Academy empowers educators to be advocates for English learners

September 7, 2020
One of ACSA’s newest academies, the Access and Equity for English Learners Academy, is again breaking ground — this time in a virtual/online format that will expand its reach to even more education leaders. Participants will complete a two-hour synchronous online session from 9-11 a.m. on one Saturday each month. The additional eight hours a month will be asynchronous completed through ACSA’s Online Learning Center. “This learning model will open up academies to new audiences,” said Mary Gomes, ACSA Educational Services Executive for Academies. “Administrators who may already have experience with this type of learning will appreciate the online format, and administrators in more remote areas of the state will have access to participate.”  Academy Directors Angel Barrett, an LAUSD administrator, and Yvonne Contreras, former LACOE Director of Curriculum and Instruction, have always intended to use a virtual/online format for this academy. “We wanted to create an academy for the super-busy administrator or aspiring administrator who is working hard, family-oriented and needs a flexible learning environment that will be personalized for them,” Barrett said. “Many of the educators who want this support the most are located in ACSA regions where a physical academy is not a viable option.” For both collaborators, this academy is a labor of love. “We felt that there was a vacancy in the Academies,” Barrett said. “According to the California Language Census in 2019, there are over a million students who are English learners — that’s almost 20 percent of California students. The LCAP and California Dashboard ensure a measure of accountability. But if we are following Richard Elmore’s reciprocal accountability and we want someone to do something, we need to ensure they have the tools and support to complete the task.” The Access and Equity for English Learners Academy is designed to provide administrators with the most up-to-date information for instruction and compliance. Every participant will have exceptional resources for ongoing use — the academy makes a point to use live links so administrators have just-in-time information and the live links allow any changes to be automatically updated. Both Barrett and Contreras are experienced online educators at the university level. In this manner, they have developed a model combining the best of both the university class and the Academy formats. The Access and Equity for English Learners Academy follows a theme allowing each participant to determine a problem of practice and then use that lens to examine each session and build on their own reflections through both a personal workbook (a private tool between the participant and the directors) and discussion boards with their colleagues. Directors are also able to differentiate content so participants can choose videos, current research articles and websites based on their interest or problem of practice.   Another advantage of the academy’s format is the ability to bring in talent from across the state with no travel and minimal schedule disruptions. “Not only is the Academy designed for learning; we want participants to become empowered as advocates educationally and legislatively for our English learners,” Barrett and Contreras said. Gomes added, “This academy truly embraces and exemplifies ACSA’s strategic plan with an emphasis on equity.”
Access and Equity for English Learners Academy
What: Academy focusing on leadership for accountability, instruction, and advocacy for English language learners. When: 70 hours of professional learning over seven weekend sessions beginning Sept. 26. Where: Virtual/online meeting format Cost: $1,285 (ACSA member rate) Register:
Jump start your career with ACSA Professional Learning.

© 2020 Association of California School Administrators
ACSA EdCal logo.

Association of California School Administrators