Sonoma County Office of Education


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English Learner Leadership Conference

Administrators, teacher-leaders, district trustees, and interested community members are invited to attend SCOE’s annual English Learner Leadership Conference. Participants will gain access to effective tools and strategies that pertain directly to English Learners at all grade levels. Sessions will be tailored for elementary educators, secondary educators, administrators, and K-12.

Please note: No printed copies of conference materials will be provided. Materials will only be available digitally at the conference; please bring an electronic device.

Get the Conference Agenda


Morning Keynote

Addressing the Needs of English Learners in a New Era
Laurie Olsen, Ph.D. | Director of the Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) initiative
English Learners have been in our schools for a long time, and the responsibility of schools to address their needs (to learn English, to access the curriculum) was established close to half a century ago. And yet in many ways, this is a whole new era for English Learner education. Certainly the ELA/ELD Framework is part of what is shaping this new era. But in the past year we have seen the release of the National Academies of Sciences groundbreaking new research report on English Learners, and the astonishing passage of Proposition 58 (the EdGe Initiative) by the vast majority of voters in November 2018, and the unanimous adoption by the State Board of Education of what is being hailed as an “historic and revolutionary” English Learner Roadmap policy for California superseding the old Proposition 227 policy. This keynote address will frame all of these changes and explore what they mean for efforts to serve English as our schools face major shifts in understanding and practices.

Afternoon Keynote

Do you speak English? Poverty, Identity and Assimilation. A personal story growing up as an English language learner
Oscar Chavez | Assistant Director, Sonoma County Department of Human Services

Secondary Focus

Integrating Multilingual Learners’ Everyday Uses of Language and Subject Matter Uses of Language in Secondary Classrooms (ELA, History, Math, Science)
Kerry A. Enright, Ph.D. | Associate Professor, UC Davis School of Education, Emphasis Area in Language, Literacy, and Culture)
Area in Language, Literacy, and Culture
Each school subject has unique ways of using language and literacy to develop learners’ content knowledge. Adolescents and their multilingual communities also have unique ways of using language and literacy for learning outside of school. This session will prepare secondary teachers to design instruction that takes advantage of the relationship between secondary students’ everyday uses of language (English and native language) and their engagement in school-based uses of language and literacy.

Secondary Focus

Simple, Yet Powerful Shifts to Increase Accessibility for English Learners
Kirsten Sanft | Principal, West County Charter Middle School
This hands-on session will outline simple shifts that teachers can make in the way they speak, set up their classrooms, and assign work that specifically support English Learners, while maximizing learning for all students. Participants will leave with a set of high-impact strategies that can be easily implemented in any secondary setting.

Elementary Focus

Supporting ELLs through Intentionally Designed Content Objectives, Language Frames, and Vocabulary Exploration
Megan Story | Student Support Coordinator, Rincon Valley Union Schools/Madrone Elementary
Lisa Christopherson | Classroom Teacher/Former District Consulting Teacher (Math), Rincon Valley Union Schools
Learn how to view a lesson through the perspective of an English Language Learner, considering practical vocabulary within the lesson and throughout instruction, to increase student engagement and support comprehension. Understand simple ways to enhance lessons, which give all students, but especially English Language Learners, access to participate more readily in academic conversations. Practice constructing content and language objectives and leveled sentence frames to support integrated ELD, specifically in Math, but applicable across content areas.

Elementary Focus

EL Focal Students: Building Community for Language Development
Betha MacClain | Principal, Jack London Elementary School, Piner Olivet Union School District
Kathy Harris | Teacher On Special Assignment/Instructional Coach, Piner Olivet Union School District

This presentation will provide attendees with resources for developing personalized learning communities that reflect the assets and needs of all students and strengthen the quality of language instruction. We will share the tools and methods we have used to build teacher capacity, facilitate equity-focused conversations, and strengthen teacher collaboration in support of English Learners. Participants will take the first steps toward building a plan that fits their site and context.

TK-12 Focus

Big Picture Learning
Susan Nystrom | Principal, North Bay Met Academy/Windsor Oaks Academy, Windsor Unified School District
Dana Jones | Teacher and Internship coordinator, North Bay Met Academy/Windsor Oaks Academy, Windsor Unified School District

Disengagement is the biggest challenge for educators today. EL students have not one but two challenges at school - learning English as a second language and succeeding in academic coursework. For many EL students, continued academic failure can lead to disengagement in school. North Bay Met Academy at Windsor is a Big Picture Learning School. Big Picture Learning emphasizes putting the students in the center of their own learning. In this session you will meet an Advisor/teacher, principal and Community Bilingual Liaison who work together to create an extended family environment for students. Attendees will experience different strategies and techniques used by the school support team consisting of students, parents, staff and community members. This team and their decisions and actions is what leads to student successes.

TK-12 Focus

Communication with Families of English Learners: Connecting families, cultures, and languages
Graciela García-Torres | Title III Region 3 Lead, English Learners Programs and Accountability, Sacramento County Office of Education
Communication is a critical factor in building relationships. The families of English learners need explicit and clear information that builds a bridge between the home and school cultures. Participants will explore mandates, responsibilities, and rights of working with diverse families; best practices for interpretation and translation services including IEPs, formal and informal meetings; and resources available for families and districts.

TK-12 Focus

Supporting Sonoma County's Immigrant Children
Alegría De La Cruz | Chief Deputy County Counsel, Sonoma County Counsel's Office
Rafael Vasquez, Faculty and EOPS Coordinator, Santa Rosa Junior College

Learn how local institutions address the specific needs of immigrant families due to increased federal immigration enforcement efforts.

Administrator Focus

Steering the Ship in a new Era: What administrators need to know about policies & research in order to lead and support efforts to meet the needs of English Learners
Laurie Olsen, Ph.D. | Director of the Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) initiative
This workshop will focus on the new English Learner Roadmap for California, and how to use it as a tool for strengthening programs and practices for English Learners.

When Friday, January 12, 2018
8:30am - 3:30pm
Location SCOE
Presenter Please check back soon for a list of presenters
Cost $160.00 Includes continental breakfast; Lunch is not provided
Audience Administrators, teacher-leaders, district trustees, EL coordinators, other school site personnel, and interested community members
Registration Christine Vasquez, 707-524-2816,
Questions Jenn Guerrero, (707) 524-2852,

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Online Registration is not available.