Supporting English Learners

April 2021

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This will be the LAST Newsletter for the 2020-21 school year! I will be going on maternity leave in April 2021. I wish you all nothing but a successful close to your school year and I look forward, with great anticipation for 2021-22 ! Thank you for ALL you do for English Learners in Kansas! See you all next school year!

Earth Day with ELs!

The whole basis of Earth Day is to teach about the importance of conserving resources and cutting back on waste. Teaching the three Rs—reduce, reuse and recycle—drives this point home in a way that's especially beneficial for English Learners: It provides essential vocabulary that's catchy and easy to remember., Colorin Colorado and Fluent U have some great resources to help support your students in learning about Earth Day on April 22.

42 of the Best Books for Celebrating Earth Day

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Monthly ESOL Webinar Dates!

April 27th

This final 2020-21 webinar will start at 9:00 am!

KELPA Updates!

KELPA Testing Window----- Closed

  • The window for hand scoring the speaking and writing items is by February 15—April 20, 2021, at 5:00 p.m.
    KELPA SC coding completed by April 16, 2021
  • Uploading of K and 1 writing responses due by April 20, 2021, at 5:00 p.m.
  • Those students who arrive after 4/01/20 exempted from ELA assessment, but they must take KELPA. No exemption in science or math.
Professional Development Videos

Videos from Confianza and Beth Skelton PD Series for 2020-21

Foundations of KELP Standards

This video will focus on understanding the organization of the KELP Standards, as well as understanding the foundations of the KELP Standards themselves.

Navigating the KELP Standards

This video will focus on navigating the 2018 Kansas English Language Proficiency (KELP) standards document as well as becoming more familiar with the components of the KELP standards.

6 Books to Further Your Summer, Personal Professional Development

Below are a few evidence-based books to help support English Learners in accessing the curriculum and become full participants in learning communities.

*These books are not endorsed by KSDE, but are simply recommendations*

NAELPA Update: Supporting ELs with ESSER - COVID-19 K-12 Relief Funds

The U.S. Congress has passed several Coronavirus relief funding bills over the past year. Each of these bills include funding for K-12 education and each bill includes statements of how these funds are to be used. Those statements include explicit wording that these funds can be used to address the unique needs of English learners (ELs) (a.k.a. multilingual learners) as one of the eligible 'at-risk' student populations that should be targeted, however, details of exactly how these funds can be used to support multilingual learners is not included in these funding bill.

In order to help answer the question of "How to use the COVID-19 relief funds to support multilingual learners?" NAELPA has prepared a short paper that you can access by clicking the button below. Learn more about supporting multilingual learners using the nearly $200 billion the US Congress has allocated for K-12 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds.

Using ESSER Funds

*Be sure to inquire with your district about how these funds might help propel your ESOL Programs forward!*

Adopt a Classroom Campaign for K-2

Lectura Books is launching a new campaign to provide one lucky classroom of students with a collection of books for home. Each student will receive 6 Leveled Readers in English or Spanish. Certified teachers can enter to win for their students. Certified K-2 teachers throughout the USA are eligible to sign up to win 6 FREE Leveled Readers for each of their students in English or Spanish. A winner will be announced on Easter Sunday, April 4th at 12:00 pm via email, twitter, Facebook. Forward this to your teacher friends!

Signup here!

Ellevation Education Scholarship Program

Ellevation has established a scholarship program to assist students who plan to continue their education in college or vocational school programs.

The program is administered by Scholarship America®, the nation’s largest designer and manager of scholarship, tuition assistance, and other education support programs for corporations, foundations, associations, and individuals. Eligibility for individual programs is determined at the sole discretion of the sponsor, and eligible applications are reviewed by Scholarship America’s evaluation team. Awards for this scholarship are granted to eligible recipients without regard to creed, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or national origin.

Deadline to apply: May 14, 2021 3:00 pm CT . More information, here.

ESOL/ Bilingual Job Opportunities?

Do you have ESOL/Bilingual employment opportunities within your district/school? Would you like to advertise those with all of Kansas? We are looking to provide a more centralized way to share with graduates and teachers seeking ESOL/Bilingual positions! Submit job postings to

KSDE Presents: Virtual ESOL PD

Beth Skelton, will be providing her final workshop of a four part series. This final workshop will be an online 90 minute workshop geared towards taking language learning to new heights and empower educators by giving them the necessary tools to do so. Below, you will find the last FREE session being offered and registration link. I hope you will take the time to participate in the awesome upcoming professional development provided by KSDE!

Monday, April 12, 2021
Teaching Language through STEAM Competencies

4-5:30 pm
Register Here

Spotlight: Technology with ELs

Google for Education and offer a variety of tools to support teaching and learning. It's essential to know the features and limitations of each tool in order to create the most dynamic learning experience for English Learners.

Google Chrome extensions can help ELs enjoy the web by converting text to speech, enhancing colors, summarizing web pages, translating text into different languages and offering picture dictionaries.

Here are a few for you to consider:

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Spotlight: 10 ways to integrate reading and writing in an academic English program

  • Introduce reading materials that pair well with writing assignments to teach a particular writing form. For example, if you were teaching students how to write a summary, you might first introduce students to a specific article and read it together. Summary writing strategies including main idea recognition, implied main idea recognition, reporting verbs, language frames, and academic summary conventions would be taught. Finally, a sample summary of the article can be provided to students so they see an effective model in terms of content and form. One of my class activities involves dividing students into groups and assigning a portion of the reading to summarize. We then write all of their sentences on the board and turn this into an academic summary by using appropriate language, transitions, and summary conventions. Collaboratively creating written texts together emphasizes the qualities of good writing in your discipline.

  • Draw attention to text-specific features. For example, examine various rhetorical modes such as argument texts, but limit time on content of the text and focus on the features of the text, identifying and evaluating the claims that are made, how an argument is constructed, how appeals are used, what the writer does effectively, and so forth.

  • Provide students with mentor or exemplar texts that are well-written pieces, and take time in class to talk about what makes them strong or effective pieces of writing. The same can be done with models of bad writing so students learn what not to do. I like to do this both as a whole-class activity and as small-group work. Giving students an opportunity to talk about texts enhances their understanding of content, structure, and language.

  • Incorporate literature and tailor writing assignments around it, such as literary analysis that involves constructing an argument about an issue or theme in the text and supporting that with evidence from within the text and outside research. Be sure to teach effective researching skills and documentation of sources.

  • Use sentence starters to help students better understand the author’s or text’s purpose. For example, use sentences such as “The main message I’m getting from the first paragraph is ” or “The author is trying to teach us that ” and so on.

  • Have students work in groups, and provide them with rubrics to evaluate written texts and ask them to discuss their thoughts according to rubric standards. Rubrics also give students the language they need to analyze texts of varying quality so they learn to distinguish what makes a text exemplary.

  • Encourage students to write in the margins or ask questions when reading materials, as this is a much more active process and students engage with the text, which helps them to make meaning at a deeper level. This also serves as a reminder that texts are part of ongoing discussion and are not the last word on a given subject. Model this practice so they become familiar with how to interact with text effectively, which in turn also enhances their metacognitive skills.

  • Incorporate close-reading activities based on a text, asking questions about each paragraph as they work through the text. The questions can be designed to enhance comprehension; using Bloom’s Taxonomy as a guide can be highly effective so that students have the opportunity to move beyond basic comprehension and are also required to apply, analyze, evaluate, and create in some way by what they are being asked. Questions can also focus on form and style so that students see why the author chose to express or write in a specific way.

  • Ask students to keep written journals that can be shared in class. Journaling about readings allows students to express in writing their own personal interests and insights and build on the skills they already intuitively possess: the ability to observe, to listen, to take notes, to reflect on their notes, and to ask questions that are born out of a sense of genuine curiosity. It can be an effective way to deepen understanding of course materials.

  • Encourage students to write short response papers to readings. Sometimes a prompt can be provided to emphasize attention to specific aspects. This can serve as the basis for class discussions and can enhance meaning and understanding of texts.

By: Meena Singhal

Spotlight YOUR school/district!

If your school or district is doing something awesome that you want to share with others in Kansas, please send your pictures (with descriptions) to and I will spotlight your happenings in the next newsletter.

*In addition, if you would like to see something added to the newsletter, please send your suggestions to as well!

Professional Development: Online for Free!

OELA Presents: English Learners in Secondary Schools: Trajectories, Transition Points, and Promising Practices

April 21, 2021 at 3:30 pm ET

English learners (ELs) at the secondary level who are approaching high school graduation face unique challenges. Curricular requirements including English language development classes, graduation requirements, and for some, special education can create complex scheduling challenges, and intricate accessibility issues.

As schools engage in articulation activities to determine student placement in the upcoming school year, it's important to identify and eliminate structural barriers that may pose challenges to ELs’ path towards graduation.

In this webinar we will discuss what research has shown about the academic trajectories of ELs at the secondary level, including the trajectories of newcomers, students who have been labeled long-term ELs, ELs with disabilities, and former ELs. We will explore structural barriers and discuss policies and practices that may potentially reduce these barriers, facilitate students’ full access to content, and promote their successful graduation.

Join presenters Dr. Ilana Umansky, University of Oregon; Dr. Karen Thompson, Oregon State University, and Dr. Aída Walqui, WestEd.

A certificate of completion will be available to registered attendees who participate in at least 90% of the webinar time.

Be sure to join us on April 21 for this interesting discussion!

Register now:

Unfinished Learning: Forging Lasting Connections for English Learners Through Building Background

April 6, 2021 at 5:00 pm

MaryEllen Vogt

MaryEllen Vogt, Ph.D. is a highly acclaimed educator and founding coauthor of the SIOP® series. She is a recipient of California State University Long Beach’s Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award, a member of California’s Reading Hall of Fame, and a recent inductee into the International Reading Hall of Fame. She served as president of the California Reading Association and International Literacy Association. Dr. Vogt co-directed the CSU Center for the Advancement of Reading and worked with faculty from 23 campuses to improve rigor in literacy courses while at California State University, Long Beach. Dr. Voght has conducted educator workshops around the world.

Creating connections between content lessons and students’ previous learning, past experiences, and vocabulary knowledge can be especially challenging—now more than ever. Dr. Vogt will suggest culturally responsive and highly effective ways to activate and build on what students know and can do. The webinar will help you encourage students to connect the content and academic language you’re teaching whether via Zoom or face-to-face.

Register here

Professional Development Opportunities, At a Cost!

SIOP® Professional Development Institutes

Cost: $350


Apr 6 - Apr 27

May 4 - May 25

Jun 8 -Jun 29

Jul 6 -Jul 27
Aug 3 -Aug 24

More information, here

2021 CARLA Summer Institute Program for Language Teachers

It is time to sign up for a CARLA Summer Institute!
Join the more than 6,700 language educators who have participated in this acclaimed professional development program. CARLA Summer Institutes fill quickly, so register early. CARLA offers a wide range of institutes targeted at foreign/world language, ESL/EFL, heritage language, and immersion educators from a variety of teaching levels and contexts. All fifteen of the 2021 CARLA Summer Institutes will be taught online in either an asynchronous or synchronous format. See the full line-up online.

Register here
Register by April 30 to save $50

PBL World 2021

June 21-24th

There's a buzzzzzz growing about PBL World 2021. Registration is quickly filling up. And we still have lots of behind-the-scenes plans to share with you. (Stay tuned!)

This year's theme is racial equity at the center – exploring the power of PBL to advance educational equity. Choose a multi-day workshop from a full slate of options. Plus, plan to join in daily keynotes, breakout sessions, and opportunities to connect.

We can't wait to see you there!
Learn more & register

Let's Connect on Twitter!

Use the hashtags : #KsELs and #KsESOL

Approved Kansas Colleges and Universities Offering ESOL Endorsement Courses

Kansas is ALWAYS looking for more ESOL Endorsed teachers! If you know of anyone interested in obtaining their ESOL Endorsement, here are a list of partnering universities and colleges:

Benedictine College

Bethany College

Emporia State University*

Friends University

Newman University*

Fort Hays State University*

Ottawa University*

Kansas State University*

Pittsburg State University*

McPherson College

University of Kansas*

Mid-America Nazarene University*

Washburn University

Wichita State University

*indicates online option available

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