Teachers are very much like Superheroes! A day in the classroom consists of many different tasks from teaching vocabulary strategies to switching gears and comforting a crying child who misses home. Due to the different demands of a typical classroom, offering professional development to our teachers is one of our top priorities here at the Multilingual Department! Teachers are continuing to foster language development and academic achievement for an estimated 62,000 English Language Learners in our district. We are excited to announce that HISD has also doubled the number of Dual Language Campuses, now totaling 28. With the development of our program, it is our team’s mission to become great all over!
Trainings like the Job Alike Professional Development for Spanish Language Arts and Reading for Bilingual and Dual Language Teachers is a prime example. Highlights of the training included interactive strategies for engaging students in multisensory activities in the areas of Reading and Language Arts for English and Spanish. Music, movement and visual stimuli were utilized to address relevant skills and concepts that lay the foundation for the levels of academic rigor found in the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness.
Secondary participants were able to choose from many informative sessions. For new teachers the trainings provided were ESL Curriculum Boot Camp as well as a detailed explanation of the secondary curriculum. For returning teachers trainings provided were Literacy Tips for Teachers of Long-term ELLs, Special Population: Refugee/Unschooled Minor/Students with Interrupted Formal Education, and Tech Talk for Teachers of English Language Learners. Finally, a session on LPAC procedures and refugee information was available to all of the attendees.
The Job Alike training was most successful because teachers and administrators were able to select the workshop that they felt would be most beneficial to them from the rotation format.
An estimated 650 teachers were trained in classroom literacy resources, technology integration, best practices, research-based instruction, and were provided information about classroom resources as well. It was an outstanding opportunity for Bilingual and Dual Language educators to ask questions, network and become familiar with the district’s programs.
Here is what a few teachers had to say about the classes:
Irma Orozco, first grade teacher at Davila Elementary said, “I enjoyed learning about using poetry and songs to create a fun classroom environment.”
Carmen Ortiz, Kindergarten teacher at Herrera Elementary said, “I loved the strategy of using puppets to help teach syllables.”
Rosa Sanchez, 4th Grade Bilingual Elementary Teacher at R.P. Harris Elementary said, “Learning different practices such as Leveled Readers for literature circles will help my students improve their STAAR scores.”
In order to adequately serve the 70% of students who qualify for Bilingual Education services, we have aligned our bilingual program across all campuses. It now includes three main components: a strong Spanish Language Arts focus in the primary grades to ensure that students learn to read with a high fluency rate, a gradual increase in quality and quantity of English instruction from Pre-K to 5th grade, and a focus on strategic language transfer to facilitate the transition from the native language to English. The Job-Alike training gave us the opportunity to share best practices and resources with our bilingual teachers in these three areas. They got a chance to review and explore the state-adopted materials; they received professional development on teaching the foundations of reading and building on reading skills to increase comprehension; they learned how to integrate technology in the classroom; they were exposed to interventions that can be used during instruction to accelerate student learning. Our Dual Language teachers received an overview of the district’s expectations for the program.
The Elementary Multilingual Programs team, led by Manager Evelyn Castro, and Secondary Multilingual Programs team, led by Manager Jennifer Alexander, spearheaded an outstanding marketing effort that resulted in close to 650 teachers attending the Job-Alike event. We are very appreciative of the support we received from our vendors who serve as consultants throughout the year to train our teachers in classroom implementation.
We believe our teachers are Superheroes because they inspire students to achieve each and every day!
Special Thanks to:
Hartman Middle School, Burbank Middle School, Lamar High School and their staff for hosting the Multilingual Programs Department and the Job Alike Professional Development.
Multilingual Programs Team and support staff, Elementary and Secondary Multilingual Department Teams.
Refugee Project Team, Curriculum and Instruction ESL Specialist, Teacher Leaders from Eastwood Academy (Ms. Zazalleesha Swanson) and Burbank MS (Dr. Linda Velasquez), and National Presenters for state-adopted curriculum materials.
Mary Brown, Kimberly Caldwell, Candy Carro, Franki Dockens, Jay Dudley, Daniel Esparza, Ana L. Fuentes, Tonie Garza, Richard Gomez, Jennifer Greene, Dr. Carol Johnson, Dr. Barbara Jones, Liz McGrath, Susan McGuire, Shelly Morris, Marissa Nava, Brett Pate, Linda Quiroz, Trina Henderson de Torres and Todd Watne.