 2018: http://www.doe.mass.edu/bese/docs/fy2019/2018-10/item5.html (Scroll to the PPT flie at teh bottom of the page.
- New process for starting ELE programs
- Training and Technical Assistance
- State Seal of Biliteracy
- Bilingual Education Endorsement
- Seal of Biliteracy
Seal of Biliteracy Criteria
The Commissioner has announced his decision regarding the levels and criteria for the State Seal of Biliteracy, establishing a two tiered award, the Seal of Biliteracy and the Seal of Biliteracy with Distinction, starting at a minimum of Intermediate-High level on the ACTFL proficiency guidelines for world languages. Read the statement form the Language Opportunity Coalition’s statement and plans to support additional “pathway” awards at the local level.
Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project: 2019 Data Report
The Language Opportunity Coalition published a report on the third and final year of the Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project in Massachusetts. View report…