This week, Arabella senior director Lydia Guterman moderated a session titled “Collaborating to Meet the Needs of English and Dual Language Learners” at the Grantmakers for Education Annual Conference in Washington, DC. The session explored the most pressing needs, promising opportunities, and innovative approaches for improving the education of EL and DLL students.
One such approach harnesses the power of collaboration to strengthen educational supports for children learning English either at the same time as their home language or after they’ve already mastered another language. For example, the English Learners Success Forum (ELSF)—discussed in the GFE session—creates connections between, on the one hand, leading researchers and educators in dual language acquisition and, on the other hand, content developers creating classroom materials, ultimately increasing the supply of high-quality K-12 instructional materials for the growing English learner population in the United States.
Arabella has supported ELSF—a donor collaborative hosted at the New Venture Fund and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust—to develop operational and governance structures, develop communications materials, and build connections among funders and practitioners working on this issue.
“ELSF is tackling one of the most timely and urgent needs in K-12 education with a fresh approach,” Guterman says. “By connecting curriculum developers with practitioners and researchers, they can ensure curricula are informed by evidence and practice, which will help give educators the tools they need to narrow the achievement gap for English learners.”
The GFE session was sponsored by the McKnight Foundation and featured panelists Crystal Gonzales of the English Learners Success Forum, Delia Pompa of the Migration Policy Institute, and Bo Thao-Urabe of the Coalition of Asian American Leaders.
Arabella also manages the Dual Language Learners Funder Learning Network, a broad coalition of national and regional funders who convene to learn and strategize together about making smart investments to advance research, policy, and practice priorities to improve outcomes for ELs and DLLs birth to age eight.