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Highest Aspirations

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Highest Aspirations

Ellevation Education

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On the Highest Aspirations Podcast, we engage in important conversations about the most rapidly growing student demographic in the United States - English Language Learners. We speak with educators and students, researchers and policy makers, and parents and community members about how we can help all students reach their highest aspirations. Join us on this important journey as we bring the vibrant ELL Community together around the topics that matter most to the students we serve.
 
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show series
 
How can we help colleagues, families and community members become advocates for dual language programs? What does it mean to truly embrace biliteracy? Why is embracing bilingualism good for all students? We discuss these questions and more in part 2 of a 2 part series with Sandra Medrano-Arroyo. Sandra Medrano-Arroyo presently works at Ellevation E…
 
On this special episode of Highest Aspirations, we're sitting down to speak with 2021 Ellevation Scholarship Winner Jesse Ding. Jesse Ding graduated as the class valedictorian from Wilmington High School in Wilmington, Massachusetts. She is planning to study computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. In the future, she hopes to become a roboti…
 
On this special episode of Highest Aspirations, we're sitting down to speak with 2021 Ellevation Scholarship Winner Sirenia Garcia from Deer Park ISD in Texas. Sirenia was born and raised in Texas and plans on attending the University of St. Thomas in Houston in the fall, where she will be studying Music Education and minoring in psychology. She ho…
 
How might growing up as a multilingual learner shape the message that educators communicate to their EL students and families about home language and learning English? What are some of the most important sources of research on dual language programs and how can they help school leaders and educators shape valuable learning experiences for all stude…
 
On this special encore episode, we revisit the topic of collaborating, co-planning, and co-teaching with content teachers with Tan Huynh. Tan is a career teacher specializing in language acquisition. Tan has taught students from fifth to twelfth grade in public schools, private boarding schools, and charter schools. Internationally, Tan has taught …
 
In this special episode of Highest Aspirations, we feature one of our 5 Ellevation scholarship winners, Paola Gutierrez. Paola recently graduated from Tahquitz High School in Hemet, CA. She is currently attending UCLA where she is studying Human Biology on a pre-med track. As an aspiring physician, she looks forward to caring for people in low-inco…
 
On this special encore episode, we revisit the topic of ensuring multilingual learners have highly qualified teachers to help them achieve their Highest Aspirations - with guests Amaya Garcia and Alexandra Manuel. The lack of teachers who have the training necessary to effectively support multilingual learners has been plaguing school districts acr…
 
How can teachers help students assert positive identities so they have the confidence necessary to achieve academic success and advocate for social justice in their schools and communities? What are some strategies teachers can use to infuse language concepts into content lessons while simultaneously providing students with the skills they will nee…
 
What current limitations do we face in our educational system when it comes to data collection about students with limited or interrupted formal education (or SLIFE students)? How can project-based learning and group work help support SLIFE students and their classmates so they can better learn from one another? What are a few steps educators can t…
 
How can teachers structure one-to-one student conferences to help ELs own their academic growth while also building relationships? What are some innovative ways we can leverage everything from testing data, student work artifacts, and portfolios to help students and teachers set and measure progress towards goals? How can schools make these confere…
 
What’s in a name, or in this case, a label? Why do many prefer the term “Emergent Bilingual” over other terminology like English learner, LEP, or even multilingual learner? On the 40th anniversary year of the Castañeda v. Pickard Case, what progress have we made and what do we still need to do to ensure the civil rights for our multilingual learner…
 
What are some ways mindfulness activities can help multilingual students succeed and how can teachers get started using them successfully? How can educators proactively elevate the voices of their students while decreasing teacher talk time? How can we apply concepts from exercise and other training programs to academic language instruction? We dis…
 
What are some easy ways that content teachers and ELL specialists can collaborate to better support their multilingual learners? How can schools and teaching teams build out systems for housing key instructional resources to support practices like scaffolding? What can educators do to ensure multilingual learners have equitable access to high-quali…
 
What are some steps that educators can take now to build positive relationships with students and their families this school year? What experiences can educators pull from to build empathy and appreciation for multilingual students and their families? How might we go beyond language so we can also build an understanding of diverse cultures, and how…
 
Why are content-specific and intentional language supports so critical for effective instruction of multilingual learners? How can we advocate for multilingual learner perspectives to be included in key processes regarding curriculum and instruction at school, district and state level? What role do professional development and formative assessment …
 
How might we seize the opportunity of a new school year as a chance to gather information on their multilingual learners, specifically the learning they may have done in languages other than English? How can teachers who aren’t comfortable speaking languages other than English facilitate and support their students’ learning in their home languages?…
 
How might new approaches to assessment create more equitable opportunities for multilingual learners? In what ways could local and professional accountability help motivate teachers to encourage students’ home language use? Why is it so important that relationships and a deeper understanding of our students be at the center of how we design and ana…
 
Welcome back to Highest Aspirations, an education podcast that focuses on how we can help maximize impact on multilingual learners. If you’d like to join us on the podcast or if you have an idea for a topic or guest, we want to hear from you. Take less than a minute to fill out our form at bit.ly/haptopics. As always, if you’re looking for great re…
 
Welcome to our season wrap up episode - and what a season it was. We’ve released 49 episodes and covered so many topics since August of 2020 - definitely a record for the 3 and a half year history of Highest Aspirations. For our season finale, we thought we'd take some time to reflect on what we’ve learned through so many rich conversations with ou…
 
What supports can a designated immigrant/refugee program provide for students and families that go beyond what a typical school or district may be providing? After the past year of interrupted learning, what can we learn from educators who have worked with SIFE students and newcomers - particularly when it comes to social-emotional needs? How are r…
 
How does trauma that migrant children experience manifest in the classroom, and what impact does it have on their ability to communicate and develop relationships at school? What can educators who do not share the lived experiences of their students do to best support them, and why is better representation so crucial? How can those entering higher …
 
Welcome back to the second episode in our two-part series with Professor K. David Harrison. Make sure to check out part one on Anchor or wherever you listen to podcasts, and visit our community page to find our key takeaways from the whole conversation, resources and more. How are languages inextricably connected to other aspects of society and wha…
 
How are languages inextricably connected to other aspects of society and what does that mean about preserving and valuing them? What strategies can educators of multilingual students use to incentivize their students to help keep their home languages thriving - even while they are drawn to use English as the language of record? How have globalizati…
 
How can we combat an “English-only” approach in education and what is the importance of calling out cross linguistic connections for English learners? What is “metabilingual awareness” and how does it inform how we understand and develop language? How should equity be considered, both for students enrolling in dual language programs and in the recr…
 
What unique challenges and opportunities do parent-driven mentor programs pose for EL students and families? How can schools and districts create mission aligned programs that support ongoing goals while offering new opportunities? What existing district programs and community partnerships can schools tap into in order to create a more robust and s…
 
How does “toxic stress” for students in the intersection of immigration and education manifest itself, and what are the long term effects it can have if not addressed? What are the most pressing concerns that educators have about their English learners as a result of the pandemic and what do they need to support them? How can educators, policy make…
 
What tools can we provide teachers to help make their instruction as efficient and effective as possible - particularly as we transition between remote, hybrid and in person settings? How can we give quality formative assessments in a virtual, hybrid and in person settings to gauge student progress, especially for ELs? What strategies for front-loa…
 
What effects do we see on educators from the second-hand trauma that they experience in the classroom? How can teachers best support their students to share their lived experiences and how can teachers respond when they do? Are there ways that the responses to trauma that immigrant children face can inform our response to the trauma students and te…
 
What data can be used to measure learning loss in English learners, and what long term impacts are most pressing? How is tech being used to accelerate learning for ELs and empower students to continue their learning outside of class? How can building out a robust STEM program motivate students to develop foundational skills? We discuss these questi…
 
What family engagement strategies are most effective in linguistically diverse communities? How might we empower families and siblings to help support EL student outcomes? How might recent policy changes impact schools with significant refugee or immigrant populations and inform the future of education? We discuss these questions and more with Juli…
 
How can the challenges that teachers continue to face in remote classrooms lead to positive changes - particularly when it comes to facilitating discussions and practicing language? How can teachers set their English learners up for success, both with accessing academic vocabulary and creating lower-stakes entry points of participation for students…
 
What steps can we take to strategically support English learners through learning loss while also prioritizing social and emotional well-being? What approach can districts take with professional development to support educators in identifying learning loss and teaching language development in this environment? How can schools use this experience wi…
 
What strategies can educators use in remote environments to increase learning capacity and promote student agency? What similarities and differences can we draw between what a language rich classroom looks and sounds like in-person versus virtually? How can routines support teachers and students when we transition back to in-person settings and beg…
 
How can incorporating routines into remote learning reduce stress and uncertainty for students while also supporting language development and discourse? What are some strategies that provide English learners with opportunities to develop mathematical thinking in remote and hybrid learning environments? How has the unfinished learning caused by the …
 
How are educators reaching English Learners and bilingual students in a border district during a pandemic, both in addressing immediate needs for support and in looking ahead at the impact of learning loss on the future of instruction? What techniques can educators use to identify different types of bilingual learners and evaluate the effectiveness…
 
How can districts, schools and educators identify and mitigate areas of Covid related learning loss among English learners? What is the role of professional learning in helping educators support English learners in content and language instruction as we trend toward more widespread in person learning? How can we be prepared to meet individual stude…
 
What strategies can we use to help students overcome the significant challenges associated with learning in a remote environment? How can we implement tried and true strategies like sentence stems, anchors of support, choral reading and others to help strengthen English learners academic language skills? How might teachers use newly acquired skills…
 
What can we learn from educators who have worked with English learners in hybrid learning models from the beginning of the pandemic? How can we use free built-in accessibility tools on devices to personalize learning for students? What are some simple strategies and tools we can implement to incorporate speaking, listening, reading and writing skil…
 
How can we go about converting top down approaches to professional learning to more relevant and engaging teacher centered sessions? What is the EdCamp model and how can it help structure professional learning opportunities to support teachers working with diverse groups of learnings? How can establishing relationships with community organizations …
 
How many times have you heard the expression “take an asset based approach to EL education”? We’ve certainly used the term on many occasions here on Highest Aspirations. But what does it really mean and what might we learn from school leaders working in Clarkston, GA - a community that has been called “the most diverse mile in America” and “the Ell…
 
How might we make math instruction more equitable for all students? Why is it so important for educators to recognize how their biases and beliefs affect their ability to deliver equitable instruction to English learners? How might we infuse language and culture into existing curriculum so they are a part of content instruction rather than a separa…
 
As schools rapidly shift from in-person, hybrid and fully remote instructional settings, there has been a renewed interest in adopting project based learning (PBL) strategies to keep students engaged through all the changes. To address this topic, we have re-released our interview with Elizabeth Leone, a passionate advocate for English learners and…
 
This episode is the culmination of our “In This Together” docuseries, where we follow 5 EL program directors from around the country to explore the challenges they face and how they’re overcoming them. Listen as our 5 panelists discuss how they are supporting their English learners in remote, hybrid and face to settings, what they are planning for …
 
What are some ways to address the challenge of differentiating for a wide variety of learners in both language learning and content mastery as we shift between in remote, hybrid and face to face instructional settings? How might we go about measuring student progress over the course of this academic year and what data should we be examining to ensu…
 
How are EL students and their teachers doing now that the back to school season has transitioned into what is normally a very busy time of the year? What can EL educators do to prepare for upcoming state assessments? How is collaboration between EL Specialists and content teachers evolving as schools begin to assess student progress since the start…
 
How might we expand on the workshop model for reading and writing to ensure English learners have the accommodations they need to learn? What is the role and responsibility of teachers during shared, guided, and independent reading and writing times? How can well-designed reading and writing activities help build learning communities and allow teac…
 
How are school districts implementing remote, in person and hybrid models all at the same time? What impact is this having on teachers, students and families they serve, particularly as it pertains to educational equity? What are some ways we can effectively identify and mitigate learning loss among English learners? We discuss these questions and …
 
Dr. Adrian Johnson, Superintendent of Schools at Hearne ISD in Texas, talks about how his district is taking a gradual approach to bringing students and teachers back to school buildings, what they have learned about school community exposure to COVID, making the most of quality time with students and more. This episode is part of our "In This Toge…
 
High School Literacy Coach Melissa Cabrera joins ESOL Director Vicky Saldala to discuss how she and her students are dealing with changes in learning environments, why differentiating and grouping students is still a challenge, how they are identifying and coping with learning loss and more. Melissa and Vicky's transparency and willingness to discu…
 
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