Supporting English Language Learners

Posted January 8, 2022
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Young Hispanic girl holding her backpack straps and smiling, starting at the camera, while in a library.

A grow­ing num­ber of chil­dren — 18.2 mil­lion — live in immi­grant fam­i­lies in the Unit­ed States. Many of these young peo­ple face steep chal­lenges as they learn Eng­lish and nav­i­gate an unfa­mil­iar edu­ca­tion­al system.

A Resource Roundup

Below is a col­lec­tion of resources fund­ed by the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion and devot­ed to sup­port­ing Eng­lish lan­guage learn­ers and their families.

A New Fed­er­al Equi­ty Agen­da for Dual Lan­guage Learn­ers and Eng­lish Learners

By The Cen­tu­ry Foundation

More than 10% of U.S. stu­dents in pre‑K through 12th grade are Eng­lish lan­guage learn­ers. This report out­lines pol­i­cy reforms that would improve the grad­u­a­tion rates and work oppor­tu­ni­ties for these young peo­ple. The pub­li­ca­tion is par­tic­u­lar­ly time­ly giv­en that the omnibus fed­er­al edu­ca­tion law — the Every Stu­dent Suc­ceeds Act — is due for reauthorization.

The Impacts of State High School Poli­cies and Grad­u­a­tion Require­ments on Stu­dents Learn­ing English

By Migra­tion Pol­i­cy Institute

This report explores the edu­ca­tion­al chal­lenges fac­ing Eng­lish lan­guage learn­ers in high school. It iden­ti­fies key state-lev­el poli­cies that sup­port high-school com­ple­tion — includ­ing grad­u­a­tion require­ments, place­ments for new immi­grant stu­dents and Eng­lish-learn­ing pro­gram design — and describes how these poli­cies can unique­ly impact stu­dents who are learn­ing Eng­lish. It also explores how states can pro­vide Eng­lish learn­ers with high-qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion­al expe­ri­ences while still giv­ing schools the flex­i­bil­i­ty to respond to local needs and circumstances.

Adapt­ing Two-Gen­er­a­tion Prac­tices to Bet­ter Sup­port Immi­grant Families

By Migra­tion Pol­i­cy Insti­tute and the Aspen Institute

This webi­nar series high­lights strate­gies for strength­en­ing two-gen­er­a­tion pro­gram­ming for immi­grant and refugee fam­i­lies. The webi­na­rs, avail­able online, each tack­le a dif­fer­ent top­ic. Con­tent cov­ered includes:

  • Build­ing Trust: a dis­cus­sion on build­ing trust with immi­grant and refugee com­mu­ni­ties. Speak­ers includ­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives from His­pan­ic Uni­ty of Flori­da, Den­ver Pub­lic Schools and Catholic Char­i­ties of the Dio­cese of Baton Rouge.
  • Work­ing With Immi­grant Fam­i­lies Regard­less of Immi­grant Sta­tus: a dis­cus­sion on design­ing and imple­ment­ing a two-gen­er­a­tion pro­gram that serves immi­grant fam­i­lies with mem­bers liv­ing in the U.S. with­out autho­riza­tion. Speak­ers includ­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Chica­go Com­mons and On the Move.
  • Grow­ing Lan­guage Skills: a dis­cus­sion on estab­lish­ing clear and com­pre­hen­si­ble com­mu­ni­ca­tion as part of offer­ing two-gen­er­a­tion ser­vices to immi­grant fam­i­lies. Speak­ers includ­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives from CAP Tul­sa and Char­lotte Bilin­gual Preschool.
  • Cul­tur­al Com­pe­tence Secrets to Suc­cess: a dis­cus­sion on con­nect­ing with and under­stand­ing the world­view of immi­grant fam­i­lies. Speak­ers include rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Arab Amer­i­can Fam­i­ly Sup­port Cen­ter and the Fam­i­ly Partnership.

Learn more about the needs of immi­grant chil­dren and their families

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