Tina Cheuk, Project Manager of the initiative Understanding Language, sent out the following email regarding this new national initiative. For those working to implement Common Core State Standards, the work by Tina Cheuk, and co-chairs Kenji Hakuta and Maria Santos, will be essential to informing the work around CCSS and English language learners. More importantly, please be part of the discourse, and contribute to the thinking. Addressing the needs of English language learners inside of the CCSS will require a full-court press with the best minds and voices at the table.
I wanted to let you know of the launch of a new national initiative entitled Understanding Language <http://ell.stanford.edu/> . As you know, the Common Core State Standards have generated a tremendous amount of reform energy in education. This initiative seizes this moment to develop a new level of awareness about the role of language in understanding and displaying knowledge of academic content. We want to leverage this realization to improve academic outcomes, especially for English Language Learners but for all students, through better instructional practice and necessary policy supports at the state and local levels.
On the initiative website (URL: ell.stanford.edu <http://ell.stanford.edu/> ), you'll see our first step – an in-depth analysis of the language demands and opportunities contained in the new standards <http://www.corestandards.org> in English language arts and literacy, math, and the Next Generation Science Standards <http://www.nextgenscience.org/> . You can find papers by experts specially prepared for this initiative, and discussed at a national conference held at Stanford this past January. The main message is that language matters -- it has always mattered, but it matters especially so with the new standards. The implication is that content and language specialists need to collaborate to effectively educate ELLs, and we need to develop the necessary tools and systems to make this happen.
Practical guides will follow. The content and language partners on the Understanding Language team, collaborating with school districts and states through the Council of Great City Schools <http://www.cgcs.org/> and the Council of Chief State School Officers <http://www.ccsso.org/> , are taking the next step of identifying, developing, testing, and sharing exemplars of language-rich practices in the content areas. This next step for our initiative will be shared through this website in the upcoming months. And further steps are being taken to engage the education community with our resources and our message to create better supports at the federal, state, and local levels.
Please look through our foundational papers <http://ell.stanford.edu/papers> on this site, take advantage of our webinars <http://ell.stanford.edu/events> and feeds, and please collaborate with us. We hope to make this into an authentic online learning community. Please forward this resource to your colleagues.
Our first set of free online webinars <http://ell.stanford.edu/events> for 2012-2013 will be hosted on 4/19 and 4/26 (repeat sessions), led by Kenji Hakuta.