BAP006 Carlota Holder is Boosting Achievement for ELLs and Teachers

We continue our professional growth with Carlota Holder this week. She is an EL Coordinator and Master teacher.

You can hear the podcast right here. 

With no one else in her building to help her advance her knowledge on a daily basis, how is she continuing to grow?  She shares! She knows that learning is social so she collaborates about her learning on social media.  Carlota is a SIOP trainer who coaches and supports teachers where 75% of the population are language learners.

Carlota begins by explaining that her school follows the TAP model for accountability and professional development. It provides more, such as a way to keep Carlota and other coaches accountable for how they evaluate and support their teachers.

We can’t talk with Carlota without first mentioning her part in the #VirtuEL17 conference


Carlota shares how he lives by Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) and that we can all get free webinar learning about it if we just follow SIOP on Twitter at @SIOPMODEL (sweet!)


How do you build your professional learning when you may be the lone wolf in your building?  Or if you already have a lot of sheltered instruction under your belt?  Carlota reminds us that even leaders in the EL world can learn so much by participating in #ELLchat_BkClub!  Newbies to Veterans alike can benefit from synthesizing their learning with others.  Thank you Katie Toppel & Tan Huynh for creating this opportunity!

Unlocking English Learners’ Potential is the 8.0 book by Diane Staehr Fenner & Syndey Snyder

We sing the praises of the tech for ELL ideas in the book ELL Frontiers. This is a great resource by Honigsfeld, Paris & Estrada.  Andrea Honigsfeld joined us for one of our book chats and we talk about how powerful it is when authors participate in #ELLchat_BkClub.

I personally got a great deal out of the round when we did the study of Boosting Achievement and we talk about that as well.

We reference Nancy Motley’s Talk, Read, Talk Write book. I refer to it a lot because that book and her framework for instruction are excellent for your content classes whether you have ELLs or not.

Carlota also shares her take-aways from the annual WIDA Conference in Tampa, Florida (It was really great, make plans to join us in Detroit next year!) You can follow WIDA on Twitter as well.

Incredibly, she shared a powerful story about how she used the intake forms from Boosting Achievement to determine if a student had interrupted formal education.  The teachers were beginning to suspect that a student had some cognitive or learning delays.  It turned out that the student DID have literacy in his native language and was not responding due to severe trauma.  When we wrote the book, the intention was to address affective needs, of course. But this story underscores that our students are coming with very different backgrounds and if they are not reading or writing, it may not be a SIFE issue or due to a lack of skills.  We need this type of investigation at every level when we are trying to determine how to best serve our students. Bravo, Carlota!

That leads us into “MASLOW before BLOOMS.” Tomaz Lasic writes more on that here. It’s the research behind addressing the needs of the student before we focus solely on academics.

Alberto Carvahlo! The superintendent of Miami Public Schools was the first keynote of the WIDA conference and we hope to find that recording to share it with you all.  Here are his top 5 Keys when you are trying to turn around a system. (And he should know, he took the Miami schools from a failing district to no F rated schools!) I tweeted these with  and included something I jotted down about each one:

  1. Leadership Matters. He fired all the principals that didn’t believe they had AP material students.
  2. Effective Teaching.  Teachers should not teach the curriculum… they teach CHILDREN the curriculum.
  3. Choice. Create programs that excite & engage our students!
  4. Digital Convergence. People want 2 observe and understand the world. Tech can provide educational equity.
  5. Teaching with Compassion. How can they learn when they feel unsafe?

Alberto Carvahlo for president!

We wrap up the show by talking about how Carlota & our other Indiana buddy, Jess Bell will be presenting at INTESOL in a few weeks. Lucky folks at that conference!  You can register & attend to see them here  If you can’t be there, be sure to add them to your PLN.  Following Carlota and her colleagues can absolutely help us elevate our knowledge of how to serve English Learners and how to support their teachers.

Also, don’t forget that we are having the #TexTESOL2017 State conference in Houston on November 2-4! MANY of our PLN members will be there also.

Happy Conference Season and Thank You again to Carlota.  We appreciate you so much!

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