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Training to Support Collaborative Conversations Between EL Specialists and Classroom Teachers for English Learner Students in New Mexico

The shift to online and hybrid learning during the COVID-19 pandemic posed challenges for many English learner students and their teachers. At Rio Rancho Public Schools (RRPS) in New Mexico, English Language Development (ELD) coordinators and elementary school teachers also found it difficult to collaborate. To address these issues, REL Southwest partnered with RRPS district and school staff to develop a five-part virtual training series to help ELD coordinators and teachers work together to improve English learner instruction, with a focus on evidence-based practices to foster academic vocabulary development.

The 2021 pilot training series engaged site-based RRPS elementary school teams, including ELD coordinators, instructional coordinators, gifted and talented coordinators, the director of Federal and Bilingual Programs, and classroom teachers in kindergarten through grade five. Training resources included a collaborative framework (1.3 MB) PDF icon and vocabulary tutorial modules that draw on the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) practice guide Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School (6,775 KB) pdf icon. Each site-based team engaged in a process of co-planning, co-teaching, co-assessing, and co-reflecting that aligned with the collaboration framework. Between sessions, teams completed additional activities. After the pilot, REL Southwest and RRPS staff updated the collaboration guide to reflect lessons learned and add an appendix of artifacts inspired by the site-based teams.

Related research partnership: Southwest English Learners