San Francisco Unified School District Services to Francisco Unified School District Services to English Learners The New Lau Action Plan September 2008

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  • San Francisco Unified School District

    Services to English Learners

    The New Lau Action PlanSeptember 2008

  • San Francisco Unified School District2

    Services to English Learners

    The success of Californias reform efforts depends on its abil-ity to raise the achievement of its EL students. Yet there is little evidence that the leadership of the state either understands this urgency or is prepared to address it. English learners in California, and in the nation, represent a potentially rich social and economic resourceif the state invests in them. With-out such investment, the future of California education looks grim.

    English Learners in California Schools: Unequal Resources, Unequal Outcomes

    The San Francisco Unified School District sees the achievement gap as the greatest social justice/civil rights issue facing our country today; there cannot be justice for all without closing this gap.

    Carlos A. Garca Superintendent, San Francisco Unified School District

  • San Francisco Unified School District 3

    Services to English Learners

    When you get older, you'll have to choose a career. And if you want a really good career, you have to speak more than one language to speak with your clients and people that work with you.

    4th Grade Student


    Thirty-five years ago, Chinese parents of students in San Francisco Unified School District sued the District for discrimination and failing to provide equal access to an education for their children who were limited in English. The case went to the Supreme Court of the United States where the Lau Decision determined that schools throughout the United States had an obligation to take action to ensure that limited English speaking children would not be denied access to education. The Lau Decision has set the foundation for schools all over the country to develop programs for English Learners.

    As a result of the Lau Consent Decree, SFUSD developed a Lau Action Plan describing the steps the District would take to provide full access for English Learners. Every year, SFUSD had to report to the courts its progress. Last year, it was determined that there were still practices in the district that limited access for English Learners, and a NEW Lau Action Plan would need to be developed. In 2007- 2008, SFUSD brought in a new Superintendent, under whose leadership, a new top-level leadership and management staff was hired. The new SFUSD administrative team is committed to a strong and powerful Lau Action Plan that speaks to the initial concerns of the Consent Decree and to the current conditions in the district that result in limited access to educational opportunity for the 15,813 English Learners who are enrolled in its schools.

    The revised Lau Action Plan has been written based upon an evaluation of how English Learners are doing in SFUSD; observations and concerns expressed by the Bilingual Community Council; a review of pro-grams and instruction conducted by an expert, Dr. Julie Maxwell-Jolly, hired by the U. S. Department of Jus-tice; issues raised by the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Multilingualism; concerns identified by the staff of the District's English Learner Services Team; and an analysis by external expert Dr. Laurie Olsen. This revised Plan addresses the following components:

    Proper Identification of English Learner Students Appropriate Placement of English Learners Access to Effective Programs Access to Specialized Programs & Services Instruction of English Learners

  • San Francisco Unified School District4

    Services to English Learners


    Staffing & Professional Development Parent Outreach & Involvement Monitoring Evaluation Reporting

    This document strives to bring the content of the new Lau Action Plan to San Francisco's larger community and to colleagues across the nation striving to provide a just, equitable, 21st century education to the English Learners they serve. In addition to the "actions" specified in the Lau Ac-tion Plan, we also provide a context for those actions by placing them within the parameters of the District's new Strategic Plan and its vision, goals, and objectives. While these latter parameters are not a part of the Lau Plan legal document, nonetheless, they represent a clear sense of the District's commitment to providing a powerful education for all its English Learners.

    Our most heartfelt intent is to become a model district that demonstrates how we can marry ex-cellence and equity to ensure that our English Learners experience 21st century success. As our Strategic Plan says, we are moving BEYOND THE TALK.

  • San Francisco Unified School District 5

    Services to English Learners

    Our Mission

    The mission of the San Francisco Unified School District is to provide each student with an equal opportunity to succeed by promoting intellectual growth, creativity, self-discipline, cultural and linguistic sensitivity, democratic responsibility, economic competence, and physical and mental health so that each student can achieve his or her maximum poten-tial.

    Our goals & objectives

    Access and Equity: Make social justice a reality.Diminish the historic power of demographics. Center professional learning on equity. Create an environment for students to flourish. Provide the infrastructure for successful learning.

    Student Achievement: Engage high achieving and joyful learners.Ensure authentic learning for every student. Prepare the citizens of tomorrow. Create learning beyond the classroom.

    Accountability: Keep our promises to students and families.Provide direction and strategic leadership. Create the culture of service and support.

  • San Francisco Unified School District6

    Services to English Learners


    Based on our best professional understanding of the nature of 21st century citizenship and the requirements that a global, creative-age society places on its participants, we believe that the fol-lowing vision of student success accurately reflects our responsibility in preparing English Learners to thrive in school and beyond.

    Every English Learner who enrolls in our schools will graduate from high school prepared for the option of enrolling in a four-year college or university, pursuing a successful career, and living a healthy life.

    Our English Learners will have the confidence, competence, and information needed to make positive choices for their future and will have demonstrated strength and competence in all areas needed for full participation in the 21st century economic, political, cultural, and intellectual life of our nation and global society. In addition to academic competency, these areas include multilingual and crosscultural competency; technological literacy; communication skills; aesthetic sensibility; critical and creative thinking, reasoning, and solution-seeking; social, environmental, and civic responsibility; and strength of character.

    We judge ourselves as successful to the degree that we assist our schools, district, and community in achieving this 21st century vision of student success for every group of English Learners we serve.

    Our Commitments Support the use of a research-based vision and set of core principles for effective and powerful

    English Learner programs that ensure achievement and sustainability; advance a transforma-tive approach; and build bilingualism, biliteracy, and multiculturalism.

    Systemically use English Learners languages, cultures, experiences as the foundation for new learning and success across the curriculum and beyond to the 21st century world.

    Promote simultaneous delivery of language/literacy development and academic content in-struction that closes the achievement and access gaps; increases college-going rates; builds 21st century skills and capacities; and achieves high levels of parent satisfaction and sup-port.

  • San Francisco Unified School District 7

    Services to English Learners


    SFUSD has developed a set of design principles. These are the essential operational principles that will define how we design and implement our scorecards; how we make decisions; and how we deal with negative patterns of thinking and doing that pop up as barriers and obstacles. These are unique foundational principles that will be the pillars that guide our decisions and ensure our success.

    STUDENT-CENTRIC ORIENTATIONEvery action we take is driven by our mission to serve students. At every level and in every instance, our decisions are based on the expectation that they will move us closer to our vision of student success.

    TRANSPARENCYThe stakeholders most impacted by decisions (including students and families) are involved from the beginning. We are ultimately accountable to them.

    ALIGNMENTResource allocations (people, time, and money) reflect the goals and priorities of our work.

    SERVICEThe boundaries we set liberate rather than suffocate. Our decisions about our systems and struc-tures make it easier rather than harder for people to get work done. Our procedures and protocols use the fewest and most-connected steps necessary to achieve their purpose.

    EMPOWERMENTWe are empowered to use own best judgment. We are authorized to act independently in the best interests of our clients, as guided by Beyond the Talk.

    RISK-TAKINGLearning requires taking risks. Mistakes are inevitable, but if we are focused and engaged, we can identify and avoid them in the future. As leaders, we are expected to show up and participate.

    BIG PICTUREThis transformational work is about systemic change and alignment, not incremental tweaking.

    CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENTWe must be active learners even as we seek to educate. We will adjust our strategies and tactics as new data becomes available, constantly learning from our mistakes.

  • San Francisco Unified School District8

    Services to English Learners

    Our core programmatic principles

    rich & affirming learning environmentsCreate a safe, affirming, and enriched environment for participatory and inclusive learning.

    empowering pedagogyUse culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogy that maximizes learning, actively accesses and develops student voice, and provides opportunities for leadership.

    challenging & relevant curriculumEngage English learners in well-articulated and age-appropriate curriculum that purposefully builds bilingualism, biliteracy, and multiculturalism. This curriculum is cognitively complex, co-herent, relevant, and challenging.

    high quality instructional resourcesProvide and utilize high quality standards-aligned instructional resources that provide equitable access to core curriculum and academic language in the classroom, school, and community.

    valid & comprehensive assessmentBuild and implement valid and comprehensive assessment systems designed to promote reflec-tive practice and data-driven planning in order to improve academic, linguistic, and sociocultural outcomes for English Learners.

    high quality professional preparation & supportProvide coherent, comprehensive and ongoing professional preparation and support programs based on well-defined standards of practice. These programs are designed to create professional learning communities of administrators, teachers, and other staff to implement the PROMISE vi-sion of excellent teaching for English Learners.

    powerful family & community engagementImplement strong family and community engagement programs that build leadership capac-ity and value and draw upon community funds of knowledge to inform, support, and enhance teaching and learning for English Learners.

    advocacy-oriented administrative & leadership systemsProvide advocacy-oriented administration and leadership that institute system-wide mechanisms to focus all stakeholders on the diverse needs and assets of English Learners. These administra-tive and leadership systems structure, organize, coordinate, and integrate programs and services to respond systemically to English Learner needs.

  • San Francisco Unified School District 9

    Services to English Learners


    EQUITY-CENTERED PROFESSIONAL LEARNING INITIATIVECreating and sustaining professional learning communities is essential to the pursuit of equity in our classrooms, our schools and our district. Board members, staff, students, families, and our partners need to ask hard questions, look honestly at inequitable practices and policies, hold our-selves accountable like we would with those we care most about, and embrace the uncertainties and tensions inevitably involved in equity-centered change. This initiative will increase equity-cen-tered conditions and structures within SFUSD so that we can deliberately and explicitly challenge all forms of inequity, learn from each other, and celebrate our accomplishments.

    21ST CENTURY LEARNING INITIATIVEWe are educating children to a world that doesnt exist anymore. Learning a second or third lan-guage is required in other countries like China, where students often begin language study in el-ementary school. Will all of our students be prepared to address the deepest social and political is-sues facing our country if we dont change what we are teaching? Will all our students be prepared to work with people from other countries or to open businesses abroad? We recognize the urgency to move our education system into the 21st century. We must better prepare all of our students to succeed in and shape an increasingly competitive world, one already divided by socio-economics, language, and race. Our district cannot accomplish this work with a 20th century education model that uses a one-size-fits-all approach to learning, offers a diluted and narrow curriculum, and tests students using limited assessment systems. A 21st century education should build on a founda-tion of personalized, relevant learning meaningful and engaging for each student. Our students must learn from and collaborate with peers of different races, religions and origins. For truly socially conscious and globally competitive students, we must also embed 21st century learning, such as technological literacy and critical/creative thinking skills, in all the subjects.

    PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMBuilding on the idea that everyone, from students to the superintendent, must have sufficient resources, information, and support to have efficacy in their endeavors, SFUSD is designing and implementing a comprehensive system of performance management. This system is necessary to create the culture of leadership for equity in support of the objectives described in our District Scorecard. The performance management initiative will focus our conversations on District Score-card data so that all staff know and understand their role in supporting student achievement, are provided the support and professional development required for...


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