Administrator’s Corner: Reaching Halverson Elementary School’s multilingual learners

Published 8:00 pm Friday, November 12, 2021

Administrator’s Corner by Tonya Franks

Education is always evolving. Educators are committed professionals dedicated to learning and fine-tuning their practice so that we can best meet the needs of our learners. Halverson is being deliberate in reaching our multilingual learners in a variety of ways this year.  Multilingual learners make up approximately 18% of Halverson students. That is approximately one in every five students. This past summer our English language learner department focused their summer professional development on revising Halverson’s instructional model for multilingual learners.  Working with a consultant from the Minnesota Department of Education, we crafted an instructional model that is designed to prevent fragmentation and promote cohesion.  Schools are encouraged to prioritize co-teaching, in-class support, and co-planning instructional models. The  magic is keeping students in the classroom whenever possible where they are able to have full access to grade level standards while simultaneously developing English skills. While some students do receive pull out services, pull out models are typically strictly reserved for newcomers and beginners, defined as students that score a proficiency level of 1.0-2.4 on the ACCESS (English language proficiency rest) assessment.

Tonya Franks

Co-teaching takes on different forms depending on the teacher relationship and student needs. Four models Halverson is trying this year are:

• Parallel teaching: The class is divided in two groups and the same material is presented simultaneously by both teachers. The teachers plan the two groups deliberately to maximize the success of all students; this is not simply a “pull-out” or intervention group sitting in the same room.

• Station teaching: Both teachers are actively involved in instruction as students are divided into groups and rotate from one station to the next. There may be stations where students work independently or with a paraprofessional in addition to the two stations the co-teachers facilitate.

• Alternative teaching: One teacher takes a small group of students and provides them more intensive or specialized instruction that is different than what the large group receives from the other teacher.

• Team teaching: Both teachers teach the content at the same time in tandem or “tag team” fashion

(Model descriptions adapted from resource http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/co-teaching-push-in/)

We continue to implement clustering students with common language peers, Talk Read Talk Write, graphic organizers and Learner Profiles. We are looking forward to continuing to research and implement research based strategies to reach our multilingual students.

Tonya Franks is the Halverson Elementary School principal.