Data-Driven Decisions on Effective Performance Measures of English Learners

Delighted to have contributed a chapter and be included among esteemed colleagues in Shelley Wepner and Dee Gomez co-edited and much needed book. Challenges Facing Suburban Schools Promising Responses to Changing Student Populations.  Many of us might not realize the rapid demographic changes that are occurring in our nation’s suburbs and the complex productive challenges that educators who work in them are experiencing.  In this edited book, each chapter addresses the cultural and linguistic changes ...Read More


Excited to present a Pre-Conference Institute on Harnessing the power of partnerships and a session on Unleashing the power of academic language at the annual MATSOL conference. If you are attending, please come by to say hello!

Interactions Matter:  impact learning through student, classroom, family and community partnerships

by Debbie Zacarian and Michael Silverstone Whether you are an administrator, teacher or a parent–a fan of standardized testing-indexed sanctions, or an advocate for student-directed learning experiences, there is one point of agreement that we all share. We want all students to feel and be successful.  For well over a decade, success has been measured by federal and state accountability standards.  For some groups of students, the testing outcomes and graduation rates reflect progress–for others, ...Read More

Our public and personal histories: the journey toward educational equity

 Our public and personal histories: the journey toward educational equity is a powerful blog.  Full disclosure, its author, Dan Alpert, is the editor of three of my books and a soon-to-be fourth.  I found his personal and public voice to be powerful for many reasons.  Many of us live with the hope that the legacy of Brown v BOE and the Civil Right Movement will lead to better outcomes for the very groups that they were intended.  However, data on high school graduates shows us all that underserved populations continue to be among the most underachieving and vulnerable or at-risk of failing school.  While we might like to think of equity as racially, culturally, economically, and linguistically neutral, we cannot help but see the stark differences in outcomes.  Perhaps the word underserved is an appropriate one as it implies the need for us to move toward strengthening the ways in which we serve the most vulnerable students.  Many, including me, suggest that the gap is between students who carry academic language to, in and from school versus those who are learning it while attending school.  We should not think of this difference as a deficit or use deficit-based language (such as semi-literate and illiterate).  Rather, our willingness to deeply understand and draw from the sociocultural, literacy, academic, and thinking skill assets of our students is an important first step toward equity, access and engagement. It also is the path to do what Dan suggests as: “the work of relationship-building, honoring home cultures, setting high expectations, and building inclusive classroom communities that honor individual differences.”

Unleashing the power of academic language in this free webinar

On April 2nd at 3PM PST and 6PM EST, Corwin Press is hosting a free webinar where I will be presenting on academic language as it applies to the general population of students including those who possess school language and those who are learning it while attending school.  To register, simply click on the link below and press the red box labeled Register for Free Webinar.