CoverWelcome to TELLSyllabus for Family, School, and Community PartnershipsExplanation of the TemplateTotal Points Preparation for Session One Pre-Homework Due Session 1Session One: Community, Assumptions, and PTA StandardsLA 1.1: Learning about Ourselves as Cultural BeingsLA 1.2: Identifying and Reviewing Community AssetsLA 1.3: National PTA Standards LA 1.4: National PTA Standards -- AssessingLA 1.5: Uncovering Assumptions about HeritageLA 1.6: Major Course AssignmentsHW 1.1 Reflection on My Practice with Families and CommunityHW 1. 2 Engaging Funds of Knowledge HW 1.3 One Day in the Life of a Child HW 1.4 Explaining the Assets in My School NeighborhoodHW 1.5 Exploring School and Community Partnershiping through PTA StandardsHW 1.6 Reviewing Major Projects Session Two: Preparing to Cross BordersLA 2.1: VideoEthnography Student ShareLA 2.2: Share your Asset MapLA 2.3: Home Visits, Cultures, and PracticesLA 2.4 Community Partners LA 2.5: National PTA StandardsLA 2.6: Title 1 LawHW 2.1: Reflection on Actions Taken and Learning HW 2.2: Identifying White Privilege HW 2.3: Beginning the Family Profile HW 2.4: Go On a School Field TripHW 2.5: Research Facts about Your SchoolSession Three: Family and Community EngagementLA 3.1: Reviewing Analysis of My Invisible BackpackLA 3.2: Work on the Family ProfileLA 3.3: Office of Civil Rights RoleLA 3.4: Serving EL's in Schools and in Classrooms LA 3.5: Exploring Community Engagement through ExamplesHW 3.1: Reflections on Session 3HW 3.2: Family Profile Major AssignmentHW 3.3: A Teacher's Perspective on Family Involvement HW 3.4: Partnership PlanHW 3.5: Beliefs About PovertySession Four: Collaboration LA 4.1: Studying Students LA 4.2: Organizing for Partnerships LA 4.3: How WIDA Can Help ParentsLA 4.4: Expanding Understanding of People in PovertyLA 4.5: Comparing Living Conditions across The World through PhotosHW 4.1: Weekly ReflectionHW 4.2: How Does Your School Compare HW 4.3: Understanding Global PovertyHW 4.4: Uncovering Your Experiences with Race and PrivilegeHW 4.5: Completing Your Family ProfileHW 4.6: Complete Your Partnership PlanSession Five: Exploring Community ResourcesLA 5.1: Poverty and ChoicesLA 5.2: Understanding Issues Surrounding Student Trauma on My TeachingLA 5.3: Developing Deeper Knowledge about PovertyLA 5.4: Developing Social-Emotional Strategies to Address Student NeedsLA 5.5: Life on the EdgeHW 5.1: Reflecting on My Work HW 5.2: Exploring My Own Socioeconomic ClassHW 5.3: Examining Assumptions about Immigrant Families HW 5.4: National PTA Standards HW 5.5: Reviewing and Completing the Family Profile and Partnership Plan AssignmentsHW 5.6: Preparing to Take a Position of Advocacy for ELs and Their FamiliesSession Six: High Expectations English LearnersLA 6.1: Sharing the Family Profile AssignmentLA 6.2: Sharing Partnership PlansLA 6.3: Exploring Further Teacher Beliefs and Family EngagementLA 6.4: Learning About ESSA Plans LA 6.5: Organizing for Advocacy for ELs and Their FamiliesHW 6.1: Reflecting on my WorkHW 6.2: Preparing the Final Major Assignment HW 6.3: Responding to the Impact of Experiences of ImmigrationHW 6.4: Building Resilience HW 6.5: Reviewing an Example of an Advocacy PositionHW 6.6 Revisiting My Beliefs about Teaching Diverse StudentsSession Seven: Responding to Student and Family NeedsLA 7.1 Becoming a Champion TeacherLA 7.2 Responding to the Impact of Trauma and Building ResilienceLA 7.3: Preparing for AdvocacyHW 7.1 Reflecting on My WorkHW 7.2 Reconsidering Engaging with Families Session Eight: Advocating for Students and FamiliesLA 8.1: Teachers Advocating Together LA 8.2 Revisiting My Thinking
Family, School, and Community Partnerships

LA 3.4: Serving EL's in Schools and in Classrooms

Exploring Pat's Story


Learning Outcome Pedagogical Intent Student Position

Understand and apply knowledge of how cultural identities impact language learning and school success by creating an environment that is inclusive of all students.  

Assessment: 25 pts.

TA: 30 Minutes

Teachers can speak up for change in programs when they know better ways of working with students and families and are aware of their own biases.

Students have studied conscious and unconscious bias as well as laws governing the teaching of English Language learners.  They read an event that brought change to a school and apply it to their respective schools.


  1. In groups, read “Pat’s Story” which is posted here immediately following the directions.
  2. The story reveals how ELs  can sometimes be overlooked.   
  3. After reading the story, in your group discuss what unsubstantiated assumptions (unconscious bias) that teachers hold about ELs and their families. Consider the way that  assumptions and stereotypes played a role in the story.
  4. Share experiences as you consider your school’s program for working with English Language learners.  
    1. Does your school program for ELs help these students or does it harm them?   
    2. Are students pulled from the classroom to attend ESL classes?
    3. Do ESL students miss out on important classroom activities and learning to go to ESL?
    4. Does every teacher teaching ESL students have an ESL endorsement?
    5. Are parents included in your school following the National PTA Standards? The Office of Civil Rights Requirements?
    6. Do parents know how to ‘speak up' for the child to advocate for better systems of helping students learn English?
    7. Is your school or district under pressure from OCR to change ‘the way we’ve always done it’? 
  5. In relationship to the story and your responses to the questions posed and your experiences in your groups pause and identify the ways in which your school is and has been successful with support the language and learning of ELs Also consider the ways in which your school or classroom practices are not working and might need adjustment.    Suggest possible changes to each other. 

  6. Create a list of strategic changes you could propose in faculty or district meetings.  

Pat's Story

My last 4 years of work in Salt Lake City School District was as a mentor for new teachers. I was assigned to my first non-Title 1 school where I mentored 3 new teachers.  This was an eye-opening experience for me as I had always taught in Title 1 schools for my entire career.  It was enjoyable to be there and work with the staff and my teachers.  The school had 63 ELLs attending out of 500 students and was in a very affluent area on the east bench. 

I arrived one day after being with several of my other teachers I mentored, and as soon as she saw me, the principal said, “Pat, I need to talk to you.  Can you come to my office right away?” In my brain, I was thinking ‘oh, no, which one of my 3 teachers here did something she shouldn’t have?’ I left my things in the faculty room and immediately went to the office.  

Rae, the principal, asked me to shut the door.  I did, and sat down across from her, and she immediately told me that the district equity office people had visited the school earlier in the day.  With a sigh of relief, I commented that I was sure they were pleased with what they saw.  Rae’s reply to me was that the question they had asked her was: “What is your school doing for your 63 students who are ELLs?” 

My response was, “Well, what did you say?” 

She said that she had described that when she goes into classrooms, she notices that teachers are pulling groups to work with at a table a lot.   

“So, when they are working with groups, are they building academic language or background knowledge with those students?” I said. 

“I’m not sure,” she stated.  “I just thought they were doing something to help those kids with the language.” 

My next thought was, I wonder why they asked that question.  So, I asked, “Why don’t you pull up your last three years of test scores.  Maybe that will give us a clue as to why they came today.” 

Rae went to her computer and pulled up the data.  This was a very eastside school in the district, and usually their test scores are in the mid 90s.  I was a bit surprised that this school’s test scores averaged 82%.  Quite a bit below my expectation. 

suggested, “Try disaggregating the data and let’s look at the scores then.  Take out your English language learners and see what that does to the percentages.” 

She did, and we were both surprised to see that without those 63 students included, the school average was 92%.  Quite a difference.  Then we looked at the scores of the English language learners by themselves, and noticed that their scores had plummeted to 27%!  Quite a difference, too.  Rae and I were both appalled by that figure.  Most of these ELLs are children of parents who teach at the U of U or are students there.  They come from educated families, but the teachers had assumed that they didn’t need to worry about them.   

In my head, I was thinking ‘Just 4 years ago I taught the BYU ESL endorsement classes right here at this school because so many teachers had enrolled in the classes.  What did they not get?  I really believe that because these students’ parents were educated, the assumption was that they didn’t need any help. The teachers hadn’t realized that background knowledge and academic vocabulary work was needed for the students to really grapple with and understand the learning that English speakers had already known.  

Rae asked me what I thought they should do to improve those test scores.  I told her my thinking, and she asked if I would do a faculty meeting training the following Monday to remind teachers of what they need to do when working with ELLs. 

I responded to her that I would be happy to do that, but only if she would begin by describing the visit from the district personnel and then show the faculty the test scores.  When the teachers saw the difference in scores between native English speakers and second language speakers, there was a big communal gasp.  We reminded ourselves that one should never assume that any student gets everything we do along the way without informal assessment to measure it. 

Together, we agreed that they would immediately begin working on background knowledge and we came up with many ways to teach vocabulary.  They agreed to end the year by working harder with ELLs and they began the next year armed with an arsenal of vocabulary strategies and practices to use. 

Always remember: to assume that every student ‘gets it’ right away can become a very disabling experience for the students who need it.  Teachers now were aware that they had sorely neglected this group of students across all the grade levels.   

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