• The Review of Services for English Language Learners
    in Oakland Unified School District
    In the spring of 2013, ELLMA commissioned a review of Oakland Unified School District's English Language Learner services by Stanford University’s Understanding Language, to support our efforts of developing a strategic plan to accelerate academic outcomes for our ELLs. 
    The final report was released on February 19th, 2015 and can be found below. 
    Highlighted Findings and Recommendations




    Policy and Leadership

    ·       Identification and reclassification processes have been improved, but the district needs better systems to meet initial identification timelines and to track the progress of ELLs.

    ·        Schools would benefit from a consistent set of policies and approaches to bilingual education; there is no bilingual program offered in secondary.

    ·       In classrooms of all types (SEI, newcomer and bilingual), the home language is underutilized.

    ·       Establish a clear vision for ELL success

    ·       Review and refine ELLMA’s Essential Practices for ELL Achievement

    ·       Develop a comprehensive data management system to highlight needs of ELL subgroups

    ·       Support bilingualism and bi-literacy

    ·       Establish ELL identification and reclassification procedures


    Teaching and Learning

    ·       OUSD is moving toward integrated content and language instruction, but in about 75% of classroom, there was either no clear language instruction or even acknowledgement of language

    ·        Educators struggle to determine the appropriate amount of scaffolding for ELLs. In 42% of classrooms there was no evidence of scaffolding.

    ·        ELLs, especially newcomers and SIFE, lack consistent access to A-G courses.

    ·        Insufficient attention is paid to ELLs in special education.

    ·       Promote and support the integration of language and content instruction

    ·       Provide both Designated and Integrated English Language Development

    ·       Provide professional development on language instruction to teachers of all content areas

    ·       Design and finance differentiated supports for our diverse ELLs (newcomer, Long-term ELLs, SPED-ELLs, etc)

    ·       Invest in materials and PD for bilingual programs

    ·       Increase collaboration of ELLMA and Programs for Exceptional Children

    Social and Emotional Learning

    ·       ELLs expressed pride in bilingualism.

    ·       Bullying was a salient theme for students, but school staff rarely recognized it as a problem.

    ·       Students at half of the visited schools reported that they feel unsafe asking teachers questions.

    ·       Positive teacher and student relationships correlated with educator’s initiative to take the time to understand students’ culture, language and background.


    ·       Raise awareness on how diverse ELLs are experiencing school

    ·       Provide PD on how to develop a safe and inclusive learning environment

    ·       Address the issues of bullying, particularly of our newcomer students

    ·       Establish structures for collaboration with school staff and CBOs to address needs of ELLs


    Family Engagement

            Families and staff express a need for improved translations and interpretation services.

            There is high interest in ESL classes for families to improve communication between staff and families.

            Parental engagement in SSC, ELAC, and DLAC meetings is uneven and dependent on engagement of school leadership.

            Parent knowledge of language program options and reclassification process is not comprehensive.

    ·       Increase parents’ capacity to support students and make informed decisions about program placement

    ·       Leverage families as cultural liaisons to their communities

    ·       Ensure schools hire staff that can bridge cultures and support communication


    Staffing and Resources

            Teachers call for continued teacher PD on language development and more time to collaborate with colleagues.

            There are insufficient bilingual staff (teachers, leaders, office staff).

            English Language Development teachers were found to be among the newest and least experienced teachers.

    ·       Recruit and hire bilingual and bicultural teachers, leaders, and support staff

    ·       Establish site-based ELL specialist positions

    ·       Design continuous improvement structures to support students to achieve measurable and ambitious goals

    ·       Integrate best practices for ELLs in the Teacher Effectiveness Framework and Leadership Dimensions

    ·       Support SPED teachers of ELLs to better meet their needs