Communication Series: Education and Research Supports for English Learners (ELs) during COVID-19

Communication #9: March 2021

Focus: Secondary Newcomer English Learners

CEEL continues to provide Education and Research Supports for ELs during COVID-19. This is the ninth publication in our Communication series based on CEEL’s research-based  Equitable Distance Learning for English Learners Design Principles (versión en español).

  • Voices from the Field - highlighting educators’ commendable and steadfast efforts to serve English Learners and Dual Language Learners in virtual learning spaces during these unprecedented times; 
  • Resources and Research - curated resources focused on ELs/DLLs across a variety of topics such as social and emotional learning, highlights of best practices for distance learning, instructional materials, professional learning in virtual spaces, leadership, and family-school partnerships.

A Voice from the Field – Megan Hagelis

Through her multiple roles, Megan Hagelis touches the lives of students, teachers, and families in ways that impact and transform systemic practices for one of our most vulnerable population of English Learner (EL) students – newcomers. Megan shares that her school site, James Rutter Middle School in Elk Grove Unified School District, enrolls the largest newcomer population in the district, one that has doubled in the last five years. Her school serves over 60% ever-ELs, 18% of whom have been in school for less than three years. Over the course of her 17-year career in education Megan has taught secondary students in numerous northern California school districts and has worked as a teacher, coach, Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), EL coordinator, and EL advocate in bilingual and structured English immersion settings. In her current role as an English Language Development (ELD) Teacher and EL Coordinator, Megan reports that although “boundaries are blurred during distance learning, my values haven’t shifted – it’s the howthat has shifted."She describes how she transitions from teaching a newcomer ELD class and integrated-English Language Arts classes during the school day to coaching fellow educators. She reflects on her steadfast approach to “accomplish what we need for the kids and their families” regardless of the role she is in.

To view the extended version of Voices of the field click here.

Secondary Newcomer English Learners: Resources and Research

Distance learning has brought many challenges for students, families and educators all over the U.S., resulting in significant impacts for vulnerable student populations such as English Learners. There are nearly 1.2 million English Learners in California and 31.4 percent of our diverse EL students are enrolled in secondary schools. Although most ELs are second and third generation immigrants, a large share of older EL students have recently come to the U.S.; about 35 percent of current EL students in grades 6-12 are foreign-born, compared to only 18 percent of foreign-born K-5 grade students.

In California and across the nation, the challenge of virtual learning is compounded by the digital divide along with limited access to English language supports, and the effects that the pandemic has had on immigrant families such as theirs. As California educators shift to designing and implementing hybrid and/or in-person learning models for students, the needs of secondary English Learners, especially newcomer students must be prioritized to ensure equity.

In each of our communications we will continue to highlight voices from the field and education and research resources as we walk this journey in partnership with our colleagues, fellow educators, advocates, and friends.

If you would like to view or download this Communication in full, please click on the following: Secondary Newcomer English Learners.

Previous Communications
View previous Communications in this Communications Series

Contact Us

Contact us at ceel@lmu.edu with comments, additional resources, or to share your story.