A Word with Margarita Calderón

We are thrilled to have Margarita Calderón, founder and President of ExC-ELL, here in New York with us as a presenter. She is one of the most educated in the country about dual language education, and the ability to have her here is an invaluable resource. Calderón was raised in Juárez, México and crossed the border into El Paso to go to high school and later to the University of Texas, El Paso. She really lived the Dual Language experience. Since then, she has made her life mission to help as many students as possible to have bilingual/multilingual opportunities through quality dual language instruction.

I was able to develop Expediting Comprehension for English Learners (ExC-ELL) and empirically test it in New York and Kauai schools through a 5-year grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The Spanish version is called ACE-LERA (Acelerando la Comprensión en Español: Lectura, Escritura y Razonamiento Académico.

Both versions are a whole school approach to addressing English Learners’/Dual Language Learners’ academic and social emotional needs in K-12 schools and universities. These two models were built upon a previous 5-year empirical study funded by the U.S.D.O.E./I.E.S. called the Bilingual Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition (BCIRC) developed for elementary Dual Language programs.

Her keynote address at the Dual Language Symposium will highlight the key features of the successful Whole-School Dual Language approach to instruction and professional development, particularly for upper elementary, middle and high school math, science, social studies, and language arts teachers who need to teach disciplinary literacy along with their subjects. She will also share how principals, instructional coaches and district administrators can support the whole-school efforts.

Her 3 ACE-LERA breakout sessions will demonstrate proven instructional strategies for teaching academic vocabulary/discourse, reading comprehension, writing strategies, and cooperative learning strategies that undergird effective student interaction and development of socioemotional skills. Whereas these sessions will be completely in Spanish, her colleagues, Shawn Slakk and Guadeloupe Espino, will be doing the same presentations in English through ExC-ELL.

We asked Dr. Calderón what she hopes the symposium attendees will take away from her presentation:

A new way of analyzing existing DL programs or ways of designing new ones. I’m hoping they can see the connection between preteaching vocabulary as a precursor into reading comprehension for mastering core content, and for producing academic writing for different purposes and subjects in order to keep students at grade level in both languages.

NEWS FLASH! You have homework before the symposium ?? Please answer these questions before attending the symposium. You can enter your responses in duallanguageschools.org/forum

  • What is the best way to teach vocabulary/academic language? Reading comprehension? Writing?
  • How do we integrate academic language, literacy and content into our daily lessons?
  • What type of professional development ensures these adaptations?
  • Where can we get more resources and more support?

It is so exciting that we get to offer so many sessions in Spanish! This is how all professional offerings should be. NYC DOE is setting a trend for the rest of the country. They are validating DL teachers requests for more PD in Spanish and focusing while focusing on equity and quality implementation. I hope the rest of the country continues the trend.

Want to come more prepared to Dr. Calderón’s presentation? Read one of ExC-ELL’s articles or books in their PLCs and formulate questions, see below for suggestions. Questions? Please go to duallanguageschools.org/forum with any concerns. See you in NYC!

  1. Calderón, M. E. & S. Slakk (2018). Teaching Reading to ELs in 6th -12th, Second Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: CORWIN press.
  2. Calderón, M. E. & S. Slakk (2017). Taking the Holistic Approach! Language Magazine. https://www.languagemagazine.com/2017/03/14/taking-holistic-approach/
  3. Calderón, M. E. & Soto, I. (2016). Academic Language Mastery: Vocabulary in Context. Thousand Oaks, CA: CORWIN press.
  4. Calderón, M.E. (Feb 2016). A whole-school approach to English Learners. In Educational Leadership Online Journal. Vol. 73, #5. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
  5. Carlo, M., Barr, C., D. August, Calderón, M. & Artzi, L. (2014). Language of Instruction as a Moderator for Transfer of Reading Comprehension Skills among Spanish-speaking English Language Learners. In Bilingual Research Journal. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15235882.2014.963739.
  6. Calderón, M.E., Slavin, R.E. & M. Sánchez. (2011). Effective instruction for English Language Learners. In M. Tienda & R. Haskins (Eds.). The future of immigrant Children (pp. 103-128). Washington, DC: Brookings Institute/Princeton University. http://www.futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/docs/21_01_05.pdf
  7. August, D., Calderón, M. & M. Carlo. (2001). Transfer of Reading Skills from Spanish to English: A Study of Young Learners. National Association for Bilingual Education Journal, 24 (4) 11-42.

Patricia Griselda Pérez
Author: Patricia Griselda Pérez

Dr. Patricia Pérez holds an A.A. from Ohlone College: B.A. and M.S. degree from California State University, East Bay and an Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco. She serves as an educator, consultant and teacher coach, which provides professional development, curriculum development and multicultural awareness services to local and international educational institutions and corporations. Dr. Pérez is fluent in Spanish and began her career as an elementary school teacher in a bilingual classroom. In the past two decades, she has developed a wide range of experience working at every level of public education, providing support to educators and directly to students. Her interest focus on promoting educational excellence through equity in order to overcome institutional barriers that confront underserved students of diverse backgrounds. Dr. Pérez is also an accomplished writer and has published in the areas of multicultural education and organizational management and leadership. She is a contributing author to Multicultural Education in Practice: Transforming One Community at a Time and Collaboration and Peak Performance: A Multidisciplinary Perspective for Emerging Leaders.

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