Colleagues working together
Teacher PD | Leadership PD | Systemic PD

Capistrano USD Multilingual Learner Initiative


Work alongside secondary teachers, site leads, and district leaders to create a multi-year initiative for a large school district (approximately 57,000 students with 10% designated as English learners). The initiative includes long term, sustained improvements to the district’s programs, policies and instructional practices for maximizing the learning and growth of multilingual students. The project design is guided by our Professional Development Essentials for Educators of Multilingual Learners. 


During Year One (2022-23), UL-CSET staff provided teachers (each of whom taught at least one section of Designated English Language Development) with professional learning grounded in Understanding Language’s Designated English Language Fundamentals. Teachers implemented instructional strategies aligned with the fundamentals in their D-ELD courses. Site leaders developed initial professional learning plans and a working draft of student indicators to use during classroom observations and conversations with teachers based on UL's Integrated Language and Content Fundamentals. 


Teachers in year one shared videos of student-student interactions and analyzed these interactions with a focus on improving the quantity and quality of academic interactions during lessons. Site leaders shared the ILC Fundamentals and instructional routines with their staff and reflected on the impact that these practices and routines had on student learning and engagement.

Year two (2023-24) expands the initiative, with a deeper dive into curriculum development and analyses of student interactions. As teachers work closely with UL-CSET staff (live and virtually) to develop powerful units and lessons for their D-ELD courses, leaders visit classrooms to learn from lessons and reflect on how to sustain growth in students’ agency, use of language(s), content understandings, disciplinary skills, and personal development. The rest of this year we will engage in a continuous improvement process that leverages rich data to drive decision making in the future.

Watch Rowena Mak, Director for the Office of Language Acquisition in the Capistrano Unified School District, discuss the impact of working with UL colleagues Jeff Zwiers and Steven Weiss during year one of this initiative.

Remote video URL

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