Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend the 4th Annual Tulsa ELD Summit and present on behalf of Ellevation to a group of 100+ dedicated ELD educators from across Oklahoma. Now that the summit is over, these educators are bringing best practices back to their district to better serve English Language Learners
Over the course of the two days, teachers had the opportunity to participate in high-quality break out sessions facilitated by Ellevation, Oklahoma State Department of Education, IDRA and other teachers. These sessions highlighted the innovative approaches being utilized across the State--such as using Imagine Learning to help struggling readers, creating a digital toolbox for the 1:1 Classroom, offering support and understanding opportunities for undocumented students, and of course implementing our very own Ellevation Inclass to create a schoolwide culture for ELL success--that are directly helping ELLs achieve their highest aspirations.
One observation I had at the Summit was that the student population continues to become more diverse. Nationwide, about one in eight students are ELLs and that number is projected to become one in four students. For some districts the ELL population may be small, but other districts have seen their ELL population double over the span of just a few years. While meeting with the Title III Department from the State of Oklahoma, it was interesting to hear that letters from the state are only generated in three languages (Spanish, Vietnamese and Russian) yet there is a large Somali population in Oklahoma City and a growing Burmese population in Guymon, OK.
Another item of note that was shared at the Summit was that dual language programs can officially continue in Oklahoma. Both Tulsa Public Schools and Oklahoma City Public Schools have thriving dual language programs! In 2010, Oklahoma passed a bill making English the official language of the state. During the most recent legislative session, Senate Bill 522 aimed to eliminate dual language in schools. The bill did not pass and dual language programs are scheduled to continue to serve ELLs in Oklahoma. This news thrilled Tulsa Public Schools because of the positive impact that this program has had on students.
During our presentation about innovative ways to reach ELLs, it was great confirmation to hear from educators how much they like the Ellevation platform and its intuitive design. Equally as notable, the buzz around InClass and Monitoring was electrifying! Teachers left excited about how these tools could transform the communication and collaboration around systematically planning for long-term ELL success.
It was an honor to be invited to present at this summit and we enjoyed connecting with such a passionate group of educators!