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Promoting Achievement

for Students with Limited or
Interrupted Formal Education
Office of Program Administration and Accountability
2016 Coordinators’ Technical Assistance Academy
August 2-4, 2016

Presentation Focus Areas
• State provisions for educating English learners
(Ages 18-22)
• Who are Students with Limited or Interrupted
Formal Education (SLIFE)?
• What the research reveals
• Chesterfield County Public Schools
SLIFE Fast Track Program
• Supporting resources

State Provisions for
English Learners
(Ages 18 – 22)

Regulations: Admission of Certain
Persons to Schools and Tuition Charges
School boards may accept and provide
programs for students:
• for whom English is a second language;
• who entered school in Virginia for the first
time after reaching their 12th birthday; and
• who have not reached 22 years of age on or
before August 1 of the school year.
No tuition shall be charged for these students,
if state funding is provided for such programs.
Source: Code of Virginia § 22.1-5.(A)(7)(D)

• School divisions must accept English learners
(ELs) who are 17 years and younger.
• ELs must be allowed to finish the school year if
they reach 18 years old before the end of the
school year.
• School divisions may choose to accept ELs who
are between 18 to 22 years old if they entered a
Virginia school division for the first time after
their 12th birthday.

• If the division chooses to accept ELs between
the ages of 18 to 22, school divisions must
ensure equity in the application of local policies.
• The same policies must be applied to older
ELs as to any students entering the school
division between the ages of 18 and 22.

• The same entrance policies must be in
place for older ELs at all high schools
within the division jurisdiction.

• There should be consistency in the
evaluation of EL student transcripts at
all high schools within the division

• The same core curriculum and
instructional programs and
services and the same core
language instruction programs
and services must be provided
to ELs at all high schools within
the division jurisdiction
regardless of age.

Who are SLIFE?
Margarita Calderon suggests that SLIFE
usually have experienced one of the following
• Newcomers who have had two or more
years of education interrupted in their native
• Students who attended school in the U.S.,
returned to their native country for a period
of time, and returned to the U.S.

Who are SLIFE?
• Received kindergarten instruction in
English (L2), 1st and 2nd grade in their first
language (L1), then returned to L2 in 3rd
• Attended U.S. schools since kindergarten
but have language and literacy gaps due to
ineffective instruction

Who are SLIFE?
• Attended education in one location for a few
months, then moved to another location for
a few months, and perhaps had some
weeks in between these changes when they
did not attend school

Who are SLIFE?
Andrea DeCapua, William Smathers & Lixing
Frank Tang offer the following indicators of
• Lack basic academic skills and concepts,
content knowledge, and critical-thinking
skills and may not be literate in their native

Who are SLIFE?
• Confront the challenges of learning English
and becoming proficient in a prescribed
body of knowledge and skills, while
simultaneously preparing for high-stakes

Who are SLIFE?
• Have limited time to accomplish all
requirements successfully in order to
graduate from secondary school

What the Research Reveals

What is required of SLIFE?
Expected to perform in schools while facing
cultural dissonance

Everyone develops different learning
paradigms based on how they experience

Prior experiences shape how
SLIFE view the world and
understand learning.

What is different?
Western-style formal educational systems
versus informal ways of learning

Difference continues when…
English learners are located in:
• refugee camps;
• rural areas; or
• urban areas with poor infrastructures.

Resulting in…

Limited educational opportunities
Missed years of education
Exposure to informal education
Learning that stems from sociocultural
practices of their families (farming, trade,

Instructional Resources to
Support SLIFE

Preventing Long-Term
English Learners

Dr. Margarita Espino Calderón
• Professor Emerita, Johns Hopkins University. She is a
consultant for the U.S. Department of Justice and Office of
Civil Rights. Her research interest focuses on professional
development, effective schools, and language and literacy
development of English language learners.

Dr. Liliana Minaya-Rowe
• Professor Emerita, School of Education at the University of
Connecticut. Her research interests, publications, and
teaching include teacher education, literacy, bilingual program
development and implementation, and discourse analysis of
Preventing Long-Term ELs: Transforming Schools to Meet Core
Standards. Corwin. 2011. ISBN 978-1-4129-5549-2

Conclusions from Committees, Panels,
and Research
• Effective teaching is the dominant
factor in student learning.

• Certain school structures enable
effective teachers.

Conclusions from Committees, Panels,
and Research
• Effective instruction is nested in
effective school structures.

• Success with ELs is nested in
teacher success.

Preventing Long-Term
English Learners
Provides the “tools for schools” to
implement ten basic components that
cut across the following:
1. Language of instruction;
2. School settings; and
3. Teacher and student

Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm
Innovative instructional model specifically
designed to transition SLIFE to mainstream
MALP® is a culturally responsive teaching
model for struggling English learners of any

• Dr. Andrea DeCapua, New York University
• Works with educators nationally and
internationally exploring culturally responsive
ways to address the needs of struggling ELs
• Dr. Helaine W. Marshall, Long Island University
• Major research focuses on culturally responsive
teaching for struggling ELs
Source: Promoting Achievement for English Learners with Limited
or Interrupted Formal Education: A Culturally Responsive
Approach, Principal Leadership, February 2015

Two Fundamental Principles

1. SLIFE can achieve academically
2. Possible through a mutually
adaptive approach

Educators must:
• avoid viewing SLIFE through the lens of
mainstream United States cultural
• take a culturally responsive stance

MALP® Framework
Three Components






1. Conditions
(setting the stage)
• Develop a strong relationship between
educators, English learners, and their

1. Conditions
(setting the stage)
Immediate relevance
• Make learning relevant to the students
and relate content knowledge to students’
prior knowledge

Example of Condition
Young street vendors learn the basic
mathematics skills relevant to their day-to-day
lives rather than learning to solve word
problems for hypothetical situations.

2. Processes
(transition to mainstream classrooms)
Combining the learning processes the student
is accustomed to with those of Western

(transition to mainstream classrooms)
• Shared responsibility leading to individual

Example of Processes
• Teachers provide opportunities for SLIFE to
participate in group or pair work where they
share the responsibility while simultaneously
requiring them to complete a task that
requires individual accountability.

3. Activities
(focus on new activities for learning)
• Educators must provide SLIFE with
opportunities to acquire and practice new
ways of thinking so they can engage in the
new academic tasks.

Example of Activity
A Soviet Union farming student with minimal
literacy skills is asked to categorize the following:
a hammer, an axe, a log, a saw
Farming student’s viewpoint: discard the
hammer because the remaining objects were
useful in relationship to each other
Academic viewpoint: items are tools

MALP® implementation provides:
• Fertile spaces that
• foster academic engagement
• foster academic achievement

Helping Newcomer Students Succeed
in Secondary Schools and Beyond
Research project conducted by the
Center for Applied Linguistics
(CAL) consisted of the following:
• a national survey of secondary school
newcomer programs;
• compilation of program profiles into
an online, searchable database; and
• case studies of ten of these
programs, selected for their
exemplary practices.

• Dr. Deborah J. Short
• Director, Academic Language
Research & Training and Center for
Applied Linguistics

• Beverly A. Boyson
• Consultant Foreign Language
Education; Language Education and
Academic Development at Center for
Applied Linguistics

Findings of Study

The findings in this report show
there is no one set model for a
newcomer program.

Several Aspects of a Newcomer
Program that Work Well

Flexible scheduling
Careful staffing
Basic literacy development
Content area instruction to fill gaps
Extended time
Connections with families and social

CAL Fall 2016 Pilot

Newcomers in Your School:
Cultural Connections and
Instructional Strategies

Newcomer Toolkit

Released by the U.S. Department of
Education, June 2016

Highlights include…
• Discussion of topics relevant to understanding,
supporting, and engaging newcomer students
and their families;
• Tools, strategies, and examples of classroom and
schoolwide practices in action, along with chapter
specific professional learning activities for use in
staff meetings or professional learning
communities; and
• Selected resources for further information and
assistance, most of which are available online.

School Age Refugee Children in Virginia
Since October 2014*













Northern VA

























*Data Source: Virginia Newcomer Information System (VNIS)

Chesterfield County Public Schools
SLIFE Fast Track Program

SLIFE Begins at the Welcome Center
Interview and test
• The first “interview” should be relayed to
the school along with the W-APT scores
and mathematics screener results.
Background knowledge
• If stakeholders are culturally aware of the
SLIFE student’s needs, they can take a
proactive, culturally responsive stance.

Welcome Center SLIFE Checklist
• Set up all appointments and paperwork
completion so that cultural demands do not
impede starting school.
• Request SLIFE class placement and tutor
support from day one.
• Relay information to all stakeholders.

• Academic history and gaps should be
clearly stated.

Welcome Center SLIFE Checklist
• Reasons for lack of schooling should be
highlighted as this is often not a result of the
EL’s lack of desire to learn but the EL’s
situation in life.
• State the EL’s goals in education.
• Support elective choice.

• Supply school ready bag with materials.

Instructional Practices
Elementary School
Sample Newcomers Curriculum

Triage Tutors
Interconnectedness, Immediate Relevance, Transition Support

Instructional Practices Middle School
Processes and Conditions
• Bilingual SLIFE tutor to support math content
(Approximately 20 hours per week per ESOL Center)
• Pull-out for safe, judgement-free, ability-level support,
during enrichment
• Basic math skills with purpose and relevance
• Push-in to grade level math, to support the SLIFE student
• Newcomer curriculum designed to support acculturation
through SIOP model. SLIFE students are provided two
newcomer classes per day.
• ESOL Newcomer English
• ESOL Newcomer Language and Culture
• Math at grade level (tutor support)

Instructional Practices Middle School
• Yoga: stress relief and relationship building
• Personal bilingual communication
• Phone calls home to personally invite a parent or
guardian to an event has shown a dramatic increase
in parent participation

• School/District sponsored community events

Health department
Mental health department
Community College
Adult Education

Middle School Sample Newcomers’
Language and Culture Pacing Guide

Instructional Practices High School
The ESOL teacher will assess prior knowledge, motivate
through real life activities and set up pathways to success in
mainstream classes. Class size should be 15 and under
with five year graduation plan for students.

SLIFE ONLY daily schedule
• ESOL SLIFE English
• ESOL The Language of Math
• Pre-Algebra math (SLIFE tutor support)
Elective possibilities
• ESOL Newcomers Reading in the Content: Science
• ESOL Newcomers Language and Culture: Social Studies
• Elective choice/PE (credit)

Instructional Practices High School
Foster academic engagement and achievement
Bilingual SLIFE tutor to support math content
(Approximately 28 hours per week, per ESOL center)
• Pull-out for safe, judgement-free, ability-level support,
during enrichment
• Basic math skills with purpose and relevance
• Push-in to grade level math, to support the SLIFE

High School
Sample Language of Math Pacing Guide

SLIFE Fast Track Program
Eligibility: ELs 18-22
• Results of W-APT
• Zero or minimal high
school credits
• Age out prior to
completing required
coursework for

SLIFE Fast Track Program
• Rigorous English immersion program for ELs
18-22: limited to 12 students
• Program structured in monthly thematic units which
incorporate academic content, social, career and life
• Lessons based on the Sheltered Instructional
Observation Observation Protocol (SIOP) Model
• Lessons include WIDA-ELP Standards and division

SLIFE Fast Track Program
• Fast Track considers
ELs with goals of NOT
participating in a
formal high school
• Prepares ELs for adult
Pre-GED or GED

SLIFE Fast Track Program
Operates on a 4 by 4 schedule
• ELs are enrolled in ESL English 1 (fall)
• ESL English 2 (spring)
Supporting courses include:
• ESOL Reading in the Content (even days)
• ESOL Language and Culture (odd days)
Two elective classes per semester
• Advanced PE
• Computer Applications
• Sports Marketing
• Guitar
• Consumer Math

Supporting Resources
• Reaching Students with Limited or Interrupted
Formal Education Through Culturally Responsive
• Reframing the Conversation About Students with
Limited or Interrupted Formal Education: From
Achievement Gap to Cultural Dissonance
• Students with Limited or Interrupted Education in
U.S. Schools

Cultural Orientation Resource Center
Archived website provides information and access to
resources from the Cultural Orientation Resource (COR)
Center project

Supporting Resources
“How to Support English Learners with
Interrupted Formal Education”

Preventing Long-Term ELs, 2011, by Margarita Calderon
and Liliana Minanya-Rowe

Supporting Resources
• Breaking New Ground: Teaching Students with
Limited or Interrupted Formal Education in U.S.
Secondary Schools, 2011, written by Andrea
DeCapua & Helaine W. Marshall
• Meeting the Needs of Students with Limited or
Interrupted Schooling: A Guide for Educators,
2009,written by Andrea DeCapua, William
Smathers, & Lixing Frank Tang

Supporting Resources
Special Populations and Resources
Resource sections from Colorín Colorado offer specific
guidance for working with refugees, migrants, SLIFE,
newcomer immigrants, unaccompanied children, and
internationally adopted students.

Strategies, Strategies, and More Strategies
Presentation by Shyla Vesitis, Title I Specialist, DOE

WIDA Focus Bulletin: SLIFE: Students with Limited or
Interrupted Schooling in the Download Library under Resources/Bulletins

Judy Radford
ESL Professional Development Coordinator
(804) 786-1692

Stacy Freeman
Title III Specialist
(804) 371-0778

Louise Sutton
Title I/III Specialist
(804) 225-2901