WIDA ELD Standards Update- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

English Language Learners

WIDA ELD Standards Update

To:Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, Principals, and ELL Directors
From:Jonathan Landman, Assistant Commissioner for Teaching and Learning
Date:January 22nd, 2013


Background on WIDA

I am writing to provide updates related to the implementation of the World-class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) English Language Development (ELD) Standards. The WIDA standards are part of the Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners (RETELL) initiative, the Department's strategy to improve the academic achievement of English Language Learners (ELLs). The Board of Education adopted the new language proficiency standards in June 2012. Districts are expected to begin integrating the WIDA ELD standards into content area curricula this school year (2012-2013).

Implementing the WIDA ELD Standards

The WIDA framework provides useful tools and resources to promote academic language development and access to rigorous content area instruction. WIDA provides a comprehensive approach to ELL instruction based on collaboration between ESL and content area teachers. This collaboration is essential to ensure effective implementation of the standards and to maximize language and content area academic achievement for ELLs.

As districts begin to roll out the WIDA ELD standards, curriculum leaders and educators will need training and time to develop rigorous curricula incorporating the WIDA standards and the instructional shifts embedded in the 2011 Curriculum Frameworks. It will also be important to ensure that all educators who are involved in aspects of ELLs' education develop an understanding of the components of the WIDA framework.

WIDA Trainings and the SEI Endorsement

As the date of the first SEI Teacher Endorsement course approaches, it is important to clarify the relationship between WIDA trainings and the SEI Endorsement courses. SEI Teacher Endorsement courses will begin February 25th, 2013 for Cohort 1 districts.

The SEI courses include training on the WIDA framework. However, these courses will not provide comprehensive knowledge of WIDA. ESE is sponsoring WIDA trainings which provide this deeper introduction to WIDA. The Department recommends sending curriculum leaders and educators who already have expertise working with ELLs (ESL teachers, category trained teachers) to WIDA trainings first. After developing an understanding of the WIDA framework, these leaders and educators can facilitate additional WIDA training for other staff as needed. District leaders are also encouraged to establish ESL and content area educator teams to collaborate on the development of curricula that incorporate WIDA ELD standards.

ESE Support

Integrating the WIDA ELD standards into content area curriculum is a significant undertaking. The Department seeks to come alongside district leaders as they begin to develop capacity for implementing the WIDA standards in their districts.

  1. Summer 2012-present. The Department sponsored Basic WIDA trainings to equip district leaders to train other educators on the WIDA standards. In addition, WIDA consultants continue to work through the DSACs to provide training on the components, tools and resources of the WIDA framework to level 3 districts across the state.
  2. Spring 2013: WIDA Basic Trainings. The Department will sponsor additional Basic WIDA Training of Trainers during the following windows: February 11-13th, May 22-24th and June 24-26th. The purpose of these trainings is to equip district leaders or their designees to provide WIDA professional development to other district staff. Therefore, the Department encourages districts to send curriculum leaders and/or lead teachers to these trainings. Districts that have not had an opportunity to participate in previous WIDA trainings will be given priority.
  3. Late spring 2013: ELL Curriculum Development trainings. The Department is also developing a second round of trainings focused on developing content area and ESL curricula that integrates WIDA and the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. These trainings build on knowledge of the WIDA framework learned in the Basic WIDA trainings. District curriculum leaders (ESL & content area) will be invited to participate in these 3-day trainings beginning in April 2013.

For information about training dates and locations, please visit ESE's website.

Thank you for your continued efforts to ensure the academic success of ELL students across the Commonwealth. Please do not hesitate to communicate with the Elisabet Sena, ESE's English Language Professional Development Specialist if you have additional questions or comments (esena@doe.mass.edu).

Last Updated: February 21, 2013

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