Beautiful Accents: Empowering and Supporting English Learners through School and Community Partnerships

2015, NO.41

Community partners help schools and districts empower and engage a broad range
 of children often narrowly labeled as “English learners” – newcomers, refugees, immigrants, and children of immigrants – to support their learning and development in culturally responsive ways that go far beyond language acquisition.

Ruth López

Community partnerships allow schools and districts to empower and engage a broad range of English learners and their families in culturally responsive ways to support student learning and socio-emotional development.

Dahvy Tran and Barbara Roberts Hodgson

Through family engagement and expanded learning time, a partnership between the district and a community organization in Lowell, Massachusetts, serves the social and academic needs of refugee youth and other English learners and their families.

Ashley Varady

In San Francisco, a partnership between a K–8 school and a nonprofit writing program helps students who are achieving below grade level find their voices and blossom into confident thinkers and writers.

Nakachi Clark-Kasimu

A nonprofit in San Francisco partners with area high schools to serve immigrant and refugee students, including a growing number of undocumented, unaccompanied minors, who face not only learning English but also trauma and a host of other issues.

Amy Cournoyer Gooden and Kelly Chase

Boston University and the Malden, Massachusetts, school district worked with the community to support English learners and develop a curriculum around five “habits of mind.”

Jessica Rivera, Esperanza Donovan-Pendzic, and Mary Jo Marion

A collaboration in Worcester, Massachusetts, between the district, higher education institutions, and community organizations, including a Spanish-language television program, provided culturally responsive out-of-school enrichment programs for English learners.

Angela Valenzuela, Emilio Zamora, and Brenda Rubio

An out-of-school program for fourth-grade English learners in Austin, Texas – jointly developed by the school district, the City of Austin and a local community group – has co-constructed a curriculum that incorporates the Aztec dance or ceremony Danza Mexica as a core component.