Language & Cultural Services

LCS Bulletin - September 19, 2016

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Can Do Descriptors: A Free Tool for ELL Differentiation

by Jennifer Gonzalez

Every year, in classrooms all over the country, the population of English language learners continues to grow. Depending on where you live and how far along your school’s ESL program is, you may have to figure out how to help non-English speaking students participate in your class, even if you have no ESL training yourself.

Sadly, many teachers in this situation will just have these students sit there, watching as their classmates engage in learning activities. Or we might give students a coloring page, just so they have something to do with their hands. It’s not even close to ideal—we know this—but with no other tools at our disposal, what else is there?

In an earlier post, I shared 12 strategies regular classroom teachers can use to support ESL students in their classrooms. If you haven’t read that, definitely check it out. Since then, I have been shown one more tool that can make a huge difference for these students: the Can-Do Descriptors, downloadable for free from an organization called WIDA.

These descriptors are designed to help classroom teachers understand what students at different levels of English proficiency should be able to do in a regular content area classroom. The tasks are separated into four domains: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The descriptors can help you look at an activity you plan to do with your English-speaking students, then scale it back for ELL students so that they are still interacting with the academic content, just at a simplified level.

Check out how you can effectively use the Can Do descriptors to engage your English Learners in grade level learning experiences.

Invitation - Sugar Skulls and Candles: Ways of Remembering

From Cassie Nodine, Director of Holocaust Education with the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art

On behalf of the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, I would like to invite you and your students to participate in an upcoming art show titled “Sugar Skulls and Candles: Ways of Remembering.”

The exhibit, in conjunction with the Greater Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, will display local student and adult art which makes connections between two seemingly different cultures (Jewish and Hispanic) by comparing the similarities of how each honors and remembers those who have passed through art. The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art has a mission to curate exhibitions that not only share the rich history of Judaica, but also welcome other cultural groups in Tulsa to showcase their own cultures. “Sugar Skulls and Candles” is a continuation of outreach projects the SMMJA has completed with other cultural communities in Oklahoma that have included Native Americans, Muslims, and African Americans over the past few years.

Although not Holocaust-related, we hope you will consider infusing our art project into your curriculum. Please feel free to pass this along to your art, Spanish language, and ELL colleagues who may be interested in involving their students, as well.

All pieces are due by Friday, October 14.

Details are attached, and any questions can be directed to me or to our curator, Mickel Yantz, at

We look forward to showcasing your students’ art and partnering with you in the future.

Student show guidelines

Ellevation & Clever

The district has launched Clever, a new tool to support staff in logging on to various platforms. Collaborate, formerly InClass, is one of the platforms that staff can access through Clever if they are rostered to a student's schedule in PowerSchool. Remember that it will take 24 hours for rostered students to populate a teacher's class in Collaborate following their initial login to Clever.

ELD teachers should continue to log into the Ellevation platform directly in order to access information for all students.

Check out this great video that Adam Howard, ELD teacher at East Central High School, developed to support teachers logging into Clever to access Collaborate.

Below is another awesome video, compiled by Adam Howard, that gives teachers a quick 90 second overview of what Collaborate is and how it will help them as they serve the English Learners in their content classes.

ELLevation Teacher Introduction

10 New Ellevation Features Driven by ELL Educator Input

by Orion Smith

At Ellevation, Continuous Learning is a core value - and there is no better group to learn from than our partners. During this back to school season, we’re introducing several new features and updates that are a direct result of listening to their feedback. What tasks do you do over and over again that we can make faster and easier? What student data do you find yourself hunting for that we can surface? When do you find yourself saying “If only everyone in my district knew this,” where we can help spread the knowledge?

Find out what's new in Ellevation this year to support you in supporting your English Learners.

Comcast Scholarship Opportunity for High School Seniors

The League for United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) would like to share that its partner, Comcast, is accepting nominations for their Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program. If you work directly with students please consider nominating a current senior in high school for a chance to win $1,000. Last year, more than 1,000 scholarships were awarded to diverse students. The deadline for a complete submission is December 1, 2016. Please see the scholarship guide for more information.

OCR Language Assistance Services Training for SY 2016-2017

The annual training on OCR Language Assistance Services is now available through Edivate. This training is an annual requirement for all staff, certified and support, who serve parents or guardians who may have limited English proficiency. The training must be completed before October 1, 2016. Training may only be completed through the course in Edivate and course completion will only be recorded for those who register for the course using the course registration code located in the registration guide. We have created a step-by-step registration guide for the training course in Edivate. Please contact Laura Grisso with any related questions.
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OCR Interpreter and Translator Skill Building Training for SY 2016-2017

Training for interpreters and translators is required annually per the district's resolution agreement with the Office of Civil Rights regarding language assistance services.

Training for new interpreters and translators is hosted at Wilson Teaching and Learning Academy monthly. The in-person training schedule and registration information is posted in Edivate. Training for new interpreters and translators must be completed within four weeks of their testing appointment. Testing for new interpreters and translators can be scheduled by emailing a testing appointment request to

Training for continuing interpreters and translators is available in a video format on Edivate. Training for continuing interpreters and translators must be completed by October 1st, 2016. Training may only be completed through the course in Edivate and course completion will only be recorded for those who register for the course using the course registration code located in the registration guide. We have created a step-by-step registration guide for the online training course in Edivate.

Please contact the Palmira Saldivar or Zaida Kepford,, with any related questions.

Webinar: Enrolling Refugee Children in U.S. Schools

Presenter: Margaret MacDonnell, BRYCS Consultant; Jaime Duckett, LCSW-C, Children's Services Specialist, USCCB/MRS; Kate Walker, Director of Performance and Strategic Initiatives, Catholic Charities of Atlanta

Date: September 23, 2016

Time: 12:00pm CST

"He doesn't have a birth certificate."
"You have only lived in the U.S. for a couple of months."
"She is not the child's legal guardian."
"They don't have any previous educational documents."

This webinar will focus on the challenges of enrolling children into the local public school system and the current protections in place at the federal level such as Plyler v. Doe and the McKinney-Vento Act. Additional recommendations will be discussed.

Register here

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Oklahoma Association for Bilingual Education Fall 2016 Conference: Registration & Call for Presenters

The Oklahoma Association for Bilingual Education (OABE) will be hosting the Fall 2016 conference on Saturday, November 5th at Taft Middle School in Oklahoma City. The theme for this year's conference is "Language and Culture: A Winning Combination" and a variety of professional learning session, networking opportunities, and performances will make for a fabulous day of professional learning.

To submit a presentation proposal, please complete this form and email it to Kelly Forbes, president of OABE, by October 14th, 2016.

The Office of Language and Cultural Services will provide funding for conference registration and mileage for any Tulsa Public Schools staff member wishing to attend. Please complete and submit a PS10 and registration form to Laura Grisso by October 10th, 2016.

Missed a Department Meeting?

Missed a department meeting? Check out the agenda, resources, and information shared in the links below:

Elementary ELD Department Meetings

Secondary ELD Department Meetings

Language & Cultural Services Events

Week of September 19, 2016:

September 20, 8:30am - WAPT Training

September 20, 12:30pm - KWAPT Training

September 20, 3:45pm - ESL Certification Study Group (Elementary)

September 20, 4:45pm - ESL Certification Study Group (Secondary)

September 22, 4:00pm - Dual Language PLC

All events are listed in MyLearningPlan unless otherwise noted. Please pre-register and verify session location in MLP.

Check out the Language & Cultural Services events calendar for future events.