SEAL 2021 Fall Newsletter

September 8, 2021
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Dear SEAL Partners,

As we commence another complicated school year amidst the COVID19 pandemic, we’re taking a moment to express our deep appreciation to our educators for your continued commitment to ALL students and to educational equity — keeping the focus on your dual language/English learner (DLL/EL) students and families. This is a critical moment for equity-minded leadership in California schools, as families of DLL/EL households have undergone so much throughout the pandemic. We must acknowledge the sacrifices that DLL/EL families have made to ensure that their children are safe and healthy as they continue their educational journey.

And though school and district teams worked tirelessly throughout the summer to plan for a smooth start to this new school year, the rise of the Delta variant has proven reopening more complex than last spring’s. Nonetheless, you have continued to uphold DLL/EL students and families, while working to make every moment a safe, welcoming, and rich learning experience for all students.

At SEAL, we remain committed to asset-based approaches to teaching that are culturally and linguistically responsive and affirming because we know that is what is needed for children to thrive in school. Our research-based model informs our approach to transforming school systems. Our values compel us to embrace engaging, joyful child development and learning where biliteracy is seen as an asset, and home language development along with English is integrated into the curriculum.

We are devoted to supporting you, our partners, to ensure your classrooms are grounded in this research-based, equity-driven learning, especially in the face of the growing challenges on school campuses as you protect the health of your students and the entire school community. We are a resource that you can turn to for support throughout the school year.

Let’s continue to build upon the important work that we have done for young children to continue engaging in joyful, language-rich learning.In partnership,Dr. Anya Hurwitz

New Policy Brief Published!

Invest in PD for early learning educatorsAugust was an exciting month! SEAL released the Dual Language Learner (DLL) Grant Policy Brief. The policy brief finds teachers of the state’s youngest children are hungry for strategies to help them support students who are multilingual. SEAL continues to make the case that strengthening the capacity of early childhood educators to support DLLs is crucial to the long-term success of California’s youth.

The DLL Grant Brief is an extension of SEAL’s ongoing work and confirms that investing in professional development deepens teacher’s understanding of and increases their use of effective instructional practices.Findings from Building an Effective Early Childhood Workforce: The Need for Professional Development for Educators of Dual Language Learners show California should prioritize investment in teacher development! Here’s what we learned:

Others agree! California needs to prioritize investments in high-quality teacher development so that early childhood educators can adequately support their DLL students! Check out SEAL’s published blogs: One co-written in partnership with Advancement Project California and the other written by Sarah Jackson for New America.

Up Next…This fall SEAL is scheduled to release a set of briefs about our most recent multi-year external evaluation study of the replication of the SEAL model. We are also finalizing a research brief on the 2018 National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) report, English Learners in STEM Subjects: Transforming Classrooms, Schools and Lives, which we’re aiming to release in late 2021.

SEAL in the Field!

Even though it was summer break, SEAL staff was hard at work. Check out highlights from the last several months as we prepared to return to school:

Participation at the U.S. Department of Education’s Early Learning Roundtable

SEAL Executive Director, Dr. Anya Hurwitz, was one of 11 early education leaders invited to speak at a U.S. Department of Education’s Early Learning Roundtable with Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona! The conversation took place June 15th and ranged from the need for deep partnerships to foster interagency initiatives, to the importance of socio-emotional learning and dual-language approaches. We are excited to continue this important and necessary conversation!

SEAL Summer School was a Success!

SEAL summer school extended learning sessions proved to be fruitful and engaging! Interesting, rich, and joyfully crafted units designed to accelerate learning, sparked curiosity and kept our youngest learners busy! Check out some of the fun and creative ways Davis Joint Unified School District first graders learned about insects this summer!

SEAL is launching a new Online Resource Library!

We are thrilled to announce our brand new ONLINE Resource Library! In response to so many requests, all your favorite SEAL resources are now available at your fingertips at seal.org. The library will generate an email that will be sent to all SEAL educators at your site(s) asking them to choose a password and log in.

In order to minimize any issues with this transition to more digitally robust tools, we put together a few safeguards to make sure teachers get into the new library with as little trouble as possible. We are excited to continue providing valuable and accessible resources!

More updates coming soon…

Media Highlights!

  • Our very own SEAL Coach Coordinator, Marna Ledesma, was quoted by EdSource in August. “We wanted to make sure that when students came back, they were given every opportunity to be in classrooms where it wasn’t going to be the teacher who was going to be talking all the time.”
  • SEAL was also quoted in an Ed Source article written by Zaidee Stavely about the urgent need for more bilingual educators in California. “There’s only so far we can go with a 2030 vision if we don’t have teachers who can staff the classrooms,” said Anya Hurwitz, executive director of Sobrato Early Academic Language.

New faces at SEAL!

Join us in welcoming our newest additions to the staff!

Jennifer Clinkscales, Program Specialist

Jennifer comes to SEAL from Fillmore Unified School District with the unique experience of being trained TK-3 and 4-5 grades. Some fun facts about her: she has previously attended 7 Prince concerts throughout her life! We are ecstatic to have her and she has already shown to be a valuable member of the team! Welcome, Jennifer!

Erin Magill Peleti, Program Specialist

Before joining SEAL Erin taught 5th and 6th grade in Oak Grove School District for 7 years. She was part of the 4-5 Grade SEAL launch in Oak Grove and was a Demo Site teacher! Some fun facts about Erin are that her freshman year dorm at UC Berkeley was the same building that once housed the California School for the Deaf, where her grandparents met. Welcome, Erin!Don’t forget to follow us on social media for regular updates! Follow SEAL on Facebook.

Read More News from SEAL

Learn about changes in policy, up-to-date research, and unique practices to support Dual Language and Multilingual Learners. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter here.