Transitioning to the Common Core: Effective Practices for Improving English Learner Achievement


  • December 17, 2012


The second alliance seminar on cross-state collaboration to improve educational outcomes for English learner students was conducted as a one-day webinar for state department of education staff from Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, as well as other non-alliance state (Colorado and New Mexico) members of the West Comprehensive Center's EL collaborative.

The webinar addressed the Common Core State Standards and their specific implications for EL students, with a focus on identification of promising practices for improving EL achievement that leads to all EL students being college and career ready.

REL West researcher and alliance lead Eric Haas provided updates on current alliance projects. The webinar featured a presentation of key instructional elements for supporting teachers to provide ELs with opportunities that allow them to attain the Common Core State Standards despite their various needs and abilities by Margaret Heritage, Assistant Director for Professional Development at the National Center of Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, University of California Los Angeles, and Aida Walqui, Director of the Teacher Professional Development program at WestEd.

Participants had opportunities throughout the day to discuss ways to collaborate on dissemination and use of the three current EL Alliance projects, as well as possible follow-up projects and research. Cheryl Lebo, Senior Program Associate at the West Comprehensive Center (formerly the Southwest Comprehensive Center), provided an overview of the center's work during the new five-year contract and implications for ongoing collaboration with the EL Alliance.

The event was designed to support three REL West projects with the alliance:

  1. Developing a data inventory profiling EL demographic, linguistic, and academic data across the three states;

  2. Completing a descriptive analysis of the long-term and transitioning reclassified EL students in the three states; and

  3. Providing a review of key issues in the diagnosis and assessment of EL students with learning disabilities.

These projects are providing a common language, data, and evidence with which alliance members can raise, explore, and collaboratively solve problems common across the three states.

This seminar, the second of two this year, provided an opportunity to use this information to address policy and practice decisions facing the three states.

For more information about this event, please contact Eric Haas,, 510-302-4288.