MATSOLnews Blog

In an effort to ensure that all students have access to a world-class education that prepares them for college and careers, the U.S. Department of Education released a resource guide today to help educators, school leaders and community organizations better support undocumented youth, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

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This report from The Rennie Center identifies and measures state-level indicators linked to outcomes to inform decision-making among Massachusetts education leaders. These indicators focus on critical stages in learning and development from school readiness and early learning to the emergence of a strong and productive workforce. It identifies three areas in which statewide action can build on existing, effective practice to generate significant improvements in student outcomes. 

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MATSOL is proud to join the Language Opportunity Coalition in announcing that through our efforts assisting our state legislators, two exciting bills have been filed for the 2015-2016 Massachusetts legislative session. One bill establishes a State Seal of Biliteracy.  The second bill, the Language Opportunity for Our Kids (LOOK) bill, addresses language acquisition programs, and also includes the (identical) text as the Seal of Biliteracy bill, giving us two opportunities to seek the seal’s passage. We are asking for your help today to secure co-sponsors for both bills.

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From the US Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition: English Learner Tool Kit – Chapter 1: “Tools and Resources for Identifying All English Learners”

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WIDA and CAL are currently in the process of developing ACCESS 2.0 (Series 401, 2016-17) writing folders and would like to recruit educators for an online Bias, Sensitivity, and Content Review. We would like your assistance with identifying educators for this opportunity. Nominated educators should have experience teaching ELLs. It would be great if they also had Language Arts or Social Studies content background. Due to the format of the meetings being online, it would also be helpful for educators to have participated in Bias, Sensitivity, and Content reviews in the past.

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November 2014 is Massachusetts Family Literacy Month! Across the state, many schools, libraries, adult learning centers, parent support programs, social service agencies, and local businesses provide organized activities for families during Family Literacy Month. Many of these events involve hands-on literacy activities for parents and children that demonstrate how parents can engage with their children at home. Storytelling, family math nights, readings by authors and community leaders, interactive sing-a-longs, and creating books and bookmarks are examples of family learning activities. 

Parents can help their children develop literacy -- and a love of reading -- by reading to them in their native language. Research shows that teaching children to read in their first language also promotes higher levels of reading achievement in English (Goldenberg 2008). In honor of Family Literacy Month, MATSOL has created a list of Multilingual Literacy Resources for Parents, with links to resources in over 50 languages, including:
    • Reading tips sheets, guides and videos
    • Online digital children's books
See the DESE's Family Literacy Consortium web page for more events and information.

MATSOL Members got together on September 21 at a MATSOL Meet-Up at the Fitchburg Art Museum to celebrate opening of the exhibits ONE LANGUAGE IS NEVER ENOUGH: Latino Artists in Southern New England / UN IDIOMA NUNCA ES SUFICIENTE: Artistas Latinos en el Sur de Nueva Inglaterra and MARIO QUIROZ: Mis Vecinos, Portraits of Fitchburg’s Latino Communities. Both exhibits will be on display until January (and Mis Vecinos until September 2015). The museum welcomes school groups, so if you are interested it seeing the exhibit with your class, please contact them: www.fitchburgartmuseum.org/

Boston College announcement: The Lynch School of Education will launch a program in September to certify bilingual education teachers who work in schools offering dual-language immersion classes where English- and Spanish-speaking students develop fluency in both languages across their academic subjects.

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MATSOL opposes the state's plan to dismantle the Dual Language program at the Dever School in Boston, despite promising academic improvements and strong community support. 

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The 2014 The Anne Dow Award for Excellence and Creativity will be granted for innovative use of technology tools to enrich and improve English language development.

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From Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: The purpose of this document is to provide comprehensive information and guidance about key processes related to the identification, initial placement, assessment, and reclassification of English Language Learners (ELLs) in Massachusetts. Federal and state law require that such students are provided language services and ensured equitable access to the standards-based instruction provided to all other students. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is committed to closing the proficiency gap that now exists between ELLs and their native-English speaking peers so that all students graduate high school college and career ready and are able to compete in the global economy. View document...

Helpful advisories and links related to RETELL from the Mass Teachers Association. Advisories include fact sheets on SEI Course Enrollment Process, the Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement Form, and overviews of the SEI Endorsement requirement.

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The U.S. Department of Education requests information on priorities for future evaluation and research studies needed to inform effective instruction, assessment, and professional development that is responsive to the needs of English learners (ELs). Due Oct 9.

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This grant program is open to eligible applicants in Gateway Cities that did not receive grant funding in FY 2013. 

Grant applicants will submit proposals to operate Summer English Learning Academies during the summer of 2014 that will provide middle and high school English language learners in their communities with high-intensity and differentiated learning opportunities. These Academies must offer full-day services to students for a minimum of four days per week and four consecutive weeks. These Academies must be designed for middle and high school students who are classified as English language learners and are eligible to receive instruction that is designed to assist them in learning English and in learning subject matter content, and must also accelerate students' acquisition of English language and literacy skills and provide students with varied learning environments. Applicants may provide targeted services to a specific population or populations of English language learners with particular needs, including those with interrupted formal schooling or those at risk of dropping out of school. 

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