More than 500 principals and superintendents from throughout the county
heard from colleagues who’ve had success in raising achievement among
English Learners at the October 20 Superintendents’ Achievement Gap Task
Force Forum at the San Diego Convention Center.
Task Force Chair and San Diego Unified School District Superintendent
Bill Kowba told the participants that five keys to raising English
Learners’ achievement and closing the gap in achievement between
students of different ethnic and income groups were:
- Access to rigorous courses and high expectations for all students;
- Coherent instructional models, using common language and common norms of practice throughout the school district;
- Knowing every student and their needs, and having systems to monitor their progress;
- Building systems that support both students and teachers, so
teachers have the skills to accelerate student achievement, and there
are systems that accelerate achievement versus remediating skills.
The Forum was titled “Building Systems to Support Our English Learners,”
and featured five breakout sessions with presenters who’ve made
progress in their schools and districts in closing the achievement gap
and helping English Learners.
Those presentation topics and teams were:
- Pathways to Closing the Achievement Gap: Leadership & Systems
Change, featuring Chula Vista Elementary School District leaders John
Nelson, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services, Executive
Director for Language Acquisition Emma Sanchez, Chula Vista Learning
Community Charter School Director Jorge Ramirez, Heritage School
Principal Gloria Ciriza, and Harborside School Principal Laura
- Understanding the Differentiated Needs of English Learners,
featuring staff from the County Office of Education and members of the
Long Term English Learners Network: SDCOE Senior Director Monica Nava,
Director of Academic Achievement Tony Mora, Coordinator of Assessment
Karla Groth; and Long Term EL Network members Maritza Koeppen, Director
of Special Programs at San Marcos Unified S.D.; Brian Randall, Principal
of Woodland Park Middle School in San Marcos Unified; Manuel Zapata,
Career Tech/EL/ Academic Intervention Coordinator in the San Dieguito
Union High S.D.; and Luz Elena Perez, Literacy Specialist in the
Escondido Union High S.D.
- Accelerating the Learning of English Learners in Mathematics,
featuring Rancho Minerva Middle School/Vista Unified S.D. Principal
Steve Riehle and teachers, Cheree McKean, Tina Shinsato, Theresa Woodward.
- From API 1 to 7 in 3 Years, featuring San Diego Unified Garfield
Elementary Principal Chip Dale and Garfield teachers Julie Best, Michel
Cazary, Yadira Llanes-Torres, and Joscelyn Love, and Early Literacy
Support staff Cathy Bradler, and former principal Chaz Moriarty.
- Building Capacity: High Academic Rigor and Personal Growth for All
Students, featuring San Marcos High Principal Julie Mottershaw and
Assistant Principals Tiffany Campbell-Cunefare and Chad McGough.