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Educator Capacity

**Olsen, L. (2023). English Learner responsive curriculum and teaching: The right materials in the right hands. Sobrato Philanthropies.

This brief examines the role of curriculum in shaping classroom instruction for English Learners (ELs). It discusses the tension between curriculum that is so standardized it is “teacher-proof” (meaning any teacher could use it) and curriculum that is more responsive to the agency of the teacher. Given the shortage of teachers prepared to work with ELs, the article highlights the importance of investing in curriculum that supports teachers’ capacity to adapt materials to meet the needs of ELs. It also highlights the significance of recent policy shifts in California towards standards-focused, differentiated, and responsive teaching, emphasizing the need for curriculum to be aligned with these principles to support EL success. 

During Meeting 52, we will be exploring the ways Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is using and adapting curriculum to be better suited for their multilingual learners and the challenges associated with it. This piece provides useful background on OUSD’s approach. 

The Aspen Institute for Education & Society Program. (2018). Developing a professional learning system for adults in service of student learning.

Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is aiming to create a professional learning system that guides the supports educators receive. This article outlines the elements of a strong professional learning system and emphasizes the importance of coordination across multiple areas of a school district, such as governance, accountability, and human resources. The framework considers school and district culture, curriculum and assessments, accountable leaders, and research-based practices to all who contribute to the conditions required for adults to have powerful learning experiences. 

We have shared this piece in previous meetings and continue to find it a useful articulation of the importance of professional learning systems within school districts. 

Jochim, A., Daramola, E. J., & Polikoff, M. (2023). Teachers and tutors together: Reimagining literacy instruction in Oakland.

This report summarizes findings from a study of OUSD’s early literacy tutoring program. Through ongoing grassroots and advocacy efforts from community-based organizations, FluentSeeds and Oakland REACH (the creators of the program) partnered with OUSD to recruit and hire tutors from within the OUSD community to aid classroom teachers in providing differentiated literacy instruction. Results from the study found that the program improved literacy outcomes, particularly with kindergarteners. However, the report shared challenges related to recruitment and retention of tutors due to inconsistent communication with school administrators and inadequate pay.

**This document is a priority reading.