Creating Schools That Support Success for ELLs: Lessons Learned

September 2010

The past two decades have brought the second largest wave of immigration in U.S. history. This has led to a rapid and unprecedented influx of immigrants to the Pacific Northwest as well as a rise in the number of English language learners (ELLs) in schools. Between 2002–2003 and 2007–2008, the Northwest’s annual growth in ELL enrollment was nearly five times faster than the national average. By 2007– 2008, ELLs represented 8.6 percent of total public school enrollment in the Northwest.

To address these changes, many district leaders in the Northwest are taking a direct role in supporting the education of ELLs. These leaders are looking for programs, strategies, and practices to help this growing population of students develop English proficiency while simultaneously mastering academic content. The following lessons are derived from Education Northwest’s research, evaluation, and technical assistance experiences. They are intended to address questions that administrators may have about how to mitigate barriers to the linguistic and academic achievement of ELLs. They will also help leaders provide better support to teachers as they learn and implement evidence-based instructional practices for ELLs.

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