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EL RISE! Year One Reflection

As part of state support for enacting the visionary 2017 CA English Learner Roadmap policy, the legislature and California Department of Education funded two Educator Workforce Incentive Grants, of which EL RISE! (English Learner Roadmap Implementation for Systemic Excellence) is one.

This post takes a look at the learnings from our first year of implementation.

EL RISE! Implementation Goals
  1. Increase educator knowledge of the CA English Learner Roadmap.
  2. Build skills and strategies for implementing evidence-based practices.
  3. Support development of a shared vision and priorities for local planning.
  4. Promote design and sustainability of research-based language acquisition programs, including dual language programs.
  5. Develop local policies and LEA systems focused on EL needs.
  6. Strengthen COE capacity to support LEAs for English learner success
Professional Development during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Like many sectors in Education, those coordinating Professional Development/Learning opportunities were faced with the challenge of having to adapt to a virtual setting. This challenge forced our design team to think of new approaches to professional development. What we found was that not only did our First Year design meet our learning goals, but it also provided an important support network among the County Offices of Education leads who are part of EL RISE! and provided those in attendance with a valuable network of peers who were ready to connect and discuss how they could overcome the challenges of the pandemic together, in particular addressing the challenges faced by English learners. As Districts start to reopen and we approach Year Two of ELRISE!, our Design Team has taken some learnings into consideration: 

  • The virtual setting created new opportunities for better accessibility and equity. As a result, we have looked to continue and build on our  virtual professional development offerings and transition as appropriate to  a Hybrid model for Year Two. This will ensure we can continue to provide support for those with a preference for virtual attendance. 
  • There is an additional need for professional development/learning  around  Programs and Services for  Long Term English learners (LTELs) and meeting the unique needs of  Newcomers. For Year Two, we have expanded our offerings to include these crucial areas of need that were identified during our Year One sessions. 
Year One Impact & Participation

Building on existing relationships Californians Together had with several county offices really helped spur engagement. Twenty counties signed our letter promising to be part of the grant and in Year One, all of those counties participated even with the challenges of a virtual setting. In total, EL RISE! serviced 547 Districts and Organizations from September, 2020-June, 2021.

Summary of Year One Resources
What Year One participants had to say

“This training and the abundant resources have been one of the best professional learning sessions I have attended in many years! Thank you!”

“I am excited to try these new things in our classroom and school in order to continue to build those important connections with our families.”

“These were some fantastic resources on how to explicitly make the incredibly crucial ideas reflected in the Roadmap principles come to life.”

“I am leaving today’s training feeling really inspired.”

“Presenters were some of the best I’ve ever had! Thank you for your expertise and obvious thoughtful creation of material and preparation!”

“Thank you for all the tools and resources! I am so excited to do this work and have a community of practice to lean on.”

Looking Ahead to Year Two
New Offerings
  • Creating Conditions for Dual Language Learners to Thrive in Early Education
  • Developing and Strengthening Programs and Services to meet the Needs of LTELs 
  • Elementary Coaching to Enact the English Learner Roadmap 
  • English Learner Master Plan Institute: Designing Local Policy aligned to the CA EL Roadmap
  • Integrated and Designated ELD Strand for Secondary teachers
  • Meeting the Unique Needs of Newcomers in the Classroom
  • Fall Webinar: Preparing to Lead Integrated and Designated ELD
Want to participate?

For more information about ELRISE! professional learning opportunities contact 

Dr. Margarita Gonzalez-Amador, Project Administrator

Victoria Weiss, Project Specialist

There are three main agencies leading the work of EL RISE!: Californians Together , Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL), and Loyola Marymount University’s Center for Equity for English Learners (CEEL). Under CaliforniansTogether’s leadership, these three agencies have formed a Design Team to design research-based professional learning and to ensure coherence across the professional learning efforts for multiple roles and across the state. In addition, all three play a role in delivering professional learning opportunities and technical assistance to the field as part of this grant – drawing upon many years of designing demonstration projects, providing professional learning and technical assistance to the field of English Learner education, and creating tools and resources for implementation of research-based practices.

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