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Community Support for English Learners

by Andi Diaz on June 5, 2019

Community support can play a huge role in how school programs evolve over time. Buy-in can make all the difference for whether a program stays around long enough to produce the results wanted in a school population.

The Chicago community reacted positively to the programs set in place that serve Belmont-Cragin’s English learners. At Belmont-Cragin, where 68 percent of students are English language learners, Principal Stacy Stewart was proactive in finding a literacy program that would help accelerate biliteracy in her school.



Istation Español, which was implemented a few years back, builds on studies that show students must first master literacy in their native language before doing so in English. Therefore, the program is not a translation tool but is designed by Spanish-language educators, with all materials — including assessments — in Spanish. It also includes Spanish culture and literature.

“Once we understood key priorities and the resources available, it was very simple to leverage the technology to accelerate biliteracy in the school,” Stewart said. “If it’s used with fidelity, you see progress every day with students moving across tiers.”

The community has reacted positively in a number of ways. The Office of Language and Culture has given support by providing a dedicated teacher at each school to encourage putting instructional models in place.

Professional development for teachers and staff has been a game changer. Groups of teachers are able to visit and observe at other schools in the district quarterly. A quarterly Saturday professional development session is also available to teachers.

The schools offer after-school opportunities to English learners as well as multiple ways to assess literacy during the day in the classroom. Stewart talks about the positive reaction from the Chicago community in the short video above.

Read the full story of how Stewart's school leveraged technology to accelerate student achievement.

Find out more about Istation’s intervention and blended learning tool available to English learners and Dual-Language students. Download the FREE guide by clicking the button below!

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Topics: Dual Language