Education profession Alison Bailey and researchers with Center X’s Northeast Region office will receive $2.37 million  over five years from the National Professional Development program, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, to expand personalized learning opportunities for students who do not speak English as their first language. 

Their work will support the Exc-EL Leadership Academy, done in partnership with public schools in Shelton, Connecticutt. Bailey will serve as principal investigator, and Jason Cervone, an evaluation specialist at UCLA’s Center X, will serve as project director.

The Exc-EL project, which is currently in New York school districts in Tarrytown and Ossining, will be expanded from four to 12 school sites, building on the nationally recognized work of UCLA’s Center X and the Dynamic Language Learning Progressions work of Bailey and colleagues at UCLA.

Early results from current research with Exc-EL schools have indicated a positive effect on reading and mathematics assessments for English learners from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Colombia. Professor Bailey says that early results of the U.S. Department of Education and Wisconsin Center for Education Research-funded DLLP project suggest that teachers can learn to support their students’ language and content learning by finding students’ “best fit” along a learning progression.

Teams of educators will be trained in research-based instructional techniques by Exc-EL coaches that have been proven to be effective with English learners. The teams will meet regularly to discuss students’ progress and explore their strengths and challenges, with the aim of differentiating instruction and creating effective school and community-based interventions for students. 

“Sustained, high-quality professional learning of educators is key for supporting successful learning environments and experiences of English learners. This grant signals the necessary commitment and investment in that vision of how teachers and students both learn,” says Bailey.

“Recognizing that English learners often deal with life issues well beyond the traditional school day, community partners will provide multiple supports for these students as well as their families to empower students and families to take an active role in learning, as well as in taking leadership roles within the community,” says Cervone.

Professor Bailey recently delivered a keynote address titled, “How to Best to Know What Our Students Know,” at the 14th International Curriculum Conference at East China Normal University in Shanghai, that highlighted the impact of a home language or additional language on student academic achievement assessment worldwide.