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Meeting the Needs of Secondary Newcomer ELLs Through A Rigorous Curriculum

A guest post  Teresa Vignaroli, ELL Supervisor, Loudoun County Public Schools, Virginia; Julie Baye, ELL School Improvement and Accountability Specialist, Loudoun County Public Schools, Virginia; Giuliana Jahnsen Lewis, ELL Staff Development Trainer, Loudoun County Public Schools, Virginia Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author(s) and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning.   Like many other districts in the nation, Loudoun County Public Schools has experienced an influx of older English Language Learners (ELLs). Currently, nearly twenty-seven percent of our high school ELLs are proficiency level 1 students; forty-five percent are combined proficiency levels 1 and 2 students. These students bring a myriad of situations and challenges that include varying ethnic backgrounds, low socioeconomic status, differing levels of formal education, and special needs status. The varying language learner types and their unique needs indicate that there is no one-size-fits-all service delivery model nor one intervention that addresses, in its entirety, the best practices in service delivery models for high school ELLs. Research, however, indicates that ELLs must have access to standards-aligned curriculum that is rigorous and grade-level appropriate.
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The Action Areas Tool: Using Assessment Data to Inform Instruction

In his recent guest blog post, Trey Duke examined whether or not students are being overly assessed. He theorized that the assessments aren't the problem, it is how educators use the data that is the problem. He said, "Having data should not be the priority; knowing what the data tells us should be the priority." Teachers' time is precious. Between planning lessons, other responsibilities, and actually teaching there isn't a lot of time left in the day to sit down and analyze test results! Imagine Learning has designed a tool that is meant to help teachers by analyzing the data for them. That tool is the Action Areas Tool.
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Spring into Action contest winners

Over the past month, we have been running a Spring into Action contest for Imagine Learning teachers and school site experts. Teachers were asked to try our new Action Areas™ tool, and then tell us how it worked to enter a contest for an iPad mini. We are happy to see that thousands of teachers are now using the Action Areas tool! Drum roll, please . . . . The new owners of an iPad mini are: Kasi Davis, a site expert from Asbell Elementary Raquel Jaeger, a teacher from Whittier Elementary   Congratulations to our winners! Winning an iPad is awesome, but knowing how to use the Action Areas tool is pretty great too. Teachers love the Action Areas tool because it pinpoints which skills students are struggling with and provides resources (printouts and activities) for immediate intervention. By grouping students together who are having trouble in the same area, the tool also forms instant intervention groups. So the Action Areas tool simplifies intervention. And simplified intervention means more happy teachers and more kids on track. Happy day.
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New Action Areas tool allows for immediate intervention

Imagine Learning version 13 includes the new Action Areas tool—giving teachers the intervention resources they have been asking for. The new tool assists teachers by identifying which students need help and pinpointing the skills that are giving them trouble. Instant Data Equals Instant Intervention The Action Areas tool allows for immediate intervention by grouping students together according to their needs. The tool provides a wealth of supporting content that can be used for guided practice. And teachers can instantly launch Imagine Learning activities and printouts directly from the tool itself.
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Behavior interventions for students with special needs

If you feel like more of your time is spent controlling your class than teaching them, it might be time for a new strategy. In Managing Classroom Behaviors, a recent article from Autism Society’s magazine, the Autism Advocate, education and children’s specialists Leah Gongola and Jennifer Sweeney shared two reinforcement strategies that teachers can use to reduce the time spent reprimanding student behaviors.
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