Monthly Happenings: March 2019

Updates from IDOE's English Learner Team

A New Look...

As you can tell, our Monthly Happenings Newsletter has a new look. We are excited to be able to provide a cleaner, more dynamic newsletter for you each month via SMORE. By clicking the "Follow" button at the top of the screen (on the web version), you will be added to our mailing list. You will then receive Monthly Happenings newsletters directly via email. Feel free to reach out with any ideas of information, resources, guidance, etc. that you'd like us to highlight on a monthly basis.

The IDOE ELME Website

Bookmark the IDOE English Learning and Migrant Education website! Along with new Monthly Happenings, we continue to make improvements to our website in order for it to serve as a resource hub for the state. Like before, you will be able to find upcoming English Learning-related PD opportunities on our Professional Learning and Resources page. Stay tuned for information on our 2019 EL Summer PD Roadshow!

Next EL Leadership Meeting (in-person)

Wednesday, April 10th, 10am-1pm

4501 East 32nd Street

Indianapolis, IN

Our next EL Leadership Meeting, which will take place at Indianapolis Public Schools, is right around the corner. Mark your calendars, and we hope to see you there!

Congratulations to Hamilton Southeastern Schools, the 2018-2019 Title III Distinguished Indiana District!

The Indiana Department of Education has announced the recipient of the 2018-2019 Title III Distinguished Indiana School District Award. Hamilton Southeastern Schools was chosen to receive this distinction for demonstrating a commitment to English Learner success through strategic programming, rigorous instruction, inclusive school culture, and beneficial partnerships with families and the community.

“I applaud the dedicated work of the students, families, staff, and communities of Hamilton Southeastern Schools,” said Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction.“Under the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Allen Bourff and Director Danielle Riego, Hamilton Southeastern Schools represents the vision of working together for student success by ensuring English Learners, and all children, have opportunities to succeed.”

Hamilton Southeastern Schools was selected after a review of English Learner performance data from all public-school districts and charter schools, followed by a two-part interview process, including an on-site visit.

WIDA ACCESS Pre-Reporting Validation

The Pre-Reporting Data Validation Window for ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs opens on Monday, March 25, and closes on Friday, March 29. The data validation process is designed to identify student demographic, accommodation, and test result records that could potentially contain errors, as well as provide the opportunity for corrective action before reporting.


Reports are generated following the close of the Data Validation Window. After the close of your Data Validation Window, districts and schools WILL NOT have another opportunity to edit student data prior to reports being printed or posted to WIDA AMS.


Test Coordinators will need to reference the WIDA AMS User Guide Supplement: Data Validation located in the Download Library on the WIDA Secure Portal. You can also view the webinar by accessing the training webinars and Q&A sessions schedule posted in the WIDA Secure Portal.

New TransACT Features

A new feature has been added to the TransACT Parent Notices site. The new feature allows basic users to add other educators with a valid district (or state) email address as basic users. This will take some pressure/responsibility off of district account administrators and help create a means for easier access to TransACT Parent Notices.


If you have not yet set up an account in TransACT, an online library of parent notifications and forms in multiple languages to assist public schools in compliance with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), see our account set-up quick start guide.

RESOURCE: Ed. Dept. Toolkit Offers Guidance for English Learner, Immigrant Parents

Click here to read about a new resource released from the U.S. Department of Education. The first two chapters of the new English Learner Family Toolkit have been released. They cover enrolling students in school and a look at how schools in the United States might differ. Ensuing chapters will focus on key issues surround EL parents and families, such as helping students with schoolwork at home. Also included in the article is a link to Colorin Colorado's guide to supporting immigrant students and families. SOURCE: Education Week, "Learning the Language" series.

A Closer Look: Academic Conversations

Chapter 5 of Academic Conversations: Classroom Talk That Fosters Critical Thinking and Content Understandings by Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford is key to implementing meaningful academic conversations within the classroom. It discusses how to train students for in-depth conversations across subject and grade levels. The following list covers suggested areas in which to train students...


  1. Train students to take conversation to more academic levels.
  2. Train students to facilitate conversations in teacher-like ways.
  3. Train students in different types of academic conversation.
  4. Train students to perceive when their listeners don’t understand.
  5. Train students to ask useful questions.
  6. Train students to negotiate meaning.
  7. Train students to encourage and compliment.
  8. Train students to maintain logical flow, connections, and depth of thought.
  9. Train students to recognize that an abstract idea needs support, elaboration, and/or examples.
  10. Train students to be leaders and team players.
  11. Train students to think and talk like experts.


Chapter 5 also features a section that lists obstacles and possible solutions for students when an academic conversation deteriorates or gets off-track.

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IDOE's English Learner Team

Valerie Beard
Assistant Director of English Learners and Migrant Education Programs
(317) 232-0558
vbeard@doe.in.gov


Nicole Leach
Dual Language Immersion and English Learner Specialist
(317) 232-0572
nleach@doe.in.gov


Adam Pitt
English Learner Specialist
(317) 234-7168
apitt@doe.in.gov


Georgina Schneider
English Learner Specialist
(317) 234-7785
gschneider@doe.in.gov