San Leandro Unified School District enrolls English Learners (ELs) in varying concentrations across eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one comprehensive senior high school, one alternative high school and a TK-12 San Leandro Virtual Academy. This English Learner Master Plan outlines the systems that are in place in every school to ensure compliance with state and federal law and, more importantly, to guarantee that all ELs in SLUSD have access to rigorous and joyful school experiences to meet the goals of the SLUSD Graduate Profile, graduating as critical thinkers who communicate and collaborate around being ethical and cultural leaders.
SLUSD recognizes that English Learners have a double curricular load. They must become proficient in academic English, and they must master all of the academic content required of all students in California. This means that ELs require additional services to ensure that they acquire English and access the full curriculum in a way that makes instruction comprehensible and meaningful. ELs receive instruction in all core content areas and are provided with additional services to ensure that their linguistic and academic needs are met.
Fluency in academic English is an issue of access, equity, and social justice. SLUSD believes that a student’s education cannot be determined by race, ethnicity, linguistic background, or socioeconomic status. We know these characteristics are strengths that make every student unique. In this plan, we ensure teaching practices and strategies that respect, affirm, and build on the home language and culture and offer families instructional program options.
SLUSD prioritizes multilingualism and pathways toward biliteracy. We believe that we can prepare multilingual students to compete in a diverse global economy while building cross-cultural understandings to address the challenging issues facing our country. That can be done best when they have the opportunity to learn rigorous linguistic, academic, and sociocultural skills and work with people who speak or learn differently than they do. These skills are essential to succeed in our complex, interconnected world. Research has shown that learning two languages while simultaneously learning academic content leads to cognitive advantages for emergent bilingual learners (Marian & Shook, 2012).
The California English Learner Roadmap from the California Department of Education aligns four principles that guide our work to ensure access and achievement for English learners. These principles serve as the vision and the foundation for the collective responsibility we share for our English learners. We have adapted and expanded them for use in SLUSD.
Assets-based Education: Schools and educators foster asset-oriented environments grounded in sociocultural competence.
Each student is valued for the cultural and linguistic capital they bring to the classroom. This not only empowers students and families to develop positive attitudes towards their linguistic and cultural identities but also highlights the benefits of embracing the diversity, biliteracy, and multilingualism they add to the community. Teachers acknowledge that every student comes to school with skills and knowledge that contribute to growth opportunities for all learners. This asset-based mindset includes culturally responsive teaching, translanguaging practices, and developing personal efficacy.
Rigorous Academics for All: Students engage in academically rigorous learning that cultivates high achievement and prioritizes bilingualism and biliteracy.
Instruction is intellectually rich, relevant, and standards-based, with ample opportunities for critical thinking and linguistic growth. Teachers promote inquiry through real-world problems and leverage high-level academic vocabulary across the curriculum. Not only do all students have access to rich learning experiences that lead to high levels of English proficiency, but their home language is also recognized, respected, and valued as a vehicle for success.
Systematic Support: Leaders and educators provide systematic, tiered support that includes data-driven assessment for continuous improvement and ongoing capacity building for all teachers and staff.
Every level of the organization provides resources to support strong EL programs and build the capacity of our educators. All staff is provitded with research-based professional development that helps leverage students’ strengths and targets their needs. Leaders are responsive to the community and their needs when making fiscal decisions. There is shared responsibility by all staff for the support, monitoring, and success of English learners.
Alignment and Articulation: Programs are articulated and aligned across students’ entire educational experiences and provide a coherent pathway in preparation for college and career in the 21st century.
English learners are provided access to a full curriculum at all grade levels regardless of their English proficiency. There is a consistent approach to ELD pedagogy, beginning with a strong foundation and continuing through reclassification, graduation, and beyond.