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Supporting English Learners: Resources for Leaders

About This Course

This course provides a set of resources designed to support educational leaders in driving educational change for English Learners. These resources guide educational leaders through a process of examining existing systemic thinking and structures around the education of English Learners, using organized tools to look more deeply at practices for ELs, and developing or refining a plan to propel systemic change and shift practices. The overall goal is for participating educators to better understand ELs in their context, including their schooling experiences, needs, and successes, and use what they learn to design and implement higher quality educational experiences that build disciplinary knowledge and skills.

Educators in the course will have access to videos, readings, and activities that help them to understand the EL context in their setting, create guiding frameworks such as a vision statement and language development framework, and craft a plan to improve teaching and learning for ELs.

Where appropriate, the course will address state-specific frameworks related to ELs, such as the New York State Blueprint for ELL Success, or the California EL Roadmap, and how participants can use guidance from these frameworks to shape their efforts.


This course is intended for district, state, or school-site leaders, EL administrators, or teachers of ELs. There are no prerequisites for the course. However, we encourage you to take the course along with a team of other educators from your district or school so that you can collaboratively engage with these resources.

Course Author

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Understanding Language

The contents of this course have been developed by staff at the Understanding Language Initiative. Understanding Language’s vision is to increase college, career, and community readiness for all students – especially English language learners (ELLs) – by transforming the quality of their educational experiences. The organization’s mission is to support educators and policymakers in transforming systems to advance equity for ELLs by illuminating the symbiotic ways students learn language and academic content. Housed at Stanford University and led by the nation’s leading English language learning and content area experts, Understanding Language (UL) is uniquely positioned with the research expertise, knowledge, relationships and partnerships to help educators successfully teach language and content together. The authors of the resources in this course include: Maria Santos, Kenji Hakuta, Steven Weiss, Richard Curci, and Annie Camey Kuo.

Frequently Asked Questions

What web browser should I use?

The Open edX platform works best with current versions of Chrome or Firefox. We do not recommend using Internet Explorer.

What is the timeline for this course?

This is a self-paced course, meaning that once you enroll and the course opens, you will be able to navigate through the course resources at your own pace.

Will Statements of Accomplishment be issued in the course?

We will not be issuing Statements of Accomplishment in this course. Future versions of this course may offer the opportunity to obtain a Statement of Accomplishment.