With an increasing focus in Oregon on expanding educational opportunities and success for English learners, education leaders from around the state gathered in Eugene on March 11-13 for the State English Learners Alliance Conference. The event was sponsored by the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators and the Oregon Department of Education.
Three Education Northwest researchers participated in sessions at the event on topics such as developing recommendations based on research for teaching English learners, using “student talk” to analyze how students are progressing academically, and demonstrating a new rubric (currently in the pilot stage) designed to help districts self-check the coherence of their instructional programs for English learners.
Researcher Claudia Rodriguez-Mojica, who presented in two sessions, noted a heavy interest from conference participants to better identify and serve students who need both English language and special education support. “The great thing about this interest is that the state of Oregon is really working together to learn how to best support dual-identified students,” she says. “The Oregon Department of Education, teachers, administrators, and researchers are all interested in moving on this pressing issue.”
The conference created additional benefits for participants beyond the presentations. Researchers Mary Martinez-Wenzl and Art Burke were pleased to receive feedback from educators that will help refine the district self-check rubric they are developing.
Martinez-Wenzl also appreciated the chance to hear about changes to state policy as well as opportunities for networking. “These kinds of events help educators and researchers to learn from each other and identify ways to partner,” she says.