The high schools english learners need norm gold oxnard union hsd oxnard california june 7 2006
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The High Schools English Learners Need Norm Gold Oxnard Union HSD Oxnard, California June 7, 2006. GOAL:. Encourage redesign of high schools to ensure success for all English Learners 2. Perspectives. We know a great deal about how to improve HS for ELs.

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The High Schools English Learners Need Norm Gold Oxnard Union HSD Oxnard, California June 7, 2006

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The High Schools English Learners NeedNorm GoldOxnard Union HSDOxnard, CaliforniaJune 7, 2006


Encourage redesign of high schools to ensure success for all English Learners



  • We know a great deal about how to improve HS for ELs.

  • High schools do not work well for most ELs.

  • The problems in EL education are escalating.

  • We must have a firm commitment to educational equity.

Definitions of Success

  • Current State and Federal Expectations

  • Individual and Societal Needs

    • Handout/ OH

Two Students

ExerciseThink – Write – Pair - Share

  • Choose one of these students.

  • THINK of similar students of these characteristics.

  • WRITE down the keys to high school success for this student.

  • PAIR up, and SHARE your keys with each other.

  • Be prepared to report back.

    • handout

HS does not work for most ELs Action is needed now!

  • This is urgent!

  • I believe that our responses must be:

    • Definitive

    • Comprehensive

    • Fundamental

    • Long-term

Diverse Students

  • Long-Term EL

    • Making some progress. Close to grade level, but not optimal achievement.

    • Not making progress. Three or more years behind.

  • Newcomer

    • Strong prior schooling

    • Interrupted schooling; minimal literacy

Current H.S. A design for almost certain failure for most ELs

  • Goals appear insurmountable to many students and their families.

    • Identity of disconnect and failure for long-term ELs

  • An unfamiliar system for newcomers

    • < 15%

  • Only four years to master English and earn sufficient credits to graduate.

  • College preparation is the only high status outcome.

  • Remediation is possible, but treated as failure of student.

  • Some Hurdles: HS exit exam, most instruction only in English, assessments in English without accommodations, limited counseling and information

  • Schedules are incompatible with need to work.

English Learners in California

  • A total of 1,591,525 K-12 in 2005*

    • 25.2% of all enrollment California

    • Increased 328,543 (+ 26 percent) since 1995

    • Mostly Spanish-speakers (85%)

    • Also: Vietnamese (2.2%); Hmong (1.4%); Cantonese (1.4%); Tagalog (1.3%); and Korean (1.0%) and many other languages.

  • 300,000 English Learnersin California high schools

  • We have more in ELs in 9th grade alone (103,952) than the entire K-12 EL enrollments of any state except Arizona, Florida, Illinois, New York or Texas.

  • Only NY and TX have more ELs than our HS EL enrollment.

Current H.S.

Previous Recommendations for ELs

  • Language, culture and school responsiveness

  • Empowering students

  • Specific instructional techniques

  • Organizational structures

  • Teacher training

Evidence that mostELs are likely to fail HS

  • Standardized NRTs and Assessments of Standards

  • Current grades

  • HS Exit Exam

  • Other data

  • There are, of course, many individual success stories to report… But far too few.

2004 Performance of Grade 10ELs on State Tests

Grades at one Orange Co. H.S.Percent Ds & Fs - All Academic Courses(2003-04)

Grades at one Ventura County H.S.Percent Ds & Fs in English 9, 10, 11, 12(2004-05)

ELs Do Not Complete H.S.

Only 27 % of ELs graduate four years after enrolling in 9th grade.

  • LA USD, 2004-05

National data on high school completion by ethnicity

CAUTION: ethnicity is distinct from language status

  • All students:

    • 70% graduate

    • 32% leave high school qualified to attend four-year colleges.

  • Black and Hispanic/Latino students:

    • 51% of all black students and 52% of all Hispanic students graduate

    • 20% of all black students and 16% of all Hispanic students WHO GRADUATE (!) leave high school college-ready.

Controlling Myths and Responses:ELs and High School

  • The following myths appear to control state and local policy and practice in high schools.

  • There is enormous urgency to make improvements

  • These improvements can only be made if we take control of the public debate about high school for English learners

Myth 1:ELs bring only NEED

  • Inventory all prior education; identify strengths

  • Assess competence in primary language

  • Establish early school-to-home connections

  • Conduct ongoing asset inventory

  • Provide programs that value competencies developed out-of-school: resilience, leadership.

Myth 2: ELD is all they need

  • Provide COMPLETE program for ELs, including primary language content, and multicultural competency.

  • Plan full integration of ELs with others.

  • IMPROVE ELD instruction.

  • Professional development for ALL personnel.

  • Hire teachers, counselors with language and cultural competencies and specific EL preparation.

  • Promote school-wide focus on languages.

2: continued…

  • Provide instruction in primary language, whenever possible and appropriate.

  • Challenge students and place in classes where they can succeed

    • Recognize that > 70% are long-term ELs

  • Create cohorts of students with comprehensive support.

Myth 3:Current Calendar and Clock are Sacred

  • Expand time to five or more years for those who need and want it.

  • Expand school day.

  • Encourage any student making progress to remain in school.

  • Adjust calendar to needs of community

  • Change state policies on testing. Recognize L1 competency and ELD as second language (FL).

Myth 4:HS takes place only in a building called “High School”

  • Consider advantages of some features of secondary schooling used elsewhere: apprenticeships, internships.

  • Offer greater access to evening and part-time classes, online and distance learning options.

  • Explore how to take greater advantage of Community Colleges.

  • Encourage students to challenge entry into courses.

Myth 5:Only one worthwhile goal and a single “best” path

  • Individualize high school for all students

    • but ensure a common core for all

  • Ensure opportunity for college for all.

  • Place greater attention on supporting transitions from HS to community college, to university AND to careers.

  • Promote courses of study that are routes to high paying, high status jobs…some of which do not require 4-year college.

California Labor Market in 2010

  • College Level (BA+) Jobs23.2 %

  • Non College Level Jobs76.8 %

    There will be seven million openings (new jobs plus replacements) between 2000 and 2010. 68.5% require no college, 23 % require BA+, and 8.5% an AA or some college.

Myth 5….

  • Small schools may not be the best option for EL students.

  • Strive to create the conditions sought in small schools and small learning communities: common focus, high expectations, personalization, climate of respect and responsibility, time to collaborate, etc.

  • Actively market key features of the redesigned high school to students, parents, wider community.

The Five Myths to Bust

1. ELs bring nothing except need.

2. ELD is all they need.

3. Current calendar and clock are sacred.

4. HS must take place in a building called “High School”.

5. Only one goal of secondary education and a single best path to its completion.

Some Likely Barriers

  • Frosh to Senior “class” distinctions

  • Clock and calendar, CAHSEE schedule

  • NCLB and State Accountability Timelines/ Testing

  • Transportation system

  • Teacher work rules and contracts

  • Cost of teachers, classrooms and instructional materials

  • Traditions

What Can We Do?

  • School Boards?

  • CDE?

  • Governor? Legislature?

  • What can YOU do?

Two Students

  • Vianeli

  • Efraín

If we fail to take action,

Vianeli and Efraín, and tens of thousands of English Learners will follow pathways to probable failure.

If we act thoughtfully now,

English Learners will have many pathways to probable success.

Many thanks to:

Julie Maxwell-Jolly and Patricia Gándara

Also to:

Sheila Budman, Lauri Burnham-Massey, Rebecca Callahan, Jesús Contreras, Ted Hamann, Karen Kendall, Toni Marsnik, Laurie Olsen, Peter Schilla, and Fred Tempes.

Teachers and administrators in:

Desert Sands USD, Hayward USD, Newport-Mesa USD, Parlier USD, Sacramento City USD, Santa Ana USD, Ventura USD, West Contra Costa USD.

University of California, Linguistic Minority Research Institute

Download complete paper:


Norm Gold • [email protected] • (916) 731-4734

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